The Climbing Club

1/3/2015 to 1/6/2015 - Austrian Alps - Various
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Author:  Jerry Drescher [ Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:32 am ]
Post subject:  1/3/2015 to 1/6/2015 - Austrian Alps - Various

After a week in Chamonix skiing glacier ice and then thigh-deep pow, I ditched the massive crowds of inebriated Brits and headed to Austria to meet up with international UWCC alumnus Guenther for some ski touring. Austria had been having a slow start to the winter, but some post-Christmas storms had filled things in again, so my timing was pretty good.

Chamonix - despite having never heard of it, this place had some pretty good skiing. It looks like you could climb here too, although I don't think anyone has ever tried.

Ski touring in the Salzburg area was excellent - we went to four different places, of which the farthest away was an hour. At every location, you could tell we were just scratching the surface of the skiing possibilities - excellent lines were visible everywhere, with any kind of skiing you wanted - mellow trees and meadow-skipping to crazy steep committing lines.

The first day Guenther, Martina, and I skied a moderate peak near Hintersee, a climb of about 1100m. The weather on the way up was nice sunny weather with excellent views of the many mountains in the area. Once on the top, it was evident that the weather was changing - winds were over 50kph, so we sought shelter near some scraggly trees to quickly rip skins and head down. When I first pointed my skis downhill, I started sliding back uphill instead, and had to sidestep to a steeper and less windy spot to start skiing.

Skinning through some cow pastures on the first day

Day 1 summit. I'm currently in negotiations to sell the rights of this picture to a company that publishes Christian self-help books.

The way down was a mix of different weather and crusts - we had sun, heavy snow, and finally rain, while skiing mostly breakable crust with some solid boiler-plate mixed in for variety.

The next day we did a moderate tour near Salzburg, because overnight there had been high winds and snow, with snow still falling. We skied up to the top of a small peak, a climb of about 800m. The skiing down was great, in deep, light powder. I forgot my camera on this day, so no pictures...

Monday Martina had to work, but Guenther and I headed south to just south of the central divide of the Alps. We skinned through a valley into a large cirque, and we were presented with endless ski possibilities in every direction. Due to avalanche concerns, we skied to sub-peaks, about 500m of skiing each time, and got excellent skiing on both - ranging from windboard to deep smokey powder.

Small group of buildings in the bottom of the cirque

Heading up the first line

On Tuesday, we got a break between storms, and the opportunity to ski something a bit bigger, so we ventured to the Eiskogel, a peak of about 2100m, with 1300m of climbing/skiing. The tour was great, nothing difficult on the climb but still big and prominent enough to get a good alpine feel. The summit had no wind (the first time in four days we were able to be out of the wind while ripping skins) so we took a leisurely break on the summit. Right off the summit we skied bottomless powder, which turned into some wind-scoured crust and windboard slightly lower. But after a brief period of crust, there was excellent snow all the way to the bottom. A few feet of mandatory air kept things interesting.

Eiskogel from the parking lot

Skinning up to the pass

Summit Jesus. He probably gets cold up here.

Austria doesn't suck.

Author:  Brendan Smith [ Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1/3/2015 to 1/6/2015 - Austrian Alps - Various


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