Mountains with the Children


KienbergHaving asked which is the most dangerous mountain in Allgäu and been told that it is probably the Kienberg, Max then decided that he really wanted to climb it. Therefore one sunny day in the summer of 2000 Max and Neill set out from the Bläsesmühle and climbed to the summit. This route is steep and slippy when wet and has a few exposed sections but is not too difficult.

At the top there was a fair wind blowing but near the summit cross was a sheltered spot to eat our food. After admiring the view we descended the route to the Milchhäusle. As can be seen in the first picture we had to make use of fixed ropes for part of the descent which gave it all that real mountaineer feeling.It was good that Max was on a rope as a few times he slipped and fell which would have otherwise been disastrous.

Once at the bottom we went for a coffee and Max had a chance to reflect how dangerous mountains really can be. Not that the experience has dampened his experience, he now has his sites set on higher things.


EinsteinDuring November 2002 the days were especially warm due to the Föhn wind and so one sunday morning Daniel and Neill got up early and drove to Engetal behind Pfronten. Leaving the Land Rover at the German Austrian border they set off up the path towards the Einstein and Einsteinhütte. The first part was through woods and past the acres of trees destroyed in the hurricane about 10 years ago. The plan was to carry on up towards the Einstein but the cold wind and snow made it advisable to turn back after eating a snack outside the Einsteinhütte and admiring the views across to the Aggenstein.

The next week it was Neill and Max to try. At 07:30 they were in Tannheim and left the Land Rover to start the climb to the Einstein. The advantage of this route is that it is south facing and thus there is less snow at this time of year. The suggested time for the ascent is 2 hours which is what they took. There were various icy sections where care was needed and for the final stretch it was necessary to use a rope. Crampons would have been nice but not having them it was necessary to climb on the rocks showing through and loose snow.

The view from the summit is amazing with the mountains on all sides. The view south to the Geißhorn and its neighbours was stunning. After eating our snack and drinking hot tea cooled with snow it was time to descend. This was, as always, more difficult than the ascent with both Neill and Max having to assure that they had a good stance while the other one climbed down. Once off the summit ridge the going was easier and in total the descent took one and a half hours. A truly fantastic climb!

Aggenstein I

AggensteinOne sunny morning Neill asked the kids what they would like to do that day and received the unanimous answer "Mountain climbing!" The only problem was that each child wanted to climb a different mountain. After much disagreement we decided on the Aggenstein.

We caught the Breitenberg chair lift as far as it went and then crossed to the Aggenstein and climbed the North side. The last part requires scrambling and the use of a fixed rope so at this point Rhiannon was on a rope with Neill.

At the summit we ate our lunch and then climbed back down and walked across to the Pfrontener Hut for a drink. From there we walked down past the border hut and back across to the top of the Breitenberg cable car. In total we were on our way for about 5 hours in beautiful weather.

Aggenstein II

Some months later it was a bank holiday and Alison also took the three children up the Aggenstein. By now it was late November and the route from the north side was covered in ice and snow. The south side was still relatively free though so that was the route taken.

The route started through trees but near the top opens out to a wide slope. At the Pfrontener Hut they stopped for a rest and then decided against continuing the last bit to the top as it was getting late and they didn''t want to be descending in the dark.

Neill Hogarth | |