Unlike Americans, Germans head south for the summer, relying on altitude rather than latitude for reasonable temperatures. Once ensconced in the Bavarian alps, these Teutonic tourists pull their socks up to their knees and start hiking up the rugged ridges that define the border with Austria's Tyrol region.

This annual migration is both traditional and radical. These mountains are not to be taken lightly.

Already this summer, a wingsuit flyer has perished in the Alps and an older hiker was stuck in an Austrian crevasse for six days. If Chamonix, in the French Alps, is a playground than the area around the Zugspitze, Germany's tallest peak, is a proving ground. It seems fitting that the chapel on its slope was consecrated by the current pope before he moved into the Vatican.

The area has also seen significant investment in recent years aimed at making the area a year-round destination for foreigners, who have typically flocked to the area for its Christmas markets come December. Among the new infrastructure is the AlspiX, which consists of two viewing platforms curving out into thin air like melting Olympic diving platforms. The panorama is memorable and the crowds may not be European for much longer.

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  • The view of the Wetterstein mountains seen from the base of the Alpspitz peak on August 19, 2012 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • An older tourist looks out with field glasses at the peak of the Osterfeldkopf mountain. During summer, warm and dry weather makes mountaineering that much more appealing for domestic and foreign tourists. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • A sign reads "Summit Adventure Trail" at the base of Alpspitz peak. The German Alps especially around Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Germany's highest mountains the Zugspitze are one of Germany's most popular destinations during the summer travel season. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, offers grand views. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • Tourists climb alongside a rocky wall up to the peak of the Alpspitz mountain. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • A tourist couple takes lunch at the peak of the Osterfeldkopf mountain on August 19, 2012 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • A climbing ladder leads to the peak of the Alpspitz mountain. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • Rocky and stony grounds at the base of the Alpspitz peak. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • A paraglider starts from the base of the Alpspitz peak. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • A paraglider sails in the sky above Alpspitze peak near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • Tourists enjoy the view from the Alpspix viewing platform at the base of Alpspitze peak near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The Alpspix architecture, two protruding semi-circular ramps in the shape of a X, gives unmatched views towards Zugspitze peak and the Hoellental gorge. At the end of the structure, visitors reach a glass wall, where they can look down some 1000 meters into the gorge. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Zugspitze in the background

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/johnwashere"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/johnwashere">johnwashere</a>:<br />Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Zugspitze in the background (Photo by John Santos)