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Snowshoe tour to the Fellhorn
© Wienecke

Snowshoe hike to the Fellhorn mountain

date: 01.12.2020
from: Norbert Eisele-Hein

The Fellhorn summit is a favourite tour among snowshoe hikers and backcountry skiers. Quite lonely, since the Straubinger Haus hut that you might know from summer hikes, is closed during the winter.

One of the most popular snowshoe hikes in Reit im Winkl in Bavaria / Germany is the tour from the Hindenburghütte restaurant to the summit of the Fellhorn at 1,764 m. For snowshoe hikers a treat, beginners can join a tour with a certified guide - that is what this article is all about.

A snowshoe hike straight out of a picture book: up the Fellhorn near Reit im Winkl

Reit im Winkl is known to be a "snow hole" - the best prerequisite for a snowshoe tour

As the saying goes in the meteorological jargon: “The phenomenon of the cold air lakes” causes increased snowfall in Reit in Winkl. And in fact. The Maserer Pass often forms the border in winter. On the northern, Lake Chiemsee side, green dominates. Beyond in Reit im Winkl, a winter wonder land. And since skiier Rosi Mittermaier won several medals at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1976, the Winklmoos-Alm and Reit im Winkl have been a household name in winter sports.

Not far away from the busy skiing areas, Reit im Winkl also offers snowshoe hikers great tours without the hustle and bustle. Around the town center, the paths slowly but steadily wind their way up to more than 1000 meters in altitude.

Signposted snowshoe tours lead to the striking mountain peaks (Fellhorn and Dürrnbachhorn) and over snow-covered alpine areas (Hemmersuppenalm, Winklmoos-Alm, Dürrnbachhornalm, Klausenbergalm and Hutzenalm). We take a closer look at the tour to the summit of the Fellhorn here.

Snowshoeing can be learned through play on the easy routes around Reit im Winkl

Snowshoes have always been used by hunters and trappers in North America and the Greenland Arctic to avoid sinking hopelessly deep into the snow in winter terrain.

At first, the frying pan-like shoe enlargements on the feet feel a bit strange. We follow our guide and trudge through the snowy prairie, legs apart and awkward like John Wayne. But after just a few minutes, the snowshoes are teetering in time. Catapulting fine powder snow through the air. You get a real trapper feeling!

From Reit im Winkl the shuttle bus goes up to the Hindenburghütte, where we start our snowshoe hike to the Fellhorn.

A shuttle bus runs every 30 minutes from Reit im Winkl up to the rustic Hindenburghütte restaurant, the starting point for this panorama tour.

The alternative ascent from the parking lot in Seegatterl via the Nattersbergalm to the Hindenburghütte does not need a bus but is physically more demanding.

From there, the path initially leads along the premium winter hiking trail only moderately uphill over the extensive Hemmersuppenalm. The ideal terrain for beginners.

Hot tea from the thermos works wonders in the shady passages on the Hemmersuppenalm
© Norbert Eisele Hein

Our snowshoe tour leads high above Reit im Winkl through a true winter wonderland

It's freezing cold this early in the morning. The snow under our snowshoes crunches almost like metal. The fir trees bear heavily on their overloaded snow clothes. At 1,250 meters above sea level, we reach the clear plateau and at the same time push out of the sea of clouds.

Now the picturesque Chiemgau region lies at our feet, seems to be completely wrapped in cotton wool. Temperatures rise in no time.

Our breath clouds literally explode in the rays of the sun, which are currently fighting their way over the Fellhorn and the Eggenalm. The bumps of the Hochalm were artistically modeled by the wind. Terrain edges decorated with playful guards as if by a confectioner's hand.

Huge snow crystals sparkle in the backlight. Wow, a three-dimensional winter fairy tale lies ahead of us.

Our snowshoe hike reveals a bewitchingly beautiful panorama.

After about 20 minutes we leave the groomed path and follow the signs up to the Eggenalm. Half a meter of fresh snow costs a lot of strength when tracing. At the latest by now, the tour without snowshoes would be very, very arduous or even impossible.

An hour later, the view from the top of the Eggenalm is a revelation - unfortunately the nearby Straubinger Haus hut remains closed in winter.

The view of the summit round tempts you to indulge. The bold edge of the Großvenediger and the completely assembled Zillertal Alps shine above the numerous alpine huts with their meter-high snow hoods. In front of us, the Kitzbühler Horn rises into the bright blue sky.

After another 40 minutes we reach the summit of the 1,765 meter high Fellhorn peak.

We add a few more meters in altitude and tackle the Fellhorn. At the top of the ridge, monumental guards arch over the abyss. Be careful, keep a proper safety distance.

The 40 minutes in addition give us, as a treat, so to speak, also the Bavarian panorama: from the Sonntagshorn, the highest mountain in the Chiemgau Alps, to the Berchtesgaden Alps with its striking rocky peaks. Reiteralm, Hochkalter and Watzmann sparkle in winter like the freshly bleached rows of teeth of Hollywood beauties above the haze of the valleys.

It's good that we have our guide with us - he can name all the peaks in the area and tells a lot of anecdotes.

With the snowshoes it is easy to trudge downhill as well. The metal prongs of the crampons grasp even on harder and steeper edges and give you surefootedness.

Food and music - after this snowshoe tour, the delicious roasts at the Hindenburghütte taste particularly good and the folk musicians create a hearty atmosphere.

Back at the Hindenburghütte hut, the smell of fresh meatloaf in chanterelle sauce draws us into the rustic parlor. The cappuccino and the delicious milli cream strudel are also great. What the landlords conjure up from the huge wood stove deserves the top grade.

On the weekends, well-known folk musicians and even alphorn players play on the Hindenburghütte. Sometimes during a full moon there are guided torchlight hikes.

At the end of this wonderful snowshoe tour, we rush down one of Germany's longest natural toboggan runs.

The opulent portions on the Hindenburghütte give us a lot of weight for the descent on the luge. The route leads rapidly over 4 kilometers into the valley. The toboggan can be returned at the exit and the Hindenburghütte shuttle bus takes over the rest of the route to the town center.

No need to invest money in equipment in advance for a trial tour - all equipment for the snowshoe tours around Reit im Winkl can be hired.

Snowshoes and ski poles can be hired from various rental stations and equipment shops in Reit im Winkl. This is a cheap alternative, especially for newcomers.

If you want to go on tours away from the secured area on your own, you also need complete avalanche equipment.

The ski schools offer daily snowshoe tours led by trained hiking guides.

The Reit im Winkl inklusiv Card offers additional discounts, not only to snowshoe hikers.

With the overnight stay, guests receive the Reit im Winkl inklusiv Card free of charge, they can park for free, use the local bus for free, take part in winter hikes for free and use the indoor swimming pool for free or at a reduced cost (depending on your accommodation). Skiers get the lift pass at a reduced price.

Safety on the mountain

Before starting a snowshoe hike, check the avalanche report and the snow report. Inquire about the current conditions, the trails are not groomed or monitored, you have to be able to assess the current situation on the mountain yourself!

Avalanche report

To the avalanche report

Snow report Reit im Winkl

To the snow report
Winklmoos-Alm winter landscape
© Eisele-Hein

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Snowshoe tour from the Hemmersuppenalm to the Fellhorn
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About the author Norbert Eisele-Hein

Norbert Eisele-Hein is a journalist and photographer. He has photographed many corners of Reit im Winkl: on the via ferrata, on snowshoe hikes into the evening hours and early in the cross-country skiing stadium, when it's freezing cold but the light is best for taking photos.