“In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is the king.”
It’s a clear beautiful winter day, one of those that make me go out looking for a new adventure and today I decided to take a long trip to meet the king Watzmann.
Weather was gorgeous the previous days – sunny, crisp, frosty and blue skies. With temperatures hovering around zero it´s a great day for going to Bechtesgadener Alps. And here I am in front of king Watzmann with his beautiful shape towering over Berchtesgaden. Watzmann has a perfect beauty. That´s why it appeals to the climber and its surroundings, valley, town and lake, appeal to anyone interested in nature at its most sublime.
The majestic Watzmann seen from Berchtesgaden looks like an image from a fairy tale.
Actually there is a famous legend about this mountain that makes it even more fascinating.
It´s the story of King Watzmann. Many thousands of years ago, the region of Berchtesgaden was ruled by King Watzmann, a man known and feared for his cruelty toward farmers. The king liked to force his serfs to draw their own plows themselves instead of allowing them to use their oxen. One day, a farmer called Hois, who had had nothing to eat for three days and was weak with hunger, stumbled over a stone. As he struggled to right himself, a small man no bigger than his thumb appeared at his side. Signaling to keep quiet, the tiny man climbed into the serf’s pocket. That evening Hois rushed home and, taking the little man from his pocket, demanded to know who he was. “I am Heinzel, and I have come to help you avenge yourself of King Watzmann’s tyranny. Gather your farmer friends together and I shall tell you what to do.” Heinzel’s plan was that each farmer gather pebbles with which to ward off the King’s dogs. Though the farmers were by nature suspicious, early next morning, they filled their pockets with stones. A few hours later, one of the serfs happened to stumble. Before the hounds were able to attack, however, the farmer reached for a stone. To his amazment the target was struck dead. Encouraged, his companions began to pelt the king and his dogs with stones. Soon the oppressor Watzmann and his animals lay dead beneath a mountain of stones. The farmers, freed from torment, lived long and happy lives and even today we can admire the Watzmann mountains near Berchtesgaden, under which the king was buried all those centuries ago together with his wife and children.
There is a strange light on the mountain right now that makes the atmosphere a mystic one. I am ready to go and meet you!
The great size of the Watzmann is in no doubt. The highest mountain contained entirely within Germany, it makes a part of the alpine border with Austria. The beauty of the mountain and the rest of this part of Bavaria has long attracted visitors. Some come to climb the slopes; others to see the town and other sights at a somewhat lower altitude.
Watzmann is a popular climb for mountaineers. The north approach tends to be less difficult than the east face, which has long had the reputation of a particularly rough climb.
Looming almost 2000 meters above the green waters of Koenigsee, Watzmann’s graceful mass provides a postcard-perfect backdrop to the city of Berchtesgaden, in Bavaria’s southeastern corner.
Among the German summits Watzmann is one of the most important mountains; impressive from all sides. But from each side the character is quite different: from N it is the classical shape, from S a steep and prominent tower. Due to the configuration from E and W Watzmann looks like an enormous, expanded wall. It is not a solitary summit but a ridge of about 3 km length with 3 tent-shaped elevations
N-summit (Hocheck 2651 m, Middle (and highest)summit (Mittelspitze 2713 m),
S-summit (Suedspitze 2712 m – in former times also called Schoenfeldspitze). Since 1909 then on over 100 people have died on Watzmann. So never underestimate difficulties here.
Just a little lower than the great heights of Watzmann are several very picturesque lower peaks. These mountains, called Walzmann’s Wife and Walzmann’s Children, derive their names from the myth of the evil king. This is my target today!
It´s getting dark. I can go home satisfied. Today I met the king and it was such a great experience!