Apr 11 11
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This year we decided to go to the Silvretta area of Austria, which borders Switzerland. A group of eight of us met up in Galtur in the Tirol : Anna and me, Chris, Steve, Brian, Jo, Chris and his son Dan. A few of us, myself included tried new gear this year; “light is right” was the motto and I was very impressed with my new skis and dynafit TLT bindings. Unfortunately my new boots, despite the hours of fitting, were another story and I ended up hiring boots (which didn’t really fit) and getting blisters and swollen feet. Oh well, I’ll get it right for next year……

Anyway on with the tour:
The Silvretta region lies south west of Innsbruck and there is no set route to follow. The idea is to tour the area and take in some peaks. We chose to start in Ischgl and travel first to the Heidleberger Hutte, an easy ski down from the lift system…. from here we climbed Piz Mottana the following day.

Leaving the Heidelburger Hutte for Piz Mottana

From the Heidelberger Hutte we traversed to the Breit Krone and down to the Jamtal Hutte, a modern, large hut with a bar at the door, showers, a climbing wall and all modern amenities………….. who said we were roughing it???
We had two nights at this hut and spent the follwing day on an ascent of the Gemspitz (3107m), followed by an early night and an early start to get across to the Wiesbadener Hutte……..

On the summit ridge of the RauherKopf (3100m)

This was a very friendly hut with two eastern european girls constantly trying to sell beer to all newcomers….. watch out for them at Hunters in Cockermouth this summer!!!

With news that the Saarbrucker Hutte was closed we opted to stay an extra night at the hut, so took in the Rauherkopf and Oschenkopf……..

Climb up the Oschentaler Glacier

Typical ski touring.......... all hard work!!

Steve and Brian nearing the col

Still on the up!

Scramble to the top of the Oschenkopf

At last...... coming down; Anna makes some shapes

On the top

Our intended journey to the Silvretta hut via an ascent of the Piz Buin neccessitated an early start, but despite this we couldn’t beat the weather and after only an hour, the valley had been engulfed with cloud. With a tricky glacier ascent ahead and a descent of unfamiliar ground to the next hut, we turned tail and retreated back to the Wiesbadener Hut where a day of gin rummy followed. It’s easy to get very lost very quickly on skis….. and the hut was very comfortable.

Anna on the way back to the Wiesbadener in poor viz

The follwing day was a lot better though, but fate conspired against us…….. a slightly later start and Chris’ binding breaking and quite a wind higher up led us to bypass the Piz Buin and leave it for another day. It was still a fantastic day though and a great ski down to the Silvretta Hut; beautifully positioned above Klosters but small and traditional with great cooking. Easily the best hut and worth another visit.

On the ascent to the Silvretta pass

Nearing the col

On the Silvretta Pass......

All that was left was a steep ascent to a col the following morning and a long descent back to Galtur on fast disappearing snow. It just lasted to the resort but involved a lot of poling on flatish terrain. All in all though a great area to tour with some very accessible peaks, fantastic huts and great company!

Nearly forgot... a cake piccy...... (and there were lots eaten!!)

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