Each year in the Alps between 90 and 110 people are killed by avalanches. Most of these accidents occur in France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Suffocation is the number one cause of death. Trauma, or injuries suffered in the avalanche, is the second leading cause of death. (source: SLF)
I love to go off-piste, being out there all alone, mostly by myself. But over the years I have become more careful, no longer take unnecessary risks. From December 30th till January 5th I will be back in Davos, enjoying the great powder in the Swiss mountains always making sure to check the weather and snow conditions before going on my tours and at the same time taking along my avalanche safety kit as well as my BCA slope meter.
No matter how adventurous you are, safety comes first. Just check out the story by Travis Rice. He was darn lucky, but not all trips like this have a happy ending…. So please, make sure to take the necessary precautions before heading out to the backcountry.
Buy and always wear an avalanche beacon, a small radio that will transmit your location to rescue crews. Never leave without it.
What to do when you see an avalanche
If you ever see an avalanche, make sure to follow these five steps:
Never try to outrun it. Move to the side and if you can, grab something sturdy.
Try to stay on top it. Some people say, you need to swim, but actually you need to fight light hell to stay on top, if you don’t have one of these airbags in your backpack.
Keep one arm above your head as the avalanche tosses you around.
Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with one hand to get a little space of air. As soon as you stop moving, quickly work to open a space in front of your face. Not only will this pocket give you room to breathe, it will give you space to spit. Note where gravity carries your spit, then dig in the opposite direction. This can save your life.
BREATHE calmly. The natural instinct for anyone buried by an avalanche is to get pretty nervous, but if you can keep your head, you can stay alive. In most cases, victims have a 15-minute window in which they can carve out areas to breathe under the snow.
When chasing another adrenaline rush off-piste, always check the local weather and avalanche reports to know what to expect.
So, stay safe, everyone and enjoy this magical powder season.
I recently read an article on the benefits of winter hiking. Scorching more calories, building muscle, lasting fat-burning effect – AND: empty trails. Do you need more arguments to get up? Whose new year’s resolution was to get fitter, healthier? Well, then move your butts and pick one of these hiking trips near Munich.
This one is easy. I mean, I have shared so many different hiking routes already. Whether you hike from Gmund to Rottach-Egern, hike up the Wallberg or take a shorter route, the views are always breathtakingly beautiful. My favorite tour is the winter hiking route up the Wallberg. Always worth it!
Seefeld in Tyrol
This one is perfect for a day trip. Just take the Flixbus from Munich to Seefeld and exit at the Rosshütte Valley station. It is not even a two-hour drive. So, very relaxing.
During winter, it is a pretty similar path to the summer route, only with minor changes. Simply follow the ski-touring sign and you are good to go. You can either hike, go touring or snowshoeing, this is up to you. It is an easy two-hour hike and afterwards, you can enjoy the little winter village, watching the cross-country athletes, go iceskating or simply sip some hot punch.
As you can see in the pictures above, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Just get out there, have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. Your mind and body will be thankful.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Popular activities in summer include biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.
“Into the Wild Bus”
Every year, travelers take to the famous Stampede Trail in the Denali borough. It is known from the book & movie “Into the Wild” – the true story of Amercian adventurer Christopher McCandless, born February 12, 1968 in El Segundo, California.
He was found dead on September 6, 1992, at Stampede Trail, Alaska. The adventurer died from starvation and possibly poisoning at age 24 while camping alone on a remote trail.
The trail keeps attracting adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. Unfortunately, many come unprepared – just like Christophier McCandless himself. Hence, the bus has been the source of multiple rescues since it was made famous, first by Jon Krakauer’s book published in 1996 and then by Sean Penn’s 2007 film.
The Wilderness in Alaska
I am pretty adventurous myself and LOVE the great outdoors. I climb mountains, hike at night all by myself, sleep on mountain peaks and try to push myself beyond my limits. But I only take calculated risks and know the difference between the great outdoors in the European Alps and the wilderness in Alaska.
The trail is located near the northern boundary of Denali National Park in a small finger of State of Alaska public land that extends into the national park. Of course, I wanted to see the bus, but the weather conditions were just awful. Traversing the beaver ponds, “mud flats,” and crossing the Teklanika River are major obstacles. There was no way I would be able to make it all by myself. Hence, I turned around, which was wise.
Also, I did not camp out there – especially not alone. I had no gun, was not familiar with the terrain and the weather was just unpredictable. So, this time I decided to better be safe than sorry.
Majestic Mt. McKinley
However, the trip is so worth it. The highest mountain in North America has been the goal of aspiring high altitude climbers since it was first climbed in 1913.
I admit, I wanna learn more about high-altitude climbing, finding out what I would be capable of. I will definitely go on more climbing trips back home. Cannot really explain it, but it is the mountains where I feel most alive.
So, apologies: I don’t have a picture of me in front of the bus, but I made some great memories, anyways.
When exploring the great outdoors in Canada or the USA, chances are that you will encounter some wild animals. Bears travel along the same paths that people do such as trails or the banks of rivers.
Generally, bears tend to be shy unless they feel threatened. Especially mama bears get furious when they think you are too close to their cubs. Other than that, bears only want your food, your hunting kill, your fish or even your trash.
So plaese, never leave anything out in the open and take your trash with you – simply keep your camp clean. And do not feed any animals. Let nature take its course.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game recommends bear spray and it is effective in many situations. Wind direction is critical, and can extend its effective range or shorten it. Most bear spray has a range up to 30 feet.
Remember, that most airlines will not allow you to fly with bear spray, but it can be purchased at many locations once you arrive in Alaska, like Mountain View Sports, Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and even grocery stores like Fred Meyer. If you purchase bear spray, read the instructions thoroughly so you are prepared to use it if necessary. Most sprays come with a holster that you can fasten to a belt or backpack where it is within easy reach.
When you see a bear…
Make calm noises. Talk normally, clap your hands, sing—anything that sounds human. Don’t mimic bear noises.
Don’t run — bears don’t like sudden movements; plus, they can run faster than you. They can also outpace you when climbing trees or swimming.
Back away from the bear to stay out of his comfort zone. If you can, walk upwind, too, so the bear catches your human scent.
Don’t make eye contact — bears consider that aggressive.
Some bears will bluff you by doing a mini-charge and stopping short. Your right response would be to back away calmly. A bear that is standing is usually just curious. However, if the bear charges all the way, it’s probably because it feels threatened. Your best bet is to play dead: face down, or curled up with hands on head.
One possible qualifier: black bears. Recent history in Alaska has proven that if a black bear keeps after you even while you’re playing dead, your only choice is to start fighting with everything you’ve got.
I have never had any problems. Saw some bears out on the street or from the far but no dangerous encounters. My advice: check local news and park notices in advance, learn how to use the bear spray and know the steps during an encounter.
So, enjoy exploring the great outdoors and stay safe!
As a trained amateur athlete I know the mountains, take regular first-aid & avalanche courses as well as special trainings in order to read the weather, be able to plan a hiking or mountaineering tour, know how to create unique outdoor experiences for almost any age and fitness level. I have been guiding for more than two years now.
I would like to motivate others and share the magical feeling you get when spending some time in the great outdoors. The mountains gave me back my strength after a bad MTB accident and now I would like to give something back.
Become a Mountain Rebel
The FREE guided tours will be offered in the Bavarian mountains, in Grisons, Switzerland, and in Tyrol, Austria, since I am very familiar with the terrain. Special tours for children and all different kind of fitness levels. Every once in a while, there will also be special trips such as the USA or Canada. Two tours per month – bookable via Facebook and WhatsApp.
The goal is to make people aware of the magic of the great outdoors – simply appreciating the little things in life.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” So, maybe you are up for an adventure and would like to join me on one of my tours. Hope to see you soon!
What I love about trail running is not just being out in nature. Trail running forces you to connect with your surroundings in a deeper way.
Racing through the forest & up the mountain is overwhelming and all encompassing. Your stress dissipates, your mind feels free, and your body seems to work better. You’re not just standing or observing, you’re learning and growing, you’re experiencing the terrain. Each step takes focus and care. It’s a straight line to mindfulness, feeling incredibly euphoric afterwards. I love trail running.
I am officially back in training and cannot wait to run, climb & bike up mountains by myself again. Now training for Alaska & Canada.
I love summer nights out in the mountains. Hiking up at night, finding a cozy sleeping spot and then waking up to the sunrise. Pure happiness!
First stop: Ankelalm
This is one of my favorite night tours. Right around midnight you take the train from Munich to Fischhausen-Neuhaus and follow the sign up to the Ankelalm. It is a 90-minute walk, pretty easy. Up there you will find a perfect spot to camp at night. Just me and my sleeping bag. Nothing more.
After a few hours of sleep you get woken up by chippering birds and the morning light.
Climb to the Brecherspitz
Just after sunrise, you can pack your stuff and climb up all the way to the Brecherspitz where you have magical views of the Schliersee and Spitzingsee. After a little break at the top, take down the way to Spitzingsee via the Obere Fistalm and enjoy a lovely breakfast.
“It’s not where you take the trail… It’s where the trail takes you!”
I just had one of these unforgettable runs. It was an early Saturday morning in Davos, Switzerland – foggy, rainy and quiet.
Hence, I just put on my running gear and decided to go for a run. No plans, no special route, I just followed my gut and discovered one of the most magical trails.
From Davos Platz I took the route up to Clavadel and to the Clavadel Alp. The views and the atmosphere were just amazing. From there I took the trail to the Ischalp and went back down to the valley. This run definitely made my top 10 list.
If you are ever in Grisons, Switzerland, you should check it out.
Mountain biking, trail running, climbing, hiking, mountaineering, SUP, wellness – they have it all, right at lake Eibsee at the Zugspitze.
A friend and I stayed at the Eibsee hotel, just for the weekend to refuel our energy. Since we basically had no plans at all, we just started hiking up the mountains, simply following our gut.
It was insane. In one day we had rain, hail, snow, thunder and sunshine. Totally crazy. But we just kept going, trying to find the perfect view of the lake and ended up in Austria. A 24k hike through crazy weather conditions. But the view was worth it.
Afterwards, we just chilled at the spa and had a wonderful time, simply enjoying ourselves.