“A classic high horseshoe route of 100km, 8,000 meters ascent , 8 huts” – The Stubai High Path is supposedly one of the most beautiful altitude hiking trails of the Austrian Alps.
Since my inadvertent trip into Austria last month I’ve been thinking about a proper Austrian hut to hut tour. The Stubai Rucksack Route [Höhenweg] seemed the perfect one. The guide is purchased and maps are borrowed, Austrian Alpine club rejoined, two friends are press ganged into service and flights booked. That is where the problems started. Singapore Airlines fly to Munich from Manchester [don’t know why] and their flight times were more convenient than the rest. Their web site however seemed difficult to navigate, kept refusing my card, and when eventually I’d had finished found that I had double booked. The Internet nightmare. The lovely man in customers’ corner however took pity on my geriatric incompetence and cancelled one of the bookings, saving me a tidy sum – phew. The return flight booking on Easy Jet seemed like a breeze after that.
Next were the 8 hut bookings, now possible on line, and all went well apart from the central Sulzenau Hut who were hosting an annual club meet of one of the major Alpine Clubs over the weekend and were taking no bookings! Do we just turn up and hopefully get a mattress late in the evening. not much fun. So instead I devise a different start to get us to that hut on the Thursday when they had space. Emails to all the others expressing my apologies and everything seems OK.
Train ticket booking over the internet also seemed difficult but eventually I’ve printed out a piece of paper which might get us from Munich Airport to Innsbruck where hopefully another piece of paper may get us into an hotel for the night. Travel has changed in the last decade with the help of the internet, a lot of the uncertainty and, dare I say it, adventure has been reduced. We will still have some adventurous moments no doubt.
So I seem to have lots of paper work to go with the maps and the by now butchered guide book. Euros, passport, insurances and jottings litter the dining room table. Meanwhile in the spare bedroom a mountain of clothing and equipment is erupting.
The training side for this trip hasn’t been smooth sailing either. I fished out my sturdy mountain boots and did a quick circuit of the Chipping Fells only to come back with two heel blisters! Examining the boots showed me how rough and worn were the inside of the heels. Still cursing my stupidity. So since then I’ve not done much. I have however been out and bought a new pair of lighter weight boots which I’m gingerly wearing round the house and to the shops – great preparation for a mountain tour! These are cheap [£40] HiTech Eurotreks and it will be interesting to see how they survive. On the same note my very lightweight waterproof has durability issues and I wouldn’t use it for this high level trip, don’t really want to carry my heavier winter jacket either. Wandering around the store I was bedazzled by technical and expensive garments and unable to do any background research I became indecisive. But at the checkout there was a pile of ‘mac in a pac’ waterproofs by Peter Storm. Lightweight and basic I’m prepared to give one a try for £20.
I will report back on these cheap purchases although I’m hoping the weather will be sunny and dry! So as my ‘learn German in an hour’ disc says – Zeit, um das Flugzeug zu fangen.