Fast & Light Hiking with Laura Dahlmeier

Discover the Thrill of Fast and Light Hiking with Laura Dahlmeier

 

When it comes to fast and light hiking, few people embody the spirit and expertise of this exhilarating activity like Laura Dahlmeier. A double Olympic champion and seven-time world champion in biathlon, Laura’s passion for the outdoors and her relentless drive have made her a formidable force in both competitive sports and recreational hiking. We caught up with Laura to dive into her insights on fast and light hiking, uncovering what makes it so exciting, and why the Osprey Tempest Velocity is her pack of choice for these adventures.

Meet Laura Dahlmeier: Champion on and off the Trails

Laura Dahlmeier is not only a celebrated athlete but also an avid fast and light hiker who finds joy and challenge in the mountains of her home country, Germany. Known for her precision and endurance, Laura brings the same intensity to hiking as she does to biathlon. Her unique perspective and experiences offer invaluable insights for anyone looking to get into fast and light hiking or take their current adventures to the next level.

Q&A with Laura Dahlmeier

 

1. What are your top three fast and light hiking trails in Germany, and what makes them great?

 

#1 - Top of Germany - Zugspitze via Reintal
Due to the length of the tour, a combination of trail running and fast and light hiking is recommended. Start running through the beautiful Partnach Gorge and ascend through the Reintal valley. From the Reintalangerhütte, switch to fast hiking, continue past the Knorrhütte, across the Zugspitzplatt, and finally via a steel cable-secured passage to the Zugspitze summit. Then descend "light and fast" with the gondola back into the valley.

#2 - Der Wank
A shorter tour to the sunny mountain of Partenkirchen, with a great view of the Zugspitze massif. The route can be varied in length and intensity through different ascent options and can also be undertaken in less favorable weather.

#3 - To the Meilerhütte
Starting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen through the spectacular Partnach Gorge, continue via the Kälbersteig past the beautiful Schachen Castle to the Meilerhütte. Great views and a hospitable hut where you can also stay overnight. The Tempest Velocity backpack, with 22 liters, has plenty of space for a toothbrush.

2. How can fast and light hiking benefit both physical fitness and mental well-being?

Laura:

Since you can move faster, the physical intensity is higher than pure hiking. The lighter backpack makes it less muscularly strenuous, but the cardiovascular system is more challenged. Because the backpack is lighter, you can stay active in the beautiful mountain scenery for many hours. This is a significant mental benefit in my view. Additionally, I find it motivating that you can cover greater distances in a shorter time. I am always amazed at the distances one can cover in a day.

3. What are the essential gear items you take in your backpack when fast and light hiking?

Laura:

In my Tempest Velocity, I always pack a lightweight GORE-TEX rain jacket, enough to drink, an emergency bar, a small first aid kit, and my phone for emergencies and to capture beautiful moments. It's also advisable to carry some cash to possibly get additional supplies at a hut, so you don't have to carry too much food and thus weight up the mountain. Depending on the length of the tour and the season, it might be wise to take a change of shirt or a headlamp. The key is to take as much as necessary but not more. Otherwise, you’re no longer fast & light.

4. Can you share personal anecdotes or stories from fast and light hiking adventures, highlighting any memorable moments and unexpected challenges?

Laura:

I usually train in my home mountains around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and sometimes I feel like challenging myself. For example, in the valley, you see the hiking sign "Kramerspitze 5 hours" and it’s just fun for me to find my personal limit on this route, light & fast. When the watch stops at only 1:15 hours at the top, it’s an incredible feeling of what the body is capable of. However, one must always be aware that there are different dangers in the mountains and not take too high a risk. Otherwise, things can quickly get critical, like on one of my tours to the Musterstein, where I was surprised by a thunderstorm. Although I could shelter in a rock niche, I only had a thin rain jacket for protection, and I quickly got drenched and cold. Fortunately, there was a hut not far away where I could dry off and warm up.

Why the Tempest Velocity is Perfect for Fast and Light Hiking?

Laura’s go-to pack for fast and light hiking is the Osprey Tempest Velocity. This pack is specifically designed for those who want to move quickly and efficiently without sacrificing comfort or functionality. Here’s why the Tempest Velocity is the ideal choice for this activity:

Lightweight Design:

The Tempest Velocity is crafted to be as light as possible, reducing the strain on your body and allowing for faster movement.

Ample Storage:

With 22 liters of space, it’s perfect for carrying essential items without overloading you.

Comfortable Fit:

The running vest-inspired harness and adjustable hipbelt ensure a snug, comfortable and versatile fit, even during intense physical activity. 

Durable Materials:

Built to withstand the rigors of the trail, this pack will keep your gear protected and accessible.

Hydration Compatibility:

Designed to accommodate a hydration reservoir, so you can stay hydrated on the go without needing to stop frequently.

Quick and Easy Access:

The lightweight top cinch closure compression allows for a range of items to be back and unpacked as quickly as you need.

Fast and light hiking is an exciting way to explore the great outdoors, combining the physical challenge of speed with the mental reward of covering significant distances in stunning landscapes. With the insights from Laura Dahlmeier and the reliability of the Velocity Series, you’re well-equipped to embark on your own fast and light hiking adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the trail, this approach to hiking offers a fresh and exhilarating experience.

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