2023: Zugspitze


Quick hike through the Höllental up to the Top of Germany. A little bit more crowed than I hoped but what an amazing hike. First through the Höllental with it's gorgeous waterfalls into the via ferrata up over the remaining ice field before you get the to the final 600 meters in elevation through a pretty much straight wall. Not too heavy, nicely exposed in some stretches but great to walk. On the way down via the Austrian side to the famous Eibsee for a little dip. 2.300m elevation gain - 12h up and down with a little beer-break on top. Perfect day!

New Zealand 2023

2022: Back to New Zealand


5 weeks back to New Zealand to catch up with all the beautiful souls from my life changing journey from Bluff to Cape Reinga. This time with visits to the Kepler Track, Gillespie Pass, Kaikoura, Tongario Crossing and much more...

Dolomites High Route #9

2023: Dolomites High Route #9


The route #9 goes from Bolzano (Bozen) passing Cortina and Sexten all the way to Santo Stefano. On the way you pass the impressive sites of Piz Boe, Plattenkofel, Three Cinnes and the Alpini-Steig. We went before the season in the first week of June and ended up in waist deep snow from 2.400m, a fair amount of rain and a few turn backs from via ferratas which were to sketchy. But therefore we had the entire trail to ourselves and camped on the most epic spots totally alone.

Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

2021: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt


In 2021 I hiked the famous Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. It's a beautiful 220km hike over some spectacular passes of the Swiss Alps.
I again decided to hike with my tent and spend the nights outdoors. The right decision even though it was pretty cold for this time of the year - I realised when I woke up to a frozen sleeping bag. A very mystical encounter with some ibex in the National Park and many, many beautiful mountains 😍

HRP - Pyrenean Haut Route Gear List


I have hiked the Tour de Mont Blanc (TMB) in 2018 after having done the Te Araroa in 2016 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017. So I had accumulated a lot of hiking and long distance experience. On these two long distance trails I tried out a lot of different gear and also learned a lot. When I started in New Zealand I was completely over-packed! I had a 75l backpack and carried about 16kg of base weight! Only after three weeks I had the first big "roll-over" where I changed my tent, shoes, backpack and also ditched a lot of stuff.

Changing and reducing gear has almost been a sport since then. Looking back now on how carefully I changed and decided not to carry the one or other extra I almost can't believe how much I voluntarily carried 😂 But I also have to admit that without going through the process myself I would probably not be as convinced of my setup now. I also would have felt uncomfortable with some of the stuff I am doing now (not taking) without the first hand experience. Based on the knowledge I have now and also the confidence in my own capabilities eg. with cold, wet, dry and injuries I still feel safe with the minimal equipment.


HRP gear setting

I wanted to go as light as possible again on the HRP and also wild-camped every night. I planned to be comfortable in 80-85% of the nights when it came to temperatures. I expected temperatures at around 5C and a few days below freezing.

I also expected to get a fair amount of rain but of course also many sunny and warm days.

What to pack?

Pointing it out again - everybody has a different comfort zone! So there is no right or wrong. You should never risk your health or even life by under packing and not being prepared! If you don't feel comfortable take whatever makes you comfortable! You can still throw stuff out on the next re-supply stop but you can't "get it" in the middle of nowhere if you need and don't have it with you.

In general I do recommend the same stuff I carried on the PCT at the very end. Of course it very much depends on the season you go. If you go during the high summer it is less likely to get really cold temperatures. Nevertheless you are in the Alps. Depending on your altitude and the weather system you can get temperatures below freezing, thunderstorms and any hazardous conditions you can encounter in the mountains. At the end you are in a high altitude mountain area.

The entire gear list in a quick overview:

(Some links in the table are affiliate links)
The hiking outfit
Sun protection
Trekking poles
The big three
Pouch for backpack
MSR Ground Hog Mini tent stakes (8)
Sleeping bag
Waterproof stuff sack
Sleeping pad
Jetboil Zip
Water filter
Water container
Water Bottle
Food bag
Rain jacket
Rain skirt
Rain pants
Down jacket
Ortovox Alpinist Low Socks
Stuff sack
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack 8l
Medics & Hygienics 
Half tooth brush
Tooth paste
Contact lenses
Case, solution, extra pair
Standard small nail clipper
Toilet paper
Amount depends on days
Pain killer
4 alcohol pads
6 capsules
Repair kit
Ductape wrapped around trekking pole
6 cable ties
Repair gear
1m Dyneema Composite Fabric
Repair gear
Special tape for air mattress
Repair gear
Tenacious tape
Repair gear
Super glue
Stuff sack
USB with double port & iPhone cable
Battery pack
Phone & navigation
iPhone 6S
Waterproof case
2 spare batteries for headlamp
Stuff sack
Olympus OMD EM1 II (incl. battery & SD)
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 25mm 1:1.2 Pro
2 extra Olympus batteries
Memory card
2x SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB
Camera clip
Camera rain cover
Olympus charger & cable
Additional Gear
Gatorade 1l bottle
Total base weight
Total base weight incl. camera
Weight on the hiker

Sweet as, brew! Let me know when there's new stuff online!

As summarised earlier for the PCT already:

HRP Backpack:

Most important with a backpack is that it fits your back. They all have different harnesses and fit different backs. So make sure to try many. The other features are less important. If you carry heavier loads >15kg you want to have a good hip belt or otherwise you will have bruises on your hips and it's uncomfortable on longer hikes.

My backpack of choice is now the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest. It's specially designed for ultra-light hikers with a 40l volume and only weighs 811g (in comparison my Osprey 50l bag weighs about 1,8kg!) and it is waterproof in itself. It helps you only taking the things you really need since there is not a lot of space 😉. As a reference my bag is maybe half full with all my gear. The rest is "reserved" for food and I usually fit 5 days in it easily. I would not recommend it with a permanent weight over 15kg, but if you exceed it in the first days of a long hike because of food it should be ok since you will get lighter every day.

I also have a Zpacks Backpack Shoulder Pouch on one of my shoulder straps for my phone, ND filter and snacks.

HRP Tent:

Since I was by myself I used my solo-tent Zpacks Solplex. It is made out of Dyneema Composite Fabric (also known as Cuban Fibre) which is highly durable and super lightweight with 539g only! Including 8 stakes with 60g the total weight of the tent comes down to 420g. Comfort, space and durability are amazing. Keep your vestibules open for ventilation since in a single wall tent you do get condensation very quickly. It's not cheap with 555US$ but it's well worth every cent if you sleep in it every day.


Sleeping bag & sleeping pad:

The lightest and smallest version is always down. The higher the number of the filling (e.g. 850) the better the quality of the down and therefore the less you need for the same insulation. As mentioned above I would go with the Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag which is rated for +6C comfort and a max of 0C. I used the sleeping bag mainly as blanket on this trip. I only zipped it up in a few nights. And I always was more than warm. I am sue I would have been fine in colder nights as well so I would take it again.

Due to packing size I opted for an inflatable sleeping mattress. I am not a fan of the bulky foam pads which you always have to attach to the outside dangling around. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite is the lightest one. I used to have a large one but now I go with the extra small one (119cm) since I put my legs on my backpack and other things. Saves 200g compared to the large/regular one.



Some people go without a stove and only eat cold or dry stuff. Apparently it works but I wouldn't want to go without one proper meal per day. For this trip I switched from a normal light weight stove and pot to the Jetboil Zip. It is a bit heavier than my old setup but it makes cooking so much easier. In max. a minute the water is boiling, you can cook in wind and the gas efficiency is stunning. I only emptied a 230gr gas cartridge 2/3 in 20 days. Can you believe this? My Sea to Summit plastic spoon was on the tour again. My main water container is a cheap 1l Powerade plastic bottle - it does the job perfectly, is way lighter than the "proper" ones, the outflow of the

Powerade bottle has the perfect size so that you can drink while walking (better than the Powerade one), you can replace it once in a while if it gets to nasty and it costs almost nothing!

As a water filtration system I switched to a new system thanks to a tip from my friend Maria. I used to work with the Sawyers but this new tool changed my life. The sawyer was work and I always debated of filtering or not. The new Katadyn BeeFree water filter is amazing. It is almost like not filtering. The water flow is so fast that you can't drink in the speed the filter does its job. Incredible and one of my favourite new toys. I would definitely recommend to filter the water in the Pyrenees. Even in times when I thought it was impossible to encounter horses or cows I spotted them way above me.

I also have two stuff sacks (10l and 15l) for my food. It helps to easier squish the food into the backpack and I always separate breakfast & dinner from snacks. By doing that I can bury the breakfast & dinner bag in my pack and only have to take to bag with the snacks out during the day



I try to carry as little as I can. Therefore I don't take anything which can't be used on top of each other for the worst case scenario. Don't over pack - yes, you will be smelly and a bit sticky. But everybody is out there. You'll get used to it. Not showering for ten days sounds really bad at the beginning but it's actually not. And once in a while there is also a river to jump in if you are desperate 😉

I usually hike in a Icebreaker merino wool t-shirt, my beloved red/pink Speedo swim shorts, short Icebreaker merino socks and my favourite Salomon Speedcross trail runners.

this time I tried the new Salomon Speedcross 5 for the first time. I have to say they are better than the 4. They somehow managed to get rid of the weak-point on the front part. This is were the old ones all used to rip after 300km. This pair still looks like new after 900km and no signs of ripping. Really great!

Speedcross 5


Speedcross 5

To protect my socks and shoes from the insight I use very small Outdoor Research Sparkplug gaiters. As sun protection I have my new and cool Prana hipster cap 😎.

Rain gear: Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket & Vaude Drop Pants II rain pants - for heavy conditions and when temperatures drop below 0C with rain and wind. And the above mentioned rain skirt Zpacks Rain Kilt. I would personally make it shorter and keep it over your knees for better movability.

For the really cold days I carry a thin Icebreaker merino beanie and a pair of Icebreaker Sierra gloves.

My new Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down Jacket had no chance to show how good it is. Not used a single time. But I would take it again - you never know.

One Icebreaker Descender Long Sleeve merino wool jumper - early in the morning or later in the day on cold and windy days I like to wear this one. Down is to warm to walk in but to save weight I would maybe consider leaving it behind next time. Let's see.

Since my swim shorts have a mesh inside I don't wear underwear. It also helps for better ventilation, less sweating and rubbing. So I only carry one pair of merino underwear to sleep in.

The only extras I carried were one Icebreaker merino t-shirt which is not really necessary - but it is nice sometimes if you are soaked after a day and you want to sleep in a dry shirt. But you don't need it. If its wet I either try to keep in on and dry it with body heat or I take it off and wear my jumper. It sucks in the morning to put it on again but after 20 minutes of exercising it's usually dry.

I also have one pair of extra socks in case a sock breaks down. This usually happens quickly. I went through a pair in 3-4 weeks. Your feet are the most important part on this journey - you do want to do anything possible to prevent blisters and/or injuries! Other than that you only need one pair. Why? How many can you wear? Exactly. If they smell you wash them in a break. If they are wet? Then you walk in wet socks. If it rains on consecutive days even dry socks are wet after 20 minutes so there is no sense in putting dry ones on to into your wet shoes...


Medics and Hygienics

How to go light: Try to buy the smaller sizes. No need to carry 200ml of something that will last for 2 month. Resupply more often. I have seen people carrying regular bottles of everything ending up with 3-4kg of liquids 🙈

My daily hygienics consisted out of a small and cut off tooth brush + toothpaste, contact lenses and cleansing fluid (extra pair and a few daily lenses in case of an eye infection), nail clipper, comb for my beard - therefore no razor 😂 and an amount of toilet paper suitable for the days - don't carry an entire roll!

In case shit happens. How much can you do in the wilderness? If it's a minor thing you usually don't really have to do anything and if it's a big thing (broken bones, etc.) you can't heal yourself anyways. So the only thing you have to do is get out and get help. So I am not a big fan of carrying a lot of stuff. For the heavy stuff I rely on painkillers (Ibuprofen), the cable ties and ductape.

I also carry Imodium for dhiaria (how many do you need? Not the entire pack for sure, just enough to get you out in case it hits you), a cream for eye infection which happens quickly with contact lenses, a couple disinfection/alcohol tissues (also work great if you have to clean camera lenses or surfaces before you repair / glue them). And a few Antihistamine pills after my shocking 25 sting-wasp-experience.

For the smaller issues and especially my feet I have a small roll of plaster tape (Mefix) which is a sticky plaster to seal open wounds and a 2m strip of Leuko Surgical Tape wrapped around a solid plastic tube: it's the only tape which really works. The adhesive is incredible and even stays on feet for days when they get wet. Don't try anything else!

Last but not least a 30ml sunscreen tube and a Ziploc bag to store everything.

(What I don't carry anymore different to before the trail and on the picture: Voltaren, Aspirin, hand sanitiser, bio degradable washing lotion, ear plugs)

Repair kit

Minimal as well. Tape and cable ties will fix most problems temporarily or even long term. For the electronics I only carry my iPhone for backup navigation (bad weather, emergency situations) and to write the blog.

Sufficient amount of ductape wrapped around my trekking poles so I don't have to carry it in the backpack fixes everything: equipment and also small injuries.
An Opinel Knife No. 6, a stripe of special waterproof repair tape for tents, rain jackets and repair kit for my air mattress, 6 cable ties, super glue, a spare lighter. On top I carried 4 one gallon Ziploc bags as emergency and rain gloves and socks and a small stuff sack to store everything.


Electronics and camera gear

USB charger with double port, my iPhone in a waterproof Catalyst iPhone case - also my fall back navigation and emergency (if I have reception) device, a Goal Zero Flip 20 Powerbank for two charges. A Black Diamond Ion headlamp for hikes during night time and everything else when it's dark. And I have a small Zpacks Wallet Zip Pouch for credit cards &, ID and all of it goes into a 3l Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack.

Photography is one of my passions. So I can't go without a proper camera. I tried to find a compromise between a full DSLR camera which is to bulky and heavy and a smaller one which will still give me a very high quality. For the last 2 years I have used my Olympus OM-D E-M1 II with a micro four thirds sensor and the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 25mm 1:1.2 Pro lense. It almost weighs 1.500g including the lense, battery and memory card which is significantly less than a comparable SLR. It is pretty heavy but as I said - my only luxury piece of equipment.

On top I have 2 spare battery, 2 SD memory cards, cleaning wipes, a grey filter and the camera battery charger.

And I also finally found a way to attach my camera to my backpack so that I can always use it without taking my backpack off or it dangling around and being annoying. The Peak Design clip straps the camera to your shoulder belt. It's fixed, secured and you still have easy access to it. And after two years of heavy usage I can only highly recommend this thing including the shell to protect your camera from dust and rain. If you take the extra weight of a good camera with you this clip is a must item - if you have your camera in your pack you'll never use it and just carry dead weight around! Peak Design Capture Clip v3 for the backpack & Peak Design Shell for protection.


Additional gear

Leki Khumbu Lite hiking poles which I always use. It's said that they save you up to 30% of energy in your legs since you use your upper body which normally is not used when hiking.

Suunto Core Watch. Simple watch, altimeter and compass. I am not a fan of GPS watches since they use a lot of battery which you don't have out there.

Additional 32oz Gatorade (big opening) pee-bottle for the night. I hate getting out of the tent at night. Probably one of my most favourite items 😊


Sweet as, brew! Let me know when there's new stuff online!

HRP - 23 days on the Pyrenean Haute Route - my tour summary, resupply points and gear list

HRP - Pyreneen Haute Route Tour Summary

I hiked the HRP eastbound from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer between the 17. July and 10. August 2019. I did about 840km in distance and roughly 100.000 meters in elevation. Since I only had limited time I hiked between 12 and 14 hours every day and with being a rather fast hiker I made it to Banyuls in 23 days (and 3 hours). So much to the hard facts.

The HRP has been an amazing hike! For me it was the first time in the Pyrenees. And what can I say. I had no clue how beautiful they are! I was really surprised by the amazing mountain landscape. I really loved the rough alpine terrain above the tree line. I have to admit that I am a big fan of the higher and rougher alpine areas and I do love long and steep uphill climbs. So the Pyrenees with mostly very grey and bright granite combined with the sparse vegetation were amazing in that sense already. But especially the very steep and long ascents made me very happy. Very often you just get 1.000 or 1.300m of straight uphill sections which are usually pretty steep. Exactly my cup of tea. Just to put this a bit into the right perspective - I have done a few other long-distance-trails like the Te Araroa in New Zealand, the PCT and quite a few hikes in Canada, the Alps and South America. So I do have seen quite a few mountain areas already but the Pyrenees made it to the very top of the list. I will definitely come back to do more hikes here.


HRP Weather

I hiked between 17. July and 10. August and I guess it has been another very hot summer. I started in a heat wave with over 40C on sea level. I woke up at 6 o'clock at Source de Marmitou with still 23C. So it's probably (hopefully) not a representative year. I had really hot days with mid 30s in the valley along the way. I had two days of rain between Gavarnie and Parzan. But besides this I had quite a few days in the clouds with a few showers in between but mainly hot and sunny days. I was hit by four small thunderstorm or rather cells but they all hit me during the night which was not a problem. I think the coldest night I had was at Lac de Caillauas (2.160m) just before I crossed Col Inférieur de Literole and that was around 4C in the morning.

Because of the warm weather I never really hat the need for warm clothes. I always walked in my Speedo swim-shorts and a t-shirt. I did put my merino-wool sweater on once in a while early in the morning or when I was in the clouds. But my small puffy stayed in the bag the entire trip and also my +6C sleeping bag was only zipped up four or five times. The other nights I only used it as a blanket.


HRP Resupply points


I started out from Hendaye with way too much food - probably for almost 5 days. But I wanted to see what "limited resupply" actually meant. Looking back I can only say that when "limited resupply possibility" was quoted I found more than enough to find enough for the next stretch. Maybe you don't find your favourite brand or flavour and sometimes you might have to get creative but you won't starve and will be fine. I also used may resupply points to just get extra meals and calorie boosters. I knew that I would never be able to keep a balance with my calories. So if there was a shop on the way I made sure to get two cans of coke, fruits, bread, olives, coffee, chips, yogurt and whatever I could get and I was too lazy to carry as a snack.

So my resupply and food points were:

Day 1. Resupply: Henaye

Day 2. Resupply: Les Aldudes (great shop): just a few things to stock up

Day 4. Calorie booster: Col Bagargui - had yogurt, milk, fresh fruit and they even had dehydrated meals.

Day 6. Resupply and 2. Breakfast: Lescun (all you need), great coffee

Day 7. Calorie booster: Candanchu supermarket & cafe

Day 9. Calorie booster: Oulettes de Gaube

Day 9. Resupply: Gavarnie

Day 10. Dinner: Heas

Day 11. Resupply: Parzan

Day 13. Dinner: Hospital de Benasque

Day 15. Resupply and Lunch: Salardu / Vielha

Day 17. Lunch: Refugio de Certascan

Day 19. Resupply & breakfast: l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre

Day 21. Resupply & breakfast: Bolquere

Day 23. Resupply and Lunch: Amelie les Bains

Day 24. Resupply and 2. Breakfast: Le Perthus


HRP Clothes & Equipment

Here you will find my complete equipment list of the trip: HRP gear list.

In the mean-time you can just check out the gear page. The gear list from the TMB is very close to the final HRP gear list. But the update will come soon.

Even though it was a very hot summer I would be totally fine to take the same equipment with much colder weather.


Planning the HRP

When I started planning the HRP tour I found the following sources very helpful:

Great and short notes for the hike, good description of alternates and GPS files. Really helpful once you get into the real preparation phase of the tour: Whiteburn's Wanderings

I also used Chris' blog as point of reference for my stages. He pretty much hiked the same speed and distance. So it was very helpful to have his stages to see where I would end up at the end of the day or what was possible. Chris

And of course Tom Martens Facebook group is an amazing source: HRP

Besides this I only used the iOS App maps.me with the GPS files from Whiteburn and Google maps in towns. Sometimes I used the mountain weather forecast when I needed updates for the peaks.

I also carried paper maps (just the pieces I needed) and the short notes from Whiteburn. I do like the paper maps when I am alone. I had a situation already where my phone died on me in a river and I was glad I had maps to get out. 1:50.000 maps do not really work for navigation if the trail is not clear. But to have an overview and to plan the next day it was always helpful and saved a lot of battery power.


Best sections of the HRP

I really liked the entire section between Lescun and Canigou. Of course there were a few more and less stunnig sections but overall it was amazing all the way. From Lescun the really high mountains were building up, then you were in the really high section for a long time but also coming out again at then end looking at the high stuff behind and the rolling hills again was great. Pic Carlit and the ridgewalk afterwards were surprising highlights of the trip!


Worst section of the HRP

Two sections I would not do again anymore:

The valley after Refugio de Certascan - it was dangerous and completely unnecessary since there is also a good trail in the neighbour-valley. See the detailed post from Day 17.

+++ Update  +++

Thanks Paul for the hint. Here is a screen shot of the map and the alternate after Refugio de Certascan to avoid the horrible descent:

+++ Update +++


Also the entire section around Airoto and down to Alos d'Isil was just horrible. No trails, very tyring overgrown boulder fields and steep bushwacking down to Alos d'Isil. I would try to find a work-around next time. See Day 16.


Fun facts

I did not sleep in a refugio a single night but always in my tent. I camped on an official campsite in Gavarnie because of the expected thunderstorm and next to the Refugio in Heas, Wallon and Sorteny for various reasons.


I cooked every night with my Jetboil stove besides 4 nights were I got food in town, a refugio or carried prepared food out on the first day. I carried a 230gr gas cartridge which was still 1/3 full when I arrived in Banyuls. Unfortunately I did not find the small 100gr version in Hendaye. I would have preferred to buy a new one half way.

I managed to not take a single shower on the trip. I dipped into rivers and lakes though but of course always without using soap out there. Leave No Trace (LNT)!


Hiking the HRP day by day

Here you can find the detailed day by day HRP articles. I tried to put points of reference, refugios or stages from the Cicerone guide into the start and end of a day so it is easier to find them on the map. The exact start and end point of the day can be found in the article. Hope this makes it easier finding the spots.

Day 1: Hendaye to Col-d'Inzola

Day 2: Col d'Inzola to Les Aldudes

Day 3: Les Aldudes to Harpea Cave Valley (below Errotzate)

Day 4: Harpea Cave Valey to Pic d'Ory 

Day 5: Pic d'Ory to Source de Marmitou

Day 6: Source de Marmitou to Pla d'Espelunguere

Day 7: Pla d'Espelunguere to Valle Darrious

Day 8: Valle Darrious to Refuge Wallon

Day 9: Refuge Wallon to Gavarnie

Day 10: Gavarnie to Heas

Day 11: Heas to Parzan

Day 12: Parzan to Lac de Caillauas

Day 13: Lac de Callauas to Basurta

Day 14: Basurta to Lac de Mar

Day 15: Lac de Mar to Estany de Baix de Baciver (close to Salardu / Baqueira)

Day 16: Estany de Baix de Baciver (Salardu / Baqueira) to Estany de la Llavera

Day 17: Estany de la Llavera to Cabana de Basello (close to Estany de Baborte)

Day 18: Cabana de Basello to Refugi de Sorteny

Day 19: Refugi de Sorteny to l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre

Day 20: L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre to Estany de la Pradella (close to Auberge du Carlit)

Day 21: Estany de la Pradella to Refuge de la Porteille Rojta

Day 22: Refuge de la Porteille Rojta to Refuge de Batere

Day 23: Refuge de Batère to Las Illas

Day 24: Las Illias to Banyuls-sur-Mer

HRP - Pyrenean Haute Route

2019: HRP - Pyreneen Haute Route / La Ruta Alta Pirenaica


In July and August I finally made it back into the mountains again for a longer trip. From the Atlantic Ocean over the highest passes and peaks of the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Sea - 840km and 100.000 meters in elevation change. Took me 23 days to hike from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer. No rest day, 12-14h of hiking every day and short nights in my tent.