1565 m

Tegernsee Alps

Surrounded by wildlife protection areas

The Taubensteinhaus, similar to the Bodenschneidhaus, is located in a remoter part of the Tegernsee Alps and is a hut of the Munich section of the German Alpine Club (DAV-Hütte). Only at Spitzingsee, a lake between the two huts, you meet the crowds coming from Munich for a day-hike. This is probably also because the Taubensteinbahn, a cable car that runs from the lake to just above the hut, is no longer in use during winter. Hence, we walk up the old, unprepared ski slopes, which works well with snowshoes. There is no prepared hiking or forest path to the hut, which lies below the same-named peak and with a view over a bowl-shaped valley - framed by the peaks of Hochmiesing and the Rotwand, the highest peak in the region.

In winter the hut is closed from Sunday evening to Tuesday morning, so overnight stays are only possible Tuesday to Saturday. There are ski-touring evenings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Due to the increase in ski-touring, there is now a three-kilometre-long ski-touring route up to Taubensteinhaus, which can be done after work, i.e. in the dark in winter, and was routed to not disturb the wildlife in the area. Surviving in winter is particularly strenuous for animals in the mountains, as they find little food due to the snow and any movement costs a lot of energy due to the cold. Especially at dusk, many animals are looking for food and a supposed escape due to interference from snow enthusiasts costs unnecessary energy. Some animals, such as grouse, can only make up for such a hasty escape two or three times per winter before the loss of energy is life-threatening. And black grouse and capercaillie are already on the red list of animal species threatened with extinction in Bavaria. In addition to the designated night route, which is marked with reflective signs so that ski tourers do not stray from the path, the sensitive areas are also marked, and entry is prohibited in parts of the Tegernsee Alps in winter. The newly created night ski tour is intended to create a compromise between nature conservation and leisure activities. If you can, try to get to the hut at dusk and stay overnight. I promise, the sunrise is worth it at the Taubensteinhaus.

Why DAV-Hütten are special

The common room is cozy and heated with a fireplace where you can also dry your clothes. The hut does not have a separate drying room. However, you can hang your ski and hiking boots on a shoe dryer at the entrance. The rooms are not heated and only get a little heat from the dining room, so we hang our clothes on the fireplace, which isn't a problem given the few guests. After freshening up, we take a look at the menu. You can shower for a few euros, but we save that for the sake of the environment. Finally, our functional clothes made of Merino pay off and can work their odour neutrality magic.

A few vegan dishes on the menu immediately catch my eye. Here in the mountains a rethinking is also taking place or at least guests’ changing demand is taking into account, hence some vegan or vegetarian dishes are on the menu. According to the DAV's hut and tariff regulations, the “Bergsteigeressen”, which is at least one dish that every DAV hut has to offer at a reduced price according to the statutes, must be at least vegetarian. The Bergsteigeressen often varies daily or weekly, so you always have to ask at the DAV huts what's available that day. These are often simple dishes, yet they fill you up well. In addition to the Bergsteigeressen, there must also be a non-alcoholic, discounted drink on the menu, which is often raspberry or elderberry spritzer. You also get a litre of tea water for three euros and you can use your own favourite tea bags. In the morning, when you have breakfast, you are also given a litre of hot tea, which you can take with you in your own thermos. Hot tea on a tour is particularly good in winter. You can find all of this in almost all DAV huts, even if you sometimes have to explicitly ask for it. The idea is to keep an overnight stay in a hut affordable for everyone and the original character of the hut as a “shelter” is maintained.

Humans of the Mountains

There is still some time until dinner and since the hut is not very busy between Christmas and New Years, we get to talk to Alex*, who has been working in the Tegernsee mountains since 2017. He started at the Albert-Link Hut and has been at the Taubensteinhaus since this year. Yet, he prefers to sleep in the Schönfeldhütte, where he doesn't have to share his bedroom. The Taubensteinhaus and the Schönfeldhütte, which is only open in summer, are run by the same leaseholder, so that Alex only shares the hut with the cat in winter. For the luxury of his own hut, he does not mind to come up the 200 meters to Taubensteinhaus with his skies in the morning, sleep in an unheated room and look after the cat. In the evening, when the last guests leave the room shortly before “Hüttenruhe”, when the huts closes down at 10 p.m., he skies the short distance to bed! Alex originally comes from somewhere in the middle of Germany, but you quickly notice how much he enjoys life in the mountains. When he wanted to change careers, he certainly not only found a new job, but also a new home.

So we say farewell to Alex in the evening, as the delicious breakfast is prepared by his colleague the next morning. Well-fed and with hot tea in our backpacks, we set off on our snowshoes to the next hut, Rotwandhaus and think keep  Taubensteinhaus as a cozy hut with particularly friendly staff in our memories.
* Name changed.