with Thomas Oschwald

Captivating Mountain Lakes

The Stand Up Paddler and adventurer Thomas Oschwald has already covered thousands of kilometres on his travels on his SUP. He has spent weeks and months on the rivers, lakes and seas of Europe. He looks for adventure on these discovery travels, calling them micro expeditions, purposely not far from civilization, but more like in the midst of it. He is pulled to the outdoors even at home – less of a distant destination than of an upward one. Not to climb, but to Stand Up Paddle.



Paddling on a mountain lake is a passion that defies all rationality. Torturing yourself between 5 and 10 hours with the SUP board on your back up the mountain and back down again to paddle across a tiny lake makes no sense at first glance. But that's where the fascination lies hidden. The difficult accessibility awakens the appeal of adventure. Mountain lakes are far away from any civilization in the middle of a breathtaking natural scenery. If you want to feel and experience their charisma, you have to leave your own comfort and make the strenuous climb.

To surrender to the fascination of mountain lakes, you need stamina and willpower. A half-heartedly set sail may flap merrily in the wind, but it will never be able to pull you up the mountain. Turning back halfway because you have lost the desire must not be an option. The path doesn't just lead a few hundred meters to the lake, but kilometers up the mountain. Thanks to the new Pocket SUP boards, however, the carrying weight is massively reduced and so the backpack, including food, weighs less than 10 kilograms. A weight that can easily be carried for several hours with a little training.


To set a mountain lake as a goal for two makes twice as much fun. The provisions can be carried up in a separate backpack, which further reduces the weight of the pack. In addition, you can take turns carrying the pack and so the ascent becomes a pleasure. On a small mountain lake, one SUP board is usually enough and on high-quality boards can easily be paddled by two. Otherwise our Pocket bags are big enough to story some extra luggage as well.

Summer is certainly the best season to head for a mountain lake. This way you can escape the heat and the crowds in the lowlands. In the summer months, the mountain lakes are also often warm enough that a jump into the water is a welcome cooling. In the spring, the high mountain lakes are often still covered with ice and in the fall there can be the first snow. Paddling across a mountain lake in winter is only possible at the beginning of the cold season. After that, practically all lakes above 1000 meters freeze over.

When paddling, it is important to remember that you are in the mountains. A fall into the fresh water may be fun in the summer, but having to walk down to the valley without spare clothes is very unpleasant when the wind picks up. In autumn, spring or winter, such a mishap can quickly become very dangerous. A waterproof dry suit (definitely not ski clothes) and enough spare clothes are a must in cold temperatures. If you approach the mountains with the necessary respect, you will be able to experience a wonderful adventure without danger.

It is a passion and a fascination, which contradicts any rationality. A torturous hike between five and ten hours up and down a mountain with a SUP on your back just to paddle over tiny lakes somehow doesn’t make much sense? There are plenty of beautiful lakes on the flat plains just waiting to be explored? Why, then, dwell in the heights when beauty is so close?
But maybe that is precisely where the fascination of mountain lakes is hidden. A type of yearning described by Thomas Oschwald in the following words:


“The fascination lies in its inaccessibility. Mountain lakes cannot be reached by car or train, or bus. They are found well outside of the reaches of civilization in the middle of breathtaking natural settings. They are the sparkling jewels of the mountains ascending many hundreds of metres over the valley. Those who wish to feel and experience them must leave their comfort zone and make the journey upward. They are small paradises not influenced by instant gratification and can only be attained with perseverance and effort. They are oases, full of happiness when they are reached by one’s strength.”

Words & pics: Thomas Oschwald