Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Alps '06. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alps '06. Show all posts

Friday, 24 November 2017

Friday 7 July 2006 – Going Home


After a slightly rainy night, it was cloudy and cooler today - more like 17ºC than the usual 25ºC. The three of us caught the 8.35 train to Jenbach, where I left Mark and Julianna to head for their next destination - sunny Vienna, whilst I returned efficiently to reach home in Manchester by 17.45, via Innsbruck and Frankfurt.

I'd enjoyed Mark and Julie's company, and a very pleasant week in the Alps with them. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.


Today’s first picture was taken in Mayrhofen, the next two in Innsbruck, with a map of the week’s venues being shown below.


Revisiting this week has resulted in a 40 page photo book that I hope Mark and Julianna will enjoy when it reaches them, by way of thanks for having us to stay in Calgary in September.

The next project is a photobook for Mark’s mum and dad. That won’t attract historic blog postings like these as their 2014 trip from Shap to Richmond is already recorded .

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thursday 6 July 2006 – A Sunny Day Out


Another lovely sunny day for a final walk with Mark and Julie. We met Sue and David at camp around 9.30, then headed to Ramsau along paths 11 then 51, the latter involving a 200 metre ascent. That took us to 11 o'clock. All instead of a 7 minute bus ride, and it wasn't a particularly scenic route anyway.


Once at Ramsau, for €6.50 we enjoyed a lovely chairlift ascent - 500 metres up to Sonnalm (1360 metres), where we enjoyed coffees, etc and Mark and Julie tucked in to another apfelstrudel - they have come to like these.


Then we strolled up quite a way, through woods and meadows, up to around 1900 metres, for lunch just beyond Schlatterhuttenaste, where a new waterwheel seemed to be supplementing the power.


It was easy navigation - route 50 all the way to Mayrhofen.

There were nutcrackers in the woods, and a pair of ring ouzels were foraging for worms in a field as we passed. More goats, lizards, etc.

The cloud arrived a bit earlier today and we felt a few drops of rain early on the descent. These soon eased and no waterproofs were required as we descended on a lazily zigzagging path through beautiful woods towards Brandberg. Instead of going there, from where a postbus could have returned us to base, we continued along path 50 to reach Mayrhofen at 4.50. Somehow we managed to get separated, all but me and Mark having stopped for ice creams. Perhaps Sue wanted to escape from people who disagree with her views.

It was overcast and hot, but there was no deluge like yesterday's. We were thankful not to get the flash flooding that was inflicting places near home in Manchester.


We reconvened later for a meal at the Edelweiss restaurant, owned by one of the wealthy families of Mayrhofen (not the Krölls, who also own quite a bit!). It was a good meal, and we all enjoyed ice cream treats as well. Yodelling muzak for elderly coach parties was a little intrusive in the background, but we put up with it.

We had walked about 14 km, with 700 metres ascent, in about 5.3 hours plus stops.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Wednesday 5 July 2006 – A Slow Descent


After a starlit night that I spent in my Nallo 2 tent with the door wide open, our great position saw the sun on us at 6.45, whereas on our pitch in Mayrhofen it's 8.30. By 7.15 the thermometer had rocketed from 9º to 23ºC. It was a lovely clear day and we enjoyed our lofty position whilst breakfasting and packing up in a very leisurely fashion.


A 9.30 start had us ambling slowly along path 536, the Berliner Hohenweg. The path was excellently marked, but extremely rough, with long bouldery sections spliced with narrow vertiginous paths creeping through and around the crags that flank this Hauptkamm range of mountains.


The difficulties were minor if we took our time, as M and J's town shoes are not really the best equipment.


A steep drop led through the final barrier of crags to the farm buildings at Kesselalm, but not before a steep snow slope had to be negotiated. An ice axe, buried deep in my rucksack, but taken as a precaution, came in handy.


Getting down to the snow was a bit tricky, but once there I renewed the path across the snow and then returned three times for the rucksacks. Then M and J went around the top of the bergschrund on a route I'd already reccied, and slithered down a bit of snow in which I'd made some steps. All good fun!


By the time we got to the other side of the shepherds' hut it was 12.30 - time for a well earned lunch. We'd covered about two miles all morning, in excellent weather. It's slow going, especially for Julie. [But now, after another eleven years of 'adventures with Mark', she would float along such a route in no time at all.]


After 45 minutes we escaped from some annoying flies by descending some 800 metres to reach the bus stop at Tulfer-Alp at 3.30. The bus, when it arrived (late) 40 minutes later was full, and only I got a seat.

On the descent we had seen a herd of goats scrabbling on high rocks and sheltering from the sun under an overhang. The wild flowers were tremendous - numerous different varieties adorned our scenic route that led through open meadows then down through fragrant pine woods. A superb if short overnight trip.

By the time we got back to Mayrhofen the weather was fresher, with quite a lot of cloud, and whilst shopping the heavens opened. So we adjourned to a bar next to Dave and Sue's pension and enjoyed a beer. They arrived within minutes (dry - they'd been on a bus) to join us, after which we dispersed for our separate meals (I had luxury mushroom soup with frankfurters, M and J had spag bol), showers, etc, before returning to rendezvous with D and S for another beer, after which David and I watched the rather dismal end to France 1; Portugal 0 in the World Cup, France being very poor despite winning.

Today we walked about 5 km with 250 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours, plus stops. It was very rough going.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Tuesday 4 July 2006 – High Camp Day


Another lovely day in the Zillertal Alps. We rendezvoused with Sue and Dave on the crowded 9.30 bus from the railway station up to Schlegeisspeicher. An interesting 1100 metre ascent, including a 15 minute wait at one tunnel entrance and 7 minutes at another.

We were soon heading up route 502 towards the Olperer Hut - a 600 metre climb taking from 10.45 to 12.45. The steep, zigzag path was well graded with a good number of people on it.


We took an easy pace but made reasonable time. M and J's backpacks were lighter than on the previous attempt as we only had one day's food, and many other items had been discarded - left in Sue and Dave's room in the pension earlier in the day.


We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on a high spot above the hut, before continuing on over fairly rough ground to Friesenberghaus at 2477 metres, after reaching a high point at around 2650 metres and descending steeply to the lake (in a rocky bowl, not suitable for camping) and fairly deserted hut.


Drinks and apfelstrudel were enjoyed here, on the Berliner Hohenweg route. [Sue and I walked that route in its entirety the following year.]


After the 40 minute break at the hut, Dave and Sue left us at 4.10 pm to descend by route 532 - 'a beautiful descent' they later reported, after getting down in plenty of time for the last bus at 17.55.

The three of us carried on for 50 minutes, admiring trumpet gentians along the way.


We crossed the ridge that goes up to Hoher Riffler, with fine views.


A small lake, Wesendkarsee, 2350 metres, was reached at 5 pm. The going had been rough but we were pleased to find some flattish spots for the tents. I had camped here before, on 9 August 1993. There is also a good flat spot, hidden from the path until further east, about 100 metres SE of the lake. [Now in 2017, these observations are sadly rather academic as wild camping is no longer permitted in Austria.]


The weather was lovely. We lingered outside for an al fresco meal until a few drops of rain drove M and J into their tent, but well after the sun had vanished over the peaks to the west. It was very quiet. The high cable car on Gefrorene Wand was now hidden, and whilst Sue and Dave's evening in Mayrhofen was blighted by disappointed German soccer fans (they lost to Italy in the World Cup semi-finals) until 3 am, we had a lovely calm, quiet, starry night. At 9ºC it was a bit cool for Julie, who needed clothes on, and their superbly positioned site turned out to be 'a bit lumpy'. Never mind!

During the evening two oldish men hobbled past on their way to Friesenberghaus. They were absolutely knackered. When we spoke to them in English they just waved us away. It's obviously a long day from Gams Hutte.

Today we walked about 8 km, with 850 metres ascent, in a little under 5 hours plus breaks.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Monday 3 July 2006 – A Bad Nav Day


It started fine. We were honest and paid for our bus fares into Innsbruck on a sunny morning, our day passes having expired minutes earlier. Julie failed to buy a dress, but the staff at Tourist Information were very helpful and we did get onto a correct train to Jenbach, for Mayrhofen. Unfortunately we soon thought it was the wrong train so we got off at Hall and returned to Innsbruck before getting another, 45 minutes later, train to Jenbach, passing 'Camping - Hell' en route. Had we been quicker, we would have recovered our schedule and immediately boarded the narrow gauge train to Mayrhofen.


Anyway, we managed that half an hour later, and lunched and shopped in Mayrhofen before setting up at the excellent campsite (but keep away from the overhead lights) a ten minute walk to the north of the town.

The afternoon was spent lazily, with Mark and Julianna enjoying the pool despite the low flying wasps that avoided my lounger in the shade.


Dave and Sue Emmett made an appearance in the evening. They are staying half board (B&B and evening meal) at a pension in Mayrhofen. We ate à la carte at the restaurant for which they had vouchers that got them a €6.50 discount on main courses that were about €10. [As I transcribe this eleven years later, those prices seem very cheap!]

Friday, 17 November 2017

Sunday 2 July 2006 – A Good Weather Day


The backpacking 'trial' having failed, we decided on a day walk and purchased Innsbruck Day Passes. Leaving camp at 9.30, LK, then O, then J buses took us to Igls, where annoyingly we got off at the wrong stop. I'll never make a proper mountain guide! A walk back to Igls got us to the cablecar station where we joined hordes in ascending up the Patscherkofel from 870 to 1960 metres - two hours from camp.

Then we wandered around the very poor alpine botanical gardens - not a patch on the ones I'd seen in the Pyrenees on my previous trip. At least they were free of charge - it would be an insult to make people pay for viewing this unkempt meadow/woodland.

So it was 11.45 by the time we joined the crowds on a sunny saunter along the Zirbenweg path - route 350 to Tuffeinalm via Boschenen.


There were summits to climb, but we eschewed these as M and J were tired after yesterday's exertions. It was a pleasant walk in the sun, along easy paths. However, an errant mountain biker did fall off the path ahead of us.


A generous lunch stop on a lofty perch, then it was on to Tulfeinalm for drinks. Here there was no signposted route down, so we retraced some way back along the panoramic path, descending steeply by route 45. It seems we either missed route 42, just beyond Tulfeinalm, or it wasn't indicated.


After meeting huge numbers of people on the high path, on our route down we encountered just one mountain biker. People must take the cablecar down. Not surprisingly, it was a long, hot dusty road. Eventually we reached Rinn, where we waited for over an hour for a postbus that refused to recognise our Innsbruck transport passes. Meanwhile we spent time with happy beers at a local pension. I called Sue - in the garden at home with a sick note for two weeks.


Once the 7 o'clock bus came we got back to camp quite quickly, by 8 o'clock, and cooked our separate meals in the warmth of the Austrian evening.

We saw a marmot today, but they are very elusive compared with their Pyrenean cousins.

We walked about 16 km in 5 hours, with ascent of 300 metres or so.

Here’s a map showing where the last two days were spent. Click to enlarge (and a magnifying glass may be handy!).


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Saturday 1 July 2006 – Dodgy Path Day, and Tick Trouble


A slow start. I lay in bed until 7.30 then brewed up and ate muesli bars before shaving and slowly decamping. Meanwhile, Mark and Julianna went in search of food for our backpacking trip, which promised to involve a big ascent in the heat of the day.

We eventually got going at 10.45, past Kranebitten station and up path 214. Julie struggled a little to keep up. Frequent rests were needed. Mark had a huge load for the two day backpack, even after leaving stuff at the campsite. We did however ascend at a reasonable pace and reached 1100 metres, from 650 metres, after about two hours. But the path, already a narrow, steep single track, now skirted crags, with big drops. I went ahead to suss out whether it was suitable. Mark had sturdy trainers and Julie had town shoes. It was unfair to expect them to walk on very narrow shale above steep drops, so we decided to return to camp, stopping for lunch on the steep hillside, and picking up a few ticks for our trouble.

So by mid afternoon we were back at base*, having walked about 4 km with 450 metres ascent, in rather less than four hours.

The rest of the day was spent in camp, and we even watched some of England's ignominious World Cup defeat to Portugal (0-0, 1-3 on penalties).

The path we failed on was marked 'Nur fur geubte', so M and J are not 'geubte'...


* This brought back vivid memories of an ill-fated attempt to continue an Alpine Pass backpack out of Kandersteg on 31 July 1982, when we were turned back by a snow storm and finished up re-pitching our tents in exactly the same place as they had earlier been dismantled, to puzzled looks from other campers as by then the weather was glorious.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Friday 30 June 2006 – A Fishy Interlude starting at Innsbruck


It's the summer of 2006, a busy time for me, with back to back trips around Europe in between a bit of consultancy. This little interlude slotted in between a trip to the Pyrenees with the Aberdeen Hillwalkers, and a camping trip in the Dolomites.

Now, in 2017, I’ve finally edited and indexed some of the pictures from this 'Fishy Interlude', and have typed out my diary and produced a Photobox album. This is the first of a week long series of postings by way of recording the trip for digital posterity.

Friday 30 June

I used Airmiles for the last time to get me from Manchester to Innsbruck, via Frankfurt. Leaving Manchester at 6.45, I arrived in Innsbruck on the "Austrian Arrow" Dash 8 plane in time to walk up to the campsite at Kranebitten and meet my companions for the week at 3 pm.

Mark Fish and his girlfriend Julianna were taking a short break from a tour of European cities. I shared a house with (amongst others) Mark's mum for a while in the 1970s before she emigrated to Canada, and I was pleased with her suggestion that I might accompany Mark and Julianna in the mountains for a few days.

My tent was soon up, and the three of us enjoyed a stroll into Innsbruck along path number 8. Camping gas was acquired and beers and a meal were sourced at Weinhaus Happ, where Sue and I had eaten the previous year. Service was slow, perhaps because Germany were engaged in a tense penalty shoot out in beating Argentina to reach the semi-finals of the football World Cup.

It was a lovely evening, with a fine crescent moon. An easy bus ride saw us back at camp for an early night and a long, deep sleep after a welcome shower.