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Posts tagged ‘cable car’

Ngong Ping 360, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

My Hong Kong: above on the Ngong Ping 360

If you’re in Hong Kong and you’re thinking about visiting the “Big Buddha” on Lantau Island, you should consider the 6-kilometre Ngong Ping 360 cable-car high above the island.

From the Tung Chung lower station to the Ngong Ping upper station, the 25-minute cable car ride offers a 360-degree view of the Tung Chung development, Tung Chung Bay, the HKG international airport at Chep Lap Kok, and the forested parklands of Lantau North Country Park. At Ngong Ping village, most will head out on foot to visit the nearby Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha (known also as the “Big Buddha”), hike across North Lantau back towards Tung Chung, or hop on a bus to any number of villages along the island’s coastline.

From central Hong Kong, hop onto the MTR Tung Chung transport-line to the western terminus station in the town of Tung Chung. Located across from the MTR station is the lower station for the “Ngong Ping 360“, labeled ‘T’ (for Tung Chung) in the map below. ‘N’ marks the upper station at Ngong Ping. As of June 2014, adult fares for the standard cabin are $105 HKD one-way (about $14 USD) and $150 HKD return (about $19 USD); private cabins or “crystal” cabins with glass floors cost extra. The 360 operates weekdays 10am to 6pm, and weekends/holidays 9am to 630pm.

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Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Ascent to Zugspitze, the top of Germany

Around the Alps, the following questions are often asked: is it cloudy? If it is and I decide to go up, will I see nothing but near-zero visibility?

On an October morning, skies were overcast, but there were some promising clear patches around. Rainshowers over the previous couple of nights down in Garmisch-Partenkirchen town would have been snow at elevations higher than about 1000 metres, which meant all of the “local hills” would be frosted in white.

I took a chance and decided to ascend Zugspitze. It’d be all or nothing: a view full of glory, or a view with a whole lot of grey.

4 ways up top

There are four ways to Zugspitze, which at an altitude of 2960 metres above sea level is the highest spot in Germany. One way up is to scale the mountain on foot for the experienced trekker and climber. For the rest of us, there are three alternative routes to the summit:

•   Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cogwheel railway from Garmisch-Partenkirchen;
•   Eibsee-Seilbahn, aerial tramway from Eibsee, down the road from Garmisch-Partenkirchen; and
•   Tiroler Zugspitzbahn, aerial tramway from Ehrwald in Tirol, on the other side of the valley in Austria.

For the ascent, I rode the Zugspitzbahn railway to Eibsee, and took the aerial tramway up to the summit. Despite the possible snow up top, this was still the “summer season”. The round-trip to the summit costs € 48 per person (summer 2011), which sounds expensive, but as you’ll see in this and subsequent posts, I believe the trip was worth the price.

Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The way up. “Halt auf Verlangen” (stop upon request).

Zugspitzbahn leaving Eibsee station

Zugspitzbahn, leaving Eibsee station for the summit.

With operations starting in 1963, the Eibsee aerial tramway was designed as an alternative and faster means of ascending the Zugspitze summit.

Over the total 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) horizontal distance traveled, there are just two pylons or support towers, lifting the aerial tram vertically over 1950 metres (6400 feet) from the lower-station in the valley (about 1000 metres or 3280 feet above sea level) to the upper-station near the summit (2960 metres or 9700 feet above sea level). The height of the towers are 65 and 85 metres (213 and 279 feet, respectively), which makes the latter the tallest cable support-tower in the country. At its steepest near the summit, the aerial tramway reaches a grade of 46 degrees.

Eibsee aerial tramway

Eibsee cable car: just TWO support towers over a horizontal length of 4.5 kilometres, a vertical climb of almost 2 kilometres, and a maximum grade of 46 degrees.

Eibseeseilbahn Talstation

Looking up from the Eibseeseilbahn Talstation | lower station, Eibsee cable car.

1st tower, Eibseeseilbahn (cable car)

On the Eibsee cable car to the first tower.

To the 2nd tower, Eibseeseilbahn

On the Eibseeseilbahn, up to the second tower.

Looking down, Eibseeseilbahn

On the Eibseeseilbahn: breaking through the clouds.

Eibsee lake

Past the second tower, looking back down to Eibsee.

Ridge along Grosse Riffelwandspitze

Ridge along Grosse Riffelwandspitze; ice and snow chunks from the cable.

Cross marks the summit

Gipfelkreuz (summit cross) on the Bavaria/Germany side.

Austrian side of Zugspitze

Towards the frozen Tirolian/Austrian side of Zugspitze.

Despite the clouds at mid-level, the chance I took with the trip up to the summit proved very rewarding, as the aerial tramway broke through the clouds and into clear blue skies at the Zugspitze summit.

Subsequent posts highlight the exquisite view of the surroundings under a fresh layer of snow.


The series:

•   Ascent to Zugspitze, the top of Germany (this post)
•   Zugspitze summit : part 1, German side
•   Zugspitze summit : part 2, Austrian side
•   Zugspitze summit : part 3, Austrian side, after the clouds cleared
•   Zugspitze : part 4, the summit and the plateau below

I made the photos above on 9 October 2011. This post is published on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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