Sunset At The Jochberg
Updated: Feb 21
My relationship with the Jochberg was not an easy one in the past. As a little boy, I was often out, exploring the mountains with my grandmother on the weekends and discovered my love for hiking and the Bavarian Alps. And it was only natural that we would try our hand at the Jochberg at some point. Well, the attempts were not characterized by luck: on our first attempt we got into torrential rain and broke off halfway up. We forgot my hiking socks at home with our second one, so to prevent me from getting blisters, we took the gondola to the Herzogstand instead. We were only successful on the third attempt and reached the summit.
After that, the Jochberg mostly disappeared from my radar. There were bigger and wilder mountains to conquer. Above all, however, I turned to peaks where the mere name was not a synonym for the everyday mass tourism in the Munich area. And over time, the duo of Jochberg and Herzogstand developed into my proverbial symbol of overcrowded and precisely for that reason also uninteresting mountains.
At least until a few days ago. Because I had chosen the Jochberg as my destination again. And I discovered an excellent method to avoid the mass of Munich residents who are crazy about hiking (of which I am also one of course), I was also able to rediscover the beauty of this tour. And so we now come to my secret recipe for a lovely trip to the Jochberg.
Our hike to the Jochberg begins on a clear winter day and a Friday afternoon. Our goal is to arrive at the mountain top at sunset. Ours, because accompanying me was my friend Thomas who couldn't start earlier because of his work. However, out of Munich, the first thing to do was cope with the traffic jam caused by rush hour traffic.
Nevertheless, we reached the parking lot on the Kesselberg about two hours before sunset. Then we strapped the Grödel to our feet and started the tour. From the parking lot behind the Kesselberg, we first walk uphill briefly until we pass a second car park near the top of the pass. Incidentally, it doesn't matter which of the two you stop at. What is saved in altitude initially with the higher lot is added at the end of the hike. Immediately after the parking lot, there is a small staircase on the right, at which Jochberg and Jochener Alm are already signposted.
From now on, you have to follow the path through the snowy mountain landscape. Thanks to the multitude of hikers, even in winter, the trail through the snow is well-groomed and easily recognizable over the entire route. The path is quite steep, but always lovely to walk, and so we make quick progress. And even if we have a fixed time limit with our goal of reaching the mountain peak at sunset, it is worth stopping now and then. Because if we let our gaze wander behind us, we can discover a lot. The snow-grey shimmering Walchensee can be seen again and again through the trees. And the low sun is already conjuring up a very photogenic play of colours on the slopes of the Herzogstand.
At about 1250 meters we reach the first branch of the hike, where we turn right. From here the path becomes a little steeper, and occasionally some ice peeps out from under the snow cover. Nevertheless, we are still making good progress, and soon after a left curve in the path, we are at the next fork in the road.
However, this time, we choose the left of the two paths and get to the "Jochberg Panoramaweg". From now on it is always worthwhile to take the leftmost course near the edge of the break. Here, there are many small vantage points from which we can enjoy fantastic views towards Kochel and the Bavarian foothills. But not in the case of our hike. There was a thick cloud cover at about the height of the Kesselberg. But the photos were no less spectacular because of that.
However, there is not too much time to dawdle here, because the lower the sun sinks, the further the period in which we can reach the summit shrinks. And the stunning views are yet to come. As soon as we step out through a pasture fence onto the alpine meadow, we have a fantastic view of the Walchensee, the pre-Alps, and the Wetterstein and Karwendel mountains. Now the summit of the Jochberg comes into focus, and we actually reach it only a little later. And in our case, it was a few minutes before sunset.
Here we can take a break and enjoy the fantastic view in all directions, for which the Jochberg is not famous for nothing. But one should still exercise a certain degree of caution. When we started at Walchensee, we had already measured -6 ° C. B. With the usual calculation of an additional minus degree per 100 meters of altitude, we can assume -13 ° C for the summit. Also, there is wind chill and a sudden drop in temperature after sunset. In this way, we quickly reach perceived temperatures of around -20 ° C and thus a temperature range that requires absolute caution. The beginning of frostbite on exposed parts of the body can appear in a few minutes. And it becomes even more dangerous if we can no longer move, e.g. due to an accident.
For this reason, such tours need to be well planned, starting with an excess of warm clothing in your backpack and sufficient reserves. One of the precautionary measures in our case was the descent. Instead of walking the same narrow and steep path in the direction of Kesselberg in the dim light of our headlamps, we consciously decided on the route over the Jocheralm. A wide, easily passable forest road leads into the valley here. Although we kept shortcuts over smaller paths, we could have only taken this road if we no longer felt safe on the trails in the dark.
More and more we could see the lights of the houses at Walchensee through the forest, and the first stars began to twinkle between the treetops. Their shine was only matched by that of the snow in the beam of light from the headlamps. And so it went downhill for us, through the nocturnal fairytale forest to the shore of the Walchensee. From here it was only a short distance along Seestrasse until we finally reached our parking lot and our car. And through the night we drove back to Munich.