James and I decided to head to the Bärenkopf above Achensee after the first substantial snowfall in the mountains. This seemed like a good balance of a decent day out with some good views, but something that wouldn’t be too much work with the new snow. Little did we know just how good the views would be.

An easy drive after a leisurely start took us to a surprisingly empty car park, with snow down to the car as we were on the north side of the mountain. The start of the walk was up a track to the Bärenbadalm, there was a more direct walking path which we elected to avoid given the snow. The initial track felt fairly tiring after my lack of recent hill walking, but the fleeting views of Achensee certainly kept us going. It was a nice surprise that the trees were still pretty autumnal, and the contrast between the evergreens and deciduous was pleasing.

We soon emerged out from the shade and into the sun next to the Bärenbadalm, where we had a snack and delayered before the steeper ascent up to the peak. The next section was harder going as it was steeper and the snow was deeper, but the views just kept getting better and better, which gave us a good excuse for a breather as we clearly needed to take lots of photos. Thankfully there was a good track through the fluffy and dry snow which certainly made the ascent easier, the advantage of a late start on a Sunday!

When we set out on the walk, I had thought entirely about the view into the Karwendel and over Achensee, but I had not considered the view towards the higher alps. When we emerged around to the south side of Bärenkopf my mind as blown, with an outstanding view over the Inntal towards the bigger peaks.

From the summit we had one of the better views I have ever seen, with amazing views in an almost 360 degree direction, crystal clear air, autumnal trees, snowy mountains and a blue lake. To top of the brilliant views we also had lovely soft afternoon autumnal light and some interest in the sky to keep the photos interesting. Only briefly did I complain about the low sun as the composition I wanted looking over Achensee was impossible due to the shadow of the camera and tripod over the foreground, there are worse problems to have!!

After taking a huge amount of photos and absorbing the view, we reluctantly headed back down. The descent was very quick with the powdery snow, and definitely made it faster. From the Bärenbadalm we were able to cut straight down the ski piste which was very fast and easy with the snow cover. This resulted in the descent only taking just over an hour!

Another group heading up from the Bärenbadalm with the Achensee and Seebergspitze behind
Looking into the Karwendel and the Montscheinspitze
Autumnal trees with the Sonnjoch and Dristenkopf in the background
Sonnjoch, Bettlerkarspitze, Dristenkopf and Montscheinspitze
Lookoing over the Zwölferkopf towards the Montscheinspitze
Looking over the Inntal into the high alps
James approaching Barenkopf
Wonderful view into the Karwendel of Schaufelspize, Bettlerkarspitze and Montscheinspitze
Stunning view over Achensee with the ridge of between the Seebergspitze and Seekarspitze looking inviting
Looking deep into the Karwendel with the Sonnjoch dominating the landscape
Unbelievable summit panorama from the Karwendel over Achensee to the Zillertal
Looking towards Montscheinspitze, Seeberspitze, Seekarspitze, Achensee and Vorderunnütz
Looking towards Montscheinspitze
James enjoying the descent
Slight detour on the way down to another stunning viewpoint
Descending with a view of the high alps
Descending looking towards Montscheinspitze and Seebergspitze
The descent was not a chore
Final views of Achensee from up high before we descended into the woods
Lower down woods were still showing their autumnal colours
Total distance: 10.13 km
Max elevation: 1980 m
Min elevation: 931 m
Total climbing: 1052 m
Total descent: -1056 m
Download file: B_renkopf_in_the_snow_reduced.gpx