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Alpine Cosmology Workshop 2017 

Welcome to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop website. Tervetuloa, Gruss Gott!


This is an annual workshop organized since 2009. The conference is supported by the University of Helsinki, Max-Planck Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), the University of Innsbruck  and Planetarium Südtirol/Alto Adige.

The concept of the workshop is to combine a scientific part, in which each participant delivers a review on their topic with a group activity in which every participant is engaged. To this end we have selected to conduct the workshop at several huts located in the Alps, connected by hiking trails. Each day has approximately 6 hours of the workshop and 6 hours of hiking, during which the participants usually continue the discussion of the scientific topics and establish new collaborations. The no escape principle, and no contact to outside (poor cell-phone reception is however available), possible during the workshop, are unique attributes of the conference and allow participants to concentrate entirely on the subject of the conference, which includes:

  • Theoretical and observational cosmology
  • Physics of galaxy clusters
  • Coevolution of galaxies and black holes
  • Environmental effects in galaxy formation
  • Gravitational waves
SOC:       A. Finoguenov, S. Schindler, K. Enqvist, N. Kaiser, E. Komatsu, E.Egami, V.Faraoni, C. Sarazin, J.-P. Kneib, M. Voit, M. Donahue, S. Colafrancesco, C. Raeth, M. Haider, I.Mandel
LOC:       A. Finoguenov, M. Haider, F. Käfer, D. Gruber, V.Faraoni, D. Steinhauser, E. Carpentier

The participants are given the full instructions regarding their preparation, insurance coverage as well as risks associated with any such outdoor activity. For logistical reasons the participation at the conference is limited to 30 people, and so far we were able to accommodate all the requests. To register, please write an email to alexis at mpe dot mpg dot de

suggesting the title of your contribution. 

The dates of the 2017 workshop are July  24-28 2017. 

The list of participants is finalized. All registered people should have received an email with link to provide practical info. Contact A.Finoguenov if you have not.

Here is the final program of the workshop acw17_program.pdf

The 2017 route is located in Allgaeuer Alps and features 

  • a moderately challenging main route with a weather-secure access to each hut and escape possibility on each day 
  • alternative hikes, which allows participants to adjust the hike for their own needs 


The meeting starts on July 24 (2017) in Oberstdorf, Bavaria, Germany, which is well connected to Munich (as well as Innsbruck).

Participants are advised to use the web site for planning their trip from Munich.

Participants arriving earlier should arrange for their own accommodation. During July 24-28 (2017) the accommodation is reserved by LOC.


July 24:

  • transport of the participants to the head of the trail at Fellhornbahn by 10am.
  • Destination: Fiderpass Hut (4 hour hike). Alternative is to take cable car to the middle station and hike for 2.5h.

  • lunch at the hut
  • 6h of talks starting 2pm. Dinner at the hut

July 25:

  • Breakfast at the hut starting 7am. 
  • 5h of talks starting at 7:30am. Lunch at the hut.
  • Destination: Mindelheimer Hut (3 hour hike); alternative challenging hike: 5h climbing route "Mindelheimer Klettersteig"  


  • Dinner at the hut

July 26:

  • lunch at the hut
  • 6h of talks starting 2pm
  • dinner at the hut


July 27 

  • 7am breakfast. 6h hike to Kemptner Hut (via famous Heilbronner Weg). Take snack with you for lunch. This what we hope to see:

  • Alternative: a small hike around Rappensee hut.
  • Discussion session. Conference summary.
  • dinner at the hut

July 28

  • Breakfast at the hut starting 8am. 
  •  3h hike back to Oberstdorf. Participants from Innsbruck can descend directly to the Austrian side.
  • Some of the participants are planning to stay in the area till Sunday.


Last minute changes dictated by the weather are often required. Typically, all the talks will be given, but not all the hikes can be done. We hike both as a group or by a few mini-groups (with 3 people or more), with control over the participants.


Alternatives include

  • Reaching the huts by going back to the valley (if the main hike is too challenging).
  • Adjustment of hiking route based on the LOC evaluation of individual's experience. 
  • Personal trainer program. 
  • Cancel any part of the hike due to increment weather. 
  • Use of the multiple access and escape points. 
  • Alpine rescue is covered by the provided insurance.

Practical details:

  • Huts provide both accommodation (only own sleeping sheet is required by the huts), showers (bring your own light-weight towel, soap and shampoo) and full meals including vegetarian option. We will order both the sleeping sheets and a light-weight towels for interested participants as a part of the registration fee. Sleeping sheet weights 100g and has 7cmx15cm in size:
  • Backpack shall be 10% of your body weight. 50l backpack (with rain-proof cover) shall be enough. We can store your extra travel stuff either at MPE (Garching) or in the car. Here is an image of a 35l trekking backpack.
  • Water will be refilled at each hut (watch the signs - not every tap serves drinkable water, avoid "kein Trinkwasser"). Bring a light water container like this:
  • remember that you need water also for the first hike (July 24)
  • You can dry (and eventually wash) your clothes.
  • Bring your talk on the USB key. LOC will carry a laptop and a projector. If you prefer to use chalk, we will find a rock for you.
  • Hiking shoes, breathable clothes. Nylon T-short and a rainproof softshell is a minimal functional combination.
    Here is how hiking shoes should look like:

    You need to have them in order to participate. This is strictly enforced for your own safety and comfort and the image of the group. The later is important to get access to certain hikes from the rescue men (hut owners), who will first examine our boots before letting us go. The shoes should cover your ankle. We can provide advice on how to select them. 
  • Hiking poles (these help saving your knees)
  • flip-flops to walk inside the hut
  • sunglasses, sun protection, hat
  • hiking pants - long or at least covering the knees - some rain-proof protection is a great bonus.
  • personal medicine. If you like to hike alone - bring your own first aid kit. 
  • earplugs (for the night)
  • prepare for zero temperatures (Celsius or 30s F)  and snow on the route - in addition to the softshell take fleece, warm hat, gloves
  • plastic bandage for you feet, some people put it prior to hiking. And on the hike: if it hearts - stop and put it on.
  • light snacks for long hikes
  • hiking/skiing socks (and a change)
  • knee/ankle protection if you use it
  • Personal medical insurance valid in Germany is advised (we only cover the transport to the hospital).
  • Personal costs are ~400 Euro, covering meals and accommodation (receipts are given). Huts often do not accept cards. 
  • Participants are expected to bear the costs of travel to the first and from the last access points of the route.
  • Typically, to arrive to the meeting point, participants join the groups starting from Munich or Innsbruck. It is possible to arrive to the conference site using the train to Oberstdorf.

The conference fee is 200 Euro and includes: obligatory Alpine insurance and Alpine membership, map of the area, reserved funds for fees related to unexpected changes of the route, coffee breaks. The fee is the same for every participant, no reduction is possible. The payment of the fee will be done in cash during the first day of the conference. Cancellation is subject to the already incurred costs.

Deadline for registration: May 1 2017. Late contributions are only possible with own alpine insurance.



Hiking is a potentially dangerous activity. The hike descriptions provided by the conference organizers intended to help plan outings, but conference participants are wholly responsible for anticipating potential hazards and evaluating their physical ability to follow a particular hike. Hiking is a personal choice and requires personal responsibility. Hiking exposes you to risks. Risks are mitigated, but not eliminated by training and skill. Conference organizers, UoH, MPE and UoI assume absolutely no responsibility, including but not limited to injury and loss due to use of information, or participating in activities related to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop. 

Some readers of this disclaimer might consider participating at the conference as risky, while they go on similar routes in private. This disclaimer applies to any hiking activity! The worst risk is underestimating the danger! By participating in the conference you will improve your knowledge of the mountaineering and related safety rules. 


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