It is five in the morning. Karl Hörmann, professional hunter with the Bavarian State Forestry Commission, hooks his arms into his light green backpack. “Off we go, Hannes. Let's see if we can find that chamois I picked for you. She's old and is past the age of minding kids.” Off he marches, accompanied by his Tyrolean hound Bella. The sun lies low in the sky, the clouds shrouding the ridges like a grey veil. Hannes follows in Karl’s footsteps. The hiking trail rises steeply ahead. The lake directly in front of us shimmers grey, and the water has receded from the edges. “It's damn hot this summer”, says Karl. “The lake is usually fuller. And it glows emerald green when the sun shines.”
Karl reaches for his binoculars and carefully scans the slopes. “There's some chamois back there between the mountain pine”, says Hannes, peering through his ZEISS VICTORY RF 10x42. He discovers a group of four lingering between the trees. “Billy goats or nannies, Karl?” “We’ll go take a closer look. With the spotting scope. But first we have to walk across the meadow and then climb a little higher.”
A strenuous climb stalking chamois ...
After a quarter of an hour stalking in the shallow terrain, Karl sets up his spotting scope and Hannes leans back. Blessed with astonishing stamina, the triathlete feels perfectly at home. “It’s odd that the chamois don’t run off. They've definitely seen us.” “Well”, says Karl, “they're used to hikers and besides, it's the beginning of August. The chamois hunting season has only just begun, and the animals are not yet shy of the hunt.” Each animal is mustered using a spotting scope and binoculars. None of the five chamois would be suitable for Hannes. “They are all young and middle-aged billy goats”, says Karl. It’s getting warmer as the sun dispels the clouds and the sky above turns radiant blue. The first hikers cross our path. They pass the chamois, which stand 200 m above them in the grey rocks. “Will the tourists see the game?” asks Hannes. Karl: “No, I don't think so.”
Half an hour later, Karl waggles his mountain stick to show the direction for the stalk. “We’ll climb up towards the rocks, then traverse the fields of mountain pines, go over the ridge at the back and then into the ravine. Perhaps she's hiding there somewhere.” The ground underfoot is rocky, with boulders lurking beneath the meadow and between the mountain pines. Hannes drives his mountain stick into the ground to ease his ascent. He's slowing down, becoming more careful. The triathlete has no problem with endurance, but does need to watch his balance, the lie of the land and keep a lookout for crevices.