Record-breaking Cable Car Set to Open on Germany’s Highest Mountain
The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and offers some of the best views of the Alps. On fine days visitors can see mountain peaks ranging from 2,000m up to 4,000m and across 4 countries reaching as far as the Eastern Alps.
Reaching almost 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in height, this famous peak is located near the ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This town is known, first of all, as the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. Zugspitze is not only a site for downhill skiing, but also a major Alpine attraction, and extremely popular with tourists year-round.
There are two ways currently up the mountain: a leisurely 75-minute ride on a cog railway from the town center, combined with a ride on the Gletscherbahn cable car for the last stretch; or a 10-minute hoist by cable car, which begins its giddy ascent from the Eibsee, 10 km (6 miles) outside town on the road to Austria. There are two restaurants with sunny terraces at the summit and another at the top of the cog railroad. A round-trip combination ticket allows you to mix your modes of travel up and down the mountain. Prices are lower in winter than in summer, even though winter rates include use of all the ski lifts on the mountain. Skis can be rented at the top.
After 54 years of faithful service the Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car is approaching its final journey. The new cable car is set to smash three world records: It will have the world’s highest cable car support tower, at 127 metres; the greatest altitude difference of 1,945 metres; and the world’s longest free span, covering 3,213 metres.
According to dpa, work on the 50 million euro (59 million dollar) project has fallen several weeks behind schedule due to adverse weather conditions, “but the lift will be running on December 21,” according to Martin Hurm, chief of operations of the Zugspitzbahn company in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, some 100 kilometres south of Munich.
The four main cables, each 72 millimetres (2.8 inches) thick and weighing 153 tonnes, have been installed on the 4,467-metre attraction, with two smaller cables to follow.
Final work is now being completed at the valley station and the summit station, with upwards of 100 workers braving wind and adverse conditions on the 2,962-metre mountain.
The cable car will have two cabins with floor-to-ceiling glass walls to create optimum views. Each cabin will be able to carry up to 120 passengers, plus the operator.