Mother Nature’s Great Force

One of the most distinctive architectural landmarks on Schliersee is our little rustic boat houses. I know for me they were a real draw as a point of interest in my photography. These privately owned little wooden structures built upon pilings, dot about around the edge of the lake. They are used to house small boats, various beach items and often changing rooms.

The one down side of these little structures are they are subject to severe damage during the winter months when the lake freezes. This year is one such year and though the lake offers much excitement to skaters, the owners of the boat houses have to take steps to protect their buildings.

I have been asked several times in my online posts what are the giant ice cubes I have been photographing on the lake. Well, these are the counter measures that are made to protect the pilings from extreme pressure due to expansion of the ice on the lake. It is with tremendous force that the ice will shift and snap the pilings causing extreme damage. Large blocks of ice are removed around the edges of the docks and boat houses creating a gap to relieve the pressure when the ice expands.

You can see evidence of the power of the ice expansion in many of the photos I am providing as well as the eruption of the land at the edge of the lake. How it has forced the earth up in peaks and snapped telephone pole sized pilings. Twisting and bending to breaking point many of the structures even with these ice removal precautions.

People may have also noticed that several docks on Schliersee seem to not have ice forming around them at all. This is another counter measure called de-icers. These devices oscillate the water to reduce the build up in hopes of preventing damage. Our local waterfowl seem to really appreciate the use to these oscillators freeing up ice for them to swim about in.

I have great respect for the daring hard working people who risk possibly falling through the ice to do the hard work of cutting the ice to protect these landmark buildings, thus preserving the look of our beautiful Schliersee.


Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).