Alpine Boot Camp – Episode 1: Zamangspitze

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.09.06 in Alpine Boot Camp 2014

Start slow they said

Even though there are still several summits left on my 28Summits list, my plan for the summer of 2014 was not to cross off more of those, but to learn and grow as a mountaineer. Instead of just going for more summits, I wanted to improve my mountaineering skills to be better prepared for the mountains to come, so I could enjoy those moments even more. The two week vacation I took in the summer was made up of two parts: shape up and get up. Here goes the story of “shape up” and the first week of my personal Alpine Boot Camp 2014 (ABC).

For the first week of the Alpine Boot Camp my plan was to slowly build up stamina again and get used to long mountain days before setting off into the higher mountains for the second week. Going into the mountains alone is both dangerous and boring, so I convinced my friend Kai (who is actually afraid of heights) to accompany me to a one week trip through the Austrian and Slovenian Alps. He did not need a lot of convincing and was willing to accompany me on this trip and fighting his fears heads on. The highlight of this first week was the summit of Triglav, the highest mountain of Slovenia that I previously wrote about, but you have not yet heard about our time in Austria. Our plan was to gradually increase the length and height covered as well as going higher up into the mountains, but well … not everything went as planned, but see for yourself.

Zamangspitze, Verwall (2,386m)

Zamangspitze 1

Our first stop of the Austria tour was the little town of Schruns rested in the broad Montafon valley. Above our camp ground loomed the local ski jump as well as the target of our first mountain day, the Zamangspitze. After setting up the tent and going for a quick swim in the local swimming pool, we started planning the ascent of the next day. In winter there are ski pists around the mountain so there is infrastructure up to a height of 1,800-1,900 meters that you can reach by car. However, as we wanted to have the proper mountain experience as well as being afraid my little car would not make it up the mountain, we chose to start in the village of St. Gallenkirch early the next day.

Zamangspitze 2After a night of well-deserved sleep and the routine muesli breakfast, we started the short drive to St. Gallenkirch. In the town a local elder woman told us “nicely” where we should and SHOULD NOT park, so we could finally take off to the first mountain. Our trip started on a height of roughly 880 meters, would take us up to the summit at 2,386 meters and back down again. The trail started off in the village and after a short passage through the meadows and farm buildings we entered the forests. There the trail got steeper and steeper, so the going became slower, harder and we had to take the eventual break to draw breath again.

Zamangspitze 3After a while we reached the first mountain pasture on around 1,300 meters and took a short break again for the second breakfast while enjoying the view. After the pasture we left the steep forest trail to follow the road leading up the mountain that would eventually bring us back on the trail. This way we would not exhaust all our energy while at the same time we would have a unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains. We followed the road for a while and eventually reached the next mountain pasture where people had lunch and looked at us in a way that made me believe that we would probably be the only two idiots that approached the mountain over the South flank this day.


#7 – Triglav – Slovenia

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.08.15 in Alpine Boot Camp 2014

To call Triglav a mountain is an understatement, at least for Slovenians, Triglav is much more, it is a national treasure. Milan Kučan, the first president of the Republic of Slovenia, once said it is the duty of every Slovenian to climb Triglav at least once in their life. The mountain can even be found on the flag of Slovenia. But the highest point of Slovenia and the Julian Alps is not only popular among Slovenians, but also among masses of other mountain enthusiasts climbing the mountain every year. As one of the highlights of the Alpine Boot Camp this year we added one more crazy German guy to the list of successful visitors.

(Based on the following file under creative commons license)

Many ways lead to Triglav

In preparation for the ascent of Triglav I informed myself as much as possible. The book about the highest peaks in Europe had pretty good descriptions of some routes and on summitpost.org I could find some more. The bottom line was that one would not reach the summit without following via ferrata sections that would be quite exposed. In the first week of the Alpine Boot Camp I was accompanied by my good friend Kai. One of my goals was to work on his fear of heights during our time in the mountains. That worked quite well the rest of the week, but on Triglav I knew he would not be able to come along until the summit. I wanted to take him along as much of the way as possible, so the first thing we did in Mojstrana was to get a proper map of the Triglav area and some tips on the easiest routes.Triglav_1

There are several valleys surrounding Triglav with the most popular being Vrata, Kot and Krma. The traditional routes up to Triglav start in the Vrata valley under the north face of the mountain. The easiest route however starts in the Krma valley, but it is also among the longest routes to the summit. The only really exposed part of that trail would be the final section to the summit starting at the mountain hut Triglavski dom.


Packing for the Alpine Boot Camp

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.07.16 in Summit training

It will only be two more days till I hit the road, pick up my hiking buddy and then we will finally take off into the Alps. The plan is to explore the mountains in Austria and parts of Slovenia, take another one of the 28Summits off the list and just generally enjoy the time in the mountains.

Right now I am stuck between backpacks and my stash of outdoor equipment in need to make the final cut and pack all the things I will need. As we will be travelling by car and mainly do day trips, there are no real limitations to packing weight and volume. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that my living room was turned into the base camp for our adventure.Packing-Alpine-Bootcamp
I will not manage to post a lot of things from the road or the mountain tops, but at least on the Instagram, I will post pictures once in a while. Hope you will all enjoy the summer and outdoors as much as I will do on my trip! See you in a few weeks. ;)

#6 – Serra da Estrela / Torre – Portugal

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.07.03 in The 28Summits Challenge

 When I told people I was going for a short trip to Portugal they thought of sandy beaches and surfing first. Once I told them about my plan to hike up to the highest mountain of continental Portugal, they usually looked quite surprised. I also would not have expected such mountains in a country such as Portugal, but I was positively surprised of the really nice mountains I encountered on my first microadventure.Serra-da-Estrela---Torre

(Based on the following file under creative commons license)

After flying to Porto I took a rental car the next morning and headed to the Serra da Estrela Natural Park in the back country of mainland Portugal. The highest peak of the Portuguese Republic is the summit of Mount Pico, a volcano on the island of Pico in the Azores. But as I focus my challenge on the continent I set off to the highest summit of continental Portugal: Torre, the highest point of the Serra da Estrela mountain range.


Running to the beat

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.05.26 in Staying in shape

I am actually not sure to which beat I am running to. Is it the beat of my heart, the music from my headphones or is it the slave driver that is my ambition drumming to push me to go on and on? I guess it is a mix of all of them that keeps me sticking to the training. After fifth months of running I want to sum up my experiences so far and give you a short update on my complicated relationship with running.

Back in January when I was still living in Sweden I started with doing intervals on the snowy forest trails (read more about the start here). Running did not come easy to me and I had to push myself to finish the workouts on my training schedule. But it felt good to get out despite the cold and the darkness. One thing that kept me going was the strong belief that I would soon reach the point where it would be easier and where it would be just plain fun to run. Now after those almost five months I got to admit that I was wrong and right at the same time. For me in running there are good days and there are bad days. But let me start with telling you about the good days first.IMG_20140329_181817


About me

This blog is about my 28Summits Challenge with the goal of reaching the highest points of each member state of the European Union.


My name is Matthias, I am 28 years old. Growing up close to the Alps I have been hiking basically all my life. I love being outdoors and exploring the nature. When I am not doing this I am working in media management or follow up on my other passion of cooking and baking.

On this site I will share my experiences along the road to achieve the challenge I set myself. Furthermore, I will blog about my other hiking trips as well as media about the outdoors.

/ Matthias



My hiking companions blog about hiking and traveling in the North:

Travel North

Yummy and healthy vegetarian food:

Green Kitchen Stories

My favorite baking blog (only in Swedish):


Outdoor shops

Here goes my favourite online shop for outdoor gear and clothing (shipping to EU countries and some more):

Shop equipment for climbing, mountain sports and the outdoors at Bergfreunde.de

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