It’s middle of August 2017, what could we do with my friends… oh wait summer is almost over let’s experience 4 seasons at once. So with 2 of my friends we decided to go to the Alps in Austria. We wanted a high enough peak to experience a bit of snow and of course some challenge and adventure.
I had to drive from Heidelberg, Germany and my friends drove from Hungary. The rendezvous was supposed to be at our hotel (Alpenhaus Kesselfall) at 11 a.m. The parking is well organized (well we are in Austria after all) which is located next to the hotel and btw this is the closest possible place to leave the car.
Well the guys wouldn’t make 11 a.m., but within an hour we were reunited. The one who had driven the whole 700 km slept only 2 hours, because instead of going early in bed he took his wife out for a nice dinner LOL. Well we called this hike from the beginning “Don’t sleep climb” :). Be smart and don’t do it like this.
After parking the car we put the proper cloths and gears on and off we went. First we had to purchase a bus ticket which would bring us up to the Mooserboden restaurant which is located a bit over 2000m.
The weather was just amazing, super sunny so we applied 50+ sun cream protection on our uncovered skin. You must remember this otherwise you can end up with serious sunburn. Ears, lips but even the inside of your nasal hole can burn like a grill chicken so you better watch out.
Normally what majority of the people do (and we planned also) is that you climb from your starting point until the highest mountain hut, you sleep there and next early morning you attack the summit if the weather conditions justify that. However, we learnt that there was a storm coming which supposed to hit the area in the late afternoon but these forecasts are usually not super accurate due to the unpredictable environment. One thing was certain: next day was gonna be sh*t. This could mean snow or more likely stormy rain. We were very hesitant what to do. If we try to do it in one go (1600-1700m elevation, plus one of us slept 2hrs the night before) then we risk the exhaustion and a nasty storm, or likely the combination of those at high altitude… not a life insurance. Finally we said screw it we do it (not too wise, if you can be cautious)!! Meanwhile we started to shoot selfies as you can see:
As previously mentioned our mountain hut (or in German Berghütte) would have been the Heinrich Schwaiger Haus located at 2802m above the sea level. This hut would have been almost exactly halfway to the summit from the elevation point of view, but as I said due to the weather conditions we decided to do it in one go.
After reaching the HeinrichSchwaiger Haus we had a quick refreshment. We refilled the bottles with fresh cold water and tried to squeeze out more info about the weather forecast from the staff. For moderate surprise they couldn’t say anything for sure and also recommended to stay put rather then attacking the summit straight away. Well guess what we ignored 🙂
We left the crampons in the hut because we were told that there was barely any snow on the mountain. By the way you can see the clouds coming from the distance what didn’t cheer us up.
I’ll be honest, I started to freak out a little bit because we felt exhausted and no matter how hard we looked up we couldn’t see the Großes Wiesbachhorn. Also the the path marks faded soon. At the beginning everything was super clear and marked in a way that a hiker would easily find. From the mountain hut upwards the marking became less obvious, when we reached the point we totally lost the official trail (if there was any). I have been using my beloved Locus Pro application (see my blog post about Locus) and it showed at least that we should be close in distance. Find the “official path” here:
Despite any odds we finally made it to the top. It just felt amazing to be there on the “top of the world”. The weather still remained sunny and clear with some notable wind, but that’s what we consider an almost perfect weather on high altitude. After quick energy supplement we shot a couple of selfies just to prove that we had been there.
After the small celebration we headed down back to the mountain hut. The descent was not uneventful. Due to the significant glacier melting (global warming…not sure if Trump would agree :D) there was almost no ice or snow. But this meant during the day in the sunlight small-to-big peaces of rocks loosened. My right leg was almost hit by a 10-15 cm diameter rock rolling down with high speed. We realized we were in a kind of dangerous zone. No need to mentioned that we took a new path and we didn’t know again where we should have been. It became clear, the remaining ice above us was melting and peaces of rocks were hunting on us.
Couple of time we almost fell because the crampons were left in the mountain hut and on this path it would have been useful to walk with them. Melting ice with rocks frozen inside is super unpredictable. Once it’s stable and you have grip, a second later you are already on your back. All in all we arrived back to 2800m in one piece and thanks to the strong beer culture we instantly got our Weizenbier (wheat beer). The weather remained sunny and accompanied with our pint we just enjoyed the stunning view from the sunbeds.
The night was super pleasant. The facility was just absolutely exceeding the expectations. Super clean, new(ish), roomy and most certainly way cozier then the one on Fuji. We had to buy 2 coins to use the hot shower. The first you typically use to get wet and the second to to remove your shower gel.
After the hot shower and the nice dinner we did not need any lullaby to fall asleep :-). The whole night and next day was raining. After all it was a lucky outcome for us, but I’m still not saying it was wise to do it in one go.