Photo album and brief notes from Leutasch 2005 trip

These notes are a brief summary of 7 days’ walking in the Tyrol near Seefeld. The weather was very kind, being mostly cool, clear and sunny. Ideal for mountain views, in fact. Adrian got to play with his new toy (the Nikon D50) and the boys got to fool around building arches and taking stereo pairs.

Day-1 Arriving Mösern via Seefeld

We arrived mid-afternoon from Munich in comfortable time for a walk up the hill above the village. Mösern is set right on the edge of the main Inn valley, and the Inntaler Hof is the last building in the village, so has splendid views over the valley. As you will see from the later pictures, there was definitely some weather on the way in from the west.

Inn valley from Inntaler Hof. Inn valley from Inntaler Hof
Campanula rapunculoides
Bellflower campanula rapunculoides
Epipactis atrorubens.
These were quite common on the hill just above the village - the path up through the Stations of the Cross (signposted Kalvarienberg) is a good place to find them!
Helleborine epipactis atrorubens
Evening light over the valley. Visibility was still quite reasonable - this was taken with the lens at 135mm so the mountains are a fair way away. Evening light
Sundog with church. Sundogs are usually a good indicator of incoming weather, as they form in hexagonal plates of ice typical of the cirrus cloud on the leading edges of weather fronts. Sundog with church
Incoming weather. The same scene a few minutes later. Really just an excuse to play with the exposure-lock on the camera! Incoming weather

Day-2 Around Mösern

Stone Bramble
Rubus saxatilis
These are nominally edible, but tasted rather bland so better left alone!
Stone Bramble rubus saxatilis
Fragrant Orchid
Gymnadenia conopsea
Lots of these on the lower slopes around the Brunschkopf.
Fragrant Orchid gymnadenia conopsea
Spider on thistle. More fun with the camera, really! Spider on thistle
Hohe Munde viewpoint. Don't be tempted to try and climb this one - it looks best from a distance and seems adept at pulling down the clouds. Hohe Munde viewpoint
Brunschkopf diorama. What you see is almost what you get. This is a very accessible viewpoint, and well worth the walk up from the hotel. Brunschkopf diorama
Herb Paris
Paris quadrifolia
Nice to see, as it is quite a rarity in the UK and a good indicator of old woodland where you do find it.
Herb Paris paris quadrifolia
Cricket. Taken at 300mm with an exposure time of 1/200th so there must have been plenty of light. Cricket
Broomrape sp.
Not too sure about this one - it could have been a Birds Nest orchid but we don't really think it was. Pity.
Broomrape query
Grass of Parnassus
Parnassia palustris
Another favourite plant from back home, growing in the soggier patches around the hillside.
Grass of Parnassus parnassia palustris
Carline Thistle
Carlina sp.
Carline Thistle carlina sp

Day-3 Mösern to Kirchplatzl

At breakfast it was raining quite hard, but by the time we set off it was mostly just dripping from the trees. We took a slightly deviant route here (easy and recommended) going over the shoulder of Hohe Munde to the Rauthhütte and on up as far as the Zugspitzeblick which has a splendid view over the upper Gaistal and is a perfect lunch stop. On the way down it really did rain, but had cleared nicely in time to take some dramatic shots of the little church opposite the Hotel Xander as we arrived.

Martagon Lily
Lilium martagon
The only one of these we saw - and it was so dark under the trees that the camera resorted to flash!
Martagon Lily lilium martagon
Small harebells
Campanula pusilla
Harebells campanula pusilla
Six-leaved Herb Paris.
Definitely an aberrant - at least it got the flower right!
Six-leaved Herb Paris
Beech galls. Beech galls
Gaistal from Hohe Munde. The Wetterstein ridge is doing a great job ripping a hole in the cloud, but not for much longer! Gaistal from Hohe Munde
Zugspitzeblick from near Rauthhütte. No, you can't see the Zugspitze in this picture, but you can probably guess where it must be. Zugspitzeblick (honest)
Black Rampion
Phyteuma nigrum
Black Rampion phyteuma nigrum
Dutchmans Pipe
Monotropa hypopitys
Down by the riverbank on the way to the Xander. Parasitic on pine roots.
Dutchmans Pipe monotropa hypopitys
Round-leaved Wintergreen
Pyrola rotundifolia
Note the kink in the style. We also saw P. media with straight styles, but not where there was enough light for a decent picture.
Round-leaved Wintergreen pyrola rotundifolia
Arriving Kirchplatzl. The mountains have come out again, and as always after rain, the light is particularly clear. Arriving Kirchplatzl
Kirchplatzl. Just as well the camera is digital - this kind of light is a great film-waster as you keep trying to fool with the exposure to get it to look like the real thing. Kirchplatzl
Hotel Xander - balcony view. All very pastoral and restful, but note that storm about to launch itself from the Wetterstein in the background! Xander - balcony view

Day-4 Kirchplatzl to Gehrenspitze

Yes, that really is snow all over Hohe Munde and its pals. Never mind, we reckoned on it melting by the time we had hiked up the track to Wangalm, and had our eye on the summit of the Gehrenspitze if the clouds stayed away. As it happens, we timed it about right, taking on the path up through the last of the snow. By the time we came down, most of the snow had gone, which made keeping your feet a lot easier.

Snow on Hohe Munde. Snow on Hohe Munde
Ahrnspitze from Xander. This is just to complete the balcony views - the boys had the east-facing room! Arnspitze from Xander
Above Wangalm. If you are collecting points for a hat-badge, do call at the Wangalm hut which is worth 18 and get the stamp on your map! Above Wangalm
Wetterstein ridge with snow. Still quite snowy up here, with some decent drifts behind the rocks. Wetterstein ridge with snow
Hohe Munde from Wangalm. Hohe Munde from Wangalm
Wangalm viewpoint. Just a nice place to hang around and take pictures! Wangalm viewpoint
Gehrenspitze from Scharnitzjoch. This is a superb viewpoint (even better in stereo) - probably rather better than the summit. But you have to get to the top, don't you! Gehrenspitze from Scharnitzjoch
Scharnitzjoch panorama. Scharnitzjoch panorama
Meadow above Scharnitzjoch. Wet snow on a 30deg grassy slope is quite tricky to walk on. Meadow above Scharnitzjoch
Followed by Sheep. Poor deluded creatures were hoping to get fed, I suppose. They gave up on us a few minutes later. Followed by Sheep
Xander from above. Let's test the lens - this was looking quite small by now! Xander from above
Wetterstein wall from Gehrenspitze. Wetterstein wall from Gehrenspitze
Leutaschtal from Gehrenspitze. The next hotel (the HubertusHof) is tucked right into the far corner of the valley here. Leutaschtal from Gehrenspitze
Alpine Chough. Clearly regards humans as a useful source of crumbs, unless it was just waiting to pick our bones clean as we slid to our doom on the way down. Alpine Chough
Wetterstein Hütte from Wangalm. The hut only scores 6 hat-points but get its Stempl on the way down (as well as some excellent ApfelStrudel) - if you made the summit you deserve it! Wetterstein Hutte from Wangalm
Wetterstein wall later the same day. Now where has all that snow gone? Wetterstein wall later the same day
A cow with a view. Nothing like a bit of cud-chewing foreground to get the photographer interested! A cow with a view
View back from Wetterstein Hütte. View back from Wetterstein Hutte

Day-5 Kirchplatzl to Hubertus Hof via Riverbank

Definitely a loafing day - we ignored the walking notes and just ambled down the riverbank for a day’s skimming practice and waterworks construction.

Skimmers at work. Skimmers at work
Butterfly on finger. This is an Erebia species, either Scotch argus or a close relative. Butterfly on finger
Half-arch with feet. This one was still there 3 days later - I wonder if we have started a local 'tradition' of arch-construction? Half-arch with feet
Double arch with canals. The pièce de résistance of the day’s labours, but less robust than the half-arch. Double arch with canals
Hubertus Hof from road. HubertusHof from road
Dilation breccia in 2D. One for the geologists! Dilation breccia in 2D
Cycling to Germany. Off go the intrepid cyclists on borrowed steeds. They actually got quite a long way, but failed to pick up all the available map stamps en route. Cycling to Germany
Evening view from Puital. While the family went off on the bikes, Adrian hiked up the hill to Puital for a few late evening photo-opportunities. Evening view from Puital
Puital wall looking North. Puital wall looking North
Gehrenspitze at sunset. What a convenient small cloud that was! Gehrenspitze at sunset
Scharnitzjoch at sunset. Scharnitzjoch at sunset

Day-6 To the Meilerhütte and Söllerpass

The Gehrenspitze was worth about 3 nutcase points - this little hike was definitely at the upper end of the nutcase scale (but worth it). Not recommended unless you are feeling very fit, know you have all day, and trust the grips on your boots on the way down. However it is well worth investigating the lower and middle sections of the Bergleintal even if you don't make the Stempl at the hut.

Yellow saxifrage
Saxifraga aizoides
Wangalm saxifrage saxifraga aizoides
Resting butterfly, probably a Clossiana species, either pearl-bordered fritillary or small pearl-bordered fritillary. Resting butterfly
Ice cave. Ice cave
Bergleintal - looking up-valley. Things got a lot steeper and barer from here on up. Bergleintal - looking up-valley
Mountain Avens
Dryas octopetela
Mountain Avens dryas octopetela
Hairy Alpenrose
Rhododendron hirsutum
Hairy Alpenrose rhododendron hirsutum
Yellow Violet
Viola biflora
Yellow Violet viola biflora
Alpenrose in crevice. Alpenrose in crevice
Saxifrage in crevice. Saxifrage in crevice
Scree crossing. This looks fairly hairy, but actually all the scree was really angular and quite well locked. We were very careful to keep our feet on the path, though. Scree crossing
Richard at the German border. The last few hundred metres were quite tough, but here we are at the border fence. Richard at the German border
Cerastium sp.
Mouse-ear (species unknown)
Alpine poppy
Papaver burseri
Alpine poppy papaver burseri
Meillerhütte arrival. Time to pause for a bite to eat and collect a 20-point Stempl (2372m). Meillerhutte arrival
View down from hut. You can just see the path across the scree in the lower left corner. View down from hut
Moss Campion (probably). Moss Campion (probably)
Karst crossing. After a short section of roped path, this was simple enough to follow. The landscape was pretty amazing - totally bare at first glance but with lots of alpines hidden in the grykes. Karst crossing
Approaching the path down. And beginning to wonder just how steep it was going to be! Approaching the path down
Short-leaved Gentian
Gentiana brachyphylla (probably subsp. favrati)
Short-leaved Gentian gentiana brachyphylla
Looking back to the Meillerhütte. From here, it is quite hard to believe that there is a path! Looking back to the Meillerhutte
Bergleintal from the Söller pass. Bergleintal from the Soller pass
Starting down from Söller. With a lot of care - as always the 'down' part was the hardest. Starting down from Soller
Looking down into Puital. At least we knew exactly how long it would take from the meadow, as Adrian had timed it the previous evening. Even so, we weren't hanging about on the last bit - no-one wanted to miss supper! Looking down into Puital

Day-7 Back to the Inntalerhof

Another gentle amble - we did this one in (walking) sandals! We made it in time to enjoy the 5-o'clock bell on the eminence just in front of the hotel.

Red helleborine
Cephalanthera rubra
Just the one little patch of these, but they were rather special.
Red helleborine cephalanthera rubra
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.
I am having second thoughts about this, and now think it might be cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).
Bearberry arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Peace bell at five. Peace bell at five


Meadows with various knapweeds, thistles, vetches, bedstraw etc. Various yellow composites including one like a fleabane and another like a corn marigold but with bigger flowers. Scabious that I assume was Tyrolean (S. vestina) that also grew in woods. In woods interesting mixture of lime-lovers and acid (calcareous schist??? - more likely a thin weathered/leached layer on top of the lime, which is very hard so not porous) including 2 cow-wheats, tormentil, bilberry, bearberry?, ling, harebell or a close relative, a nice little group of dark red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) near Mösern and a few broad-lvd E. helleborine (mostly only in bud). At least two other campanula spp., one very small, bright blue, probably C. pusilla, and C. rapunculoides; one or two plants with bigger flowers that might have been C. persicifolia.

Woodland: almost exclusively pine and spruce, though there were areas of beech (interestingly almost no other broadleaves - even birch was in short supply), with a rich 'herb layer' including lily-of-the-valley leaves and masses of what I think were May lily Maianthemum bifolium leaves and berries. Herb paris was common, including specimens with 5 or even 6 leaves, though the flower parts were always in fours. Scabious of at least 2 sorts (Tyrolean and devilsbit I think). Patches of fragrant orchids in clearings, usually near small streams, along with seeding spotted orchids, probably Dactylorchis fuchsii. Dark red helleborines common everywhere, often in large groups, especially at lower levels, and broad-leaved helleborine also widespread. One group of half a dozen or so plants of red helleborine Cephalanthera rubra near the Wildmoossee.

Woodland edge/scrubby woodland had numerous exciting species, including red-berried elder Sambucus racemosa, stone bramble Rubus saxatilis and wolfsbane Aconitum vulparia a little higher up. Most exciting of all was martagon lily Lilium martagon, only seen once. One patch of brownish parasitic flowers that I hoped might be birdsnest orchid but I think were some kind of broomrape, and the superficially similar Dutchman's pipe Monotropa hypopitys.

Up in the mountains avens Dryas octopetala in full flower and hairy alpenrose Rhododendron hirsutum making a wonderful show. Yellow mountain saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides on slightly damper bits. A few gentians mostly on barish rock (not as many as I expected; probably Gentiana brachyphylla subsp. favrati since it was definitely limestone), moss campion, various small saxifrages and white poppies up at the Meilerhütte. These were probably Alpine poppies despite the fact the book says 1200-2000m and the hütte is 2372m. Also a mouse-ear (Cerastium sp.) with large white flowers. We were hoping to find edelweiss but did not [Richard tells me it is only really common at about 2700m which these mountains do not reach]. In amongst the rocks at around the 2000m mark all sorts of small cushions of classic "alpine" plants, but mostly not flowering - suspect rock jasmines or similar. In a fairly narrow altitude belt at c.2100m tiny yellow violets presumably Viola biflora (though they only seemed to have singleton flowers).

Birds (few and far between)

I don't know whether it was something to do with the time of year, but there were remarkably few birds about, even in the forest. I was hoping to see griffon vultures or even eagles, but no luck; even buzzards were uncommon. The only really exciting species was Alpine chough. As well as the freindly individual at the Gehrenspitze summit there was a flock of at least 100, making a very strange chirrupping call. There were also ravens about which we heard on various occasions but I only saw two. We heard a flock of crossbills, and I saw one medium-sized greyish bird in the pine forest that might have been a wryneck.
Alpine Swift
Crag Martin
House Martin
White Wagtail
Song Thrush
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Marsh Tit
Alpine Chough

Richard’s Stereo Views

Just a few of the stereo pairs Richard took – which really make the slopes stand out!

Walking up from Wangalm

Scharnitzjoch stereo pair

Snow on the lower slopes of the Wetterstein wall, seen from the meadow above Wangalm.


Gehrenspitz stereo pair

View towards Gehrenspitz walking up from Scharnitzjoch.

View down from Gehrenspitze summit

Gehrenspitz stereo pair

Snow and rocks in the foreground, looking down vertically into Puital.

Pictures by Adrian, Gill and Richard Smith © Copyright 2005