Loisach (Griesen Gorge)
|Stretch:||Griesen to Garmish-Partenkirchen|
|Difficulty:||Class III to III+|
|Flows:||90 to 140 cms (110 felt medium low). Check “The River App”|
|Gradient:||65 fpm average|
|Put-in:||River access near Griesen|
|Take-out:||Across from Loisachstraße outside of Garmish-Partenkirchen|
|Shuttle:||4.5 km (5 minutes one way)|
|Season:||Spring and Summer|
|Featured in A Wet State #116|
Austria & More 2016: Day 14 Morning
The night before, we had begun our drive back the general direction of Munich where Jim and my flights were out of. On the way was an area with boating in Germany. Driving through surprisingly (I don’t know why I was surprised) nice mountain scenery we arrived at the Loisach not too long before dark. Our friend Thomas’ club was camping all together at a pay campground, we stopped by and said “hi” to our friend Sabastian, but decided that it was more crowded than we really wanted. It was cars everywhere and tents feet apart type of place. So the Glanz brothers and us went back to the normal take-out for the Loisach Gorge, where we set up camp just as a large lightning storm hit us.
The next morning, flows were still low, but runnable. The overnight rain had not budged the flow for us. But, driving up to put in we found that there was still enough water for it to be fun. It was probably an ideal flow for the class III to IV boater who most frequent this run (110 cms). It is none as the go-to run for Germans, much like the South Fork American’s Chili Bar section for the West Coast or the Ocoee here in the East. The run provided to be full of fun class III creeking in a river setting. If that makes sense. Overall, it did not take long, apparently locals will do three or four laps in a day normally.
Instead of doing laps, we headed over to the Walchen which we had heard was in but very low the day before. We said goodbye to Thomas first, as he was going to stay with his friends. And with hopes that the rain had affected the Walchen we drove into the National Park (cost 3 Euro). First before arriving at the Walchen, we stopped to look at the Rißbach which has a set of drops that is the site of a huckfest each fall. Not surprisingly, it was Richter high while we were there. There was no question, on the Walchen. Arriving at the take-out for the Walchen a huge rain storm dropped on us. Reiner ran down to check flows while the rest of us stay in our cars… thanks for taking one of the team Reiner! Returning with the bad news, he told us that the flow was really high, similar to the Rißbach. But, on the bright side, the Upper would likely have water, which it never does. So we drove further up but as the river disappeared for a curve, at next sight the river was bone dry. It turns out that curve has a tributary, and apparently that trib was providing all of the water. So… in a very anti-climactic way, our trip ended. We all ended up getting coffee nearby to hang out for another hour before parting ways with Harry and his family. It is always sad when you say goodbye to your international friends. This was my 5th trip paddling with Harry (Corscia, California, Italy/Switzerland, Norway and now Austria), and as families grow and priorities change, you just never know for certain when the next time you will all see each is. I hope I get to hang out with Harry, Hannah and their boys Moritz and Paul again soon!
That night, Reiner drove Jim and I to Munich and dropped us off at our friend Jonas Grunewald’s flat. We then said goodbye to Reiner, and professed our thanks to him for making the trip possible. He picked us up, dropped us off, let us borrow his car for a few days without him, arranged a boat for Jim, and shared some of his area’s fantastic whitewater with us. I always love boating with Reiner, he is such a contagiously positive person on the river. Although my boating style is more like his brother’s, boating with Reiner is still always fantastic. And I can’t wait for the next time we get to boat together.
Once in Munich, we went out for dinner at a brewery before heading into town to catch the Champions League final. Figuring… how often do you get to watch a major soccer game in Europe. Finding a nice Irish bar the scene did not disappoint, nor did the game! The next morning, with hangovers still fresh Jonas drove us to the airport. While sitting in the lounge (one of the major perks of traveling for work a lot is getting enough miles to get into the lounge for free!) I was eating a soft pretzel when pop! Two teeth shattered. I don’t know if I ground them on the trip and cracked them or what. But, as this is the last write-up, and it is 2 months since I got back… I still have the lasting reminder of this all for as I get my crowns on in 2 weeks.
Welp, so there it is. Finally done with 29 write-ups. Let me breathe a sigh of relief… and go get myself a beer. Cheers!
Thanks to Harald and Reiner Glanz and Jim Janney for sharing photos and for making the trip possible!
Last: Austria & More 2016: Day 13 Afternoon - Sanna (Lower)
- Rapids Start (III- to III+). After a short stretch of flat, you round the corner and enter the gorge. Rapids start immediately. And continue until the end really. There are only a few distinct moves which I remember.
- Opens up (II to III). The river briefly opens up and drops in difficulty.
- Closes back (III- to III+). The gorge tightens again and you enter another section of harder rapids. At all times you can scout though, we had a dog with us who was running along the river and only occasionally would need to be ferried from side to side.
- Crux (III to III+). We entered a section where large rocks made for a blind rapid. Approach with caution to ensure no wood fills any of the channels. Just downstream is a ledge that we ran far left that had a moderately sticky hole at the base. Just keep it straight!
- Opens Up (III- to III). The last hurrah of rapids is actually quite good. As the river opens the river widens a bit and takes a more steep gravel bed style but that forms nice wave trains, a few boofs, and a few small holes to punch.
- Rapids wind down and you have more or less quick moving flat water to take-out.
Take-out: Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a pretty major town along B23 and the Loisach River. On the West side of town, follow B23 out of town. Just on the edge of town you will pass Camping Erlebnis Zugspitze which is a busy campground… the one we did not stay at. In another 650 yards turn right on a little road that drops down to a parking area at the take-out. This is also where we, along with several other vans camped.
Put-in: Continue up (west) B23 for 4.5 km. You will see a paved parking area along the side of the road. That is put-in.
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