Category Archives: Zillertal Rucksack Route.

Zillertal Rucksack Route. VIII.

Friesenberg Haus – Breitlahner and home.

This hut had closed early this year but we wanted to do more of the high level walking on our last day so we walked up to it and along the ZRR before coming down to the valley. It was a misty morning but promised better, the Russians disappeared early up towards the Furtshaglhaus and higher things. We trudged up through the woods into a vast hanging valley meeting some of the staff from the Friesenberg coming out for the last time. An excellent stone track zigzagged out of the valley up to the hut on a higher bluff. At almost 2500m this is the highest hut in the Zillertal. It has an interesting history – built originally in the 20’s as a private Jewish establishment. As the war approached the area was used to train elite German troupes  which put the hut warden in a difficult situation. But tolerance prevailed between mountaineers and there is a bronze plaque outside the hut celebrating against “intolerance and hate”. Today we sat on the steps for a short break as the shutters were closing for winter. We continued along the route in and out of clouds, it was arduous and we realised we couldn’t get as far as we had hoped. Fortunately there was a signed track leading down to Breitlahner – this we followed but it didn’t seem to be used much. Marmots were screaming at us in one area, we realised that we hadn’t seen much wild life on this trip – birds were particularly absent.  Down and down we went into boggy ground and then welcome dwarf pines. The day became hotter and on reaching the valley floor we were ready for a rest. Paths led alongside the gorge, the road had disappeared into tunnels, until we emerged at the Breitlahner which turned out to be an old traditional alpine hotel. A bus whizzed us through Ginzling into Mayrhofen, the scenery was spectacular all the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spot the marmot.

Spot the marmot.

 

Good to be back at the friendly Zillertal Gasthof, we enjoyed a celebratory meal featuring wild mushrooms at the excellent Tiroler Stuben – the rockman had a headache the next morning! The journey back to Janbech and Munich was easy. We found ourselves by chance in the wonderfully atmospheric  Augustiner Restaurant, the Oktoberfest is just getting underway.

The SBahn train to the airport was halted because of people on the line. We didn’t really know what was happening but decided on a panicky train back to Munichost  and then an expensive taxi ride had us at the airport with minutes to spare. An exciting end to our trip.

Quote of the day –   that was close”      at the airport.

 

 

Zillertal Rucksack Route. VII.

A trip up to Italy – PfitscherjochHaus.

The weather reverted to rain and low cloud so an easy walk up to Italy was the obvious choice for today.  We passed some fine waterfalls up the valley and before we knew it we were at the old border post. A little further the Italian hut appeared out of the mist. There was a warm welcome in the modern hut. We settled in for lunch – pasta and good coffee. A large group of cyclists arrived from somewhere to stay the night. The hut has a chequered history, it was blown up by the Italian army in 1966 due to border disputes, rebuilt in 1980 and has continued to provide mountain accommodation.

Compare with yesterday's view from the balcony.

Compare with yesterday’s view from the balcony.

Pfitsherjoch Haus 2277m

Pfitsherjoch Haus 2277m

More food - Italian this time.

More food – Italian this time.

We stole away and retraced our steps down the valley in the mist.

Back at Dominikushûtte supper was interesting – can’t remember the food. A man in soaking camouflage kit burst in from the dark carrying a baby kangaroo style, his wife followed. They turned out to be Russian and doing a similar trip to us! The baby must be hard as nails.  An unfortunate retarded chap [sorry for any unpolitical phrasing] was having supper with his carer and making grunting noises. I went to the loo downstairs and whilst there had the scary movie moment as a stumbling grunting ogre came towards me. Enough said.

Today’s quote – “mustn’t grumble”    determined to enjoy the rainy day.

Zillertal Rucksack Route. VI.

Neumarkte Ronde to the Olperer Hūtte.

The day dawned unexpectedly bright and sunny. We made a quick decision to do this high level circular walk after booking in at the Dominikus for a couple more nights. The breakfast was rather disappointing considering the accessibility, no fruit or eggs, so we were away early.  Back along the road to pick up the signed way, 535, a gradually ascending good path up the side valley, the unpronounceable  Unterschrammachbach.  Lots of people were descending from an overnight Saturday at the hut, suggesting a cramped and noisy night. Fast flowing streams were crossed on new bridges until we met up with the Berliner Höhenweg in a large mountain bowl under the Olperer 3220m. Four lads were heading up to an unseen pass leading to the Geraes Hütte.  Signposts put us on our more modest way switchbacking across the contours coinciding with The Peter Habeler Way [the famous alpine and Himalayan mountaineer haling from Mayrhofen] This route, established in 2006, was well paved with slabs of rock – how do they move them? Views down to the Schlegeis lake and up to the Hochfeiler became more impressive as we moved round. Eventually the Olperer Hütte came into sight on its perch looking most unimpressive from an architectural  point of view, ‘hen-house’ was the phrase we used. It was rebuilt in 2006 and was certainly impressive inside. We sat on the balcony with our teawasser [stingy Brits] enjoying the view down the valley. A group of pygmy goats entertained us below. The way down was heavily used and unpleasant until it entered the pine forest before reaching the road. People seemed to be ascending late in the day. We were back fairly early in the Dominikus enjoying a Radler [citrus shandy beer] and chatting to the family [see quote of the day]. the hut seemed to get busier as the evening went on. Dumplings and sauerkraut were on the menu!

Morning view from the balcony.

Morning view from the balcony.

Unterschrammachbache.

Unterschrammachbache.

The upper bowl.

The upper bowl.

Looking back down hanging valley.

Looking back down hanging valley.

Well paved Peter Habeler Way

Well paved Peter Habeler Way

Olperer Hutte coming up.

Olperer Hutte coming up.

Sandwich with a view.

Sandwich with a view.

You have to be there.

Dumpling – you have to be there.

Quote of the day – “the sun shines on the right shoes”  our hosts’  misinterpretation of righteous!

Zillertal Rucksack Route. V.

Furtschaglhaus – Schlegeis, Dominikushütte.

Woke to sleet and snow with nil visibility. So a leisurely breakfast and sitting around for a late start as fortunately we were heading down the valley and decided to take a half day. We phoned the Dominikushütte and booked a room, they sounded pleased to have us as the bad weather would put a dampener on the weekend. There was a trail through the snow going down steeply to the valley below, the rocks were slippy and we took our time. Very few people were coming up and our route of yesterday would be out of the question. We arrived in the valley next to the provisions lift from where a track ran to the lake/reservoir. By now it had stopped snowing but the clouds were down revealing only occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains. We dawdled along the lakeside track, walked through a mainly deserted carpark and arrived at the dam. This 70m wall was built in the 1960s and provides hydroelectric power as well as flood control for the Mayrhofen Valley. The original alpine hut was destroyed in the process and our present accommodation, Dominikushütte, was constructed higher above the water. We received a warm welcome from the family and dog, bowls of Knödel soup went down well as we dried out. Our room was airy and spacious, a change from the mountain huts. We are still at a height of 1800m and the afternoon was gloomy with no one else about, time for festering [an unusual verb describing our activity]     They had given the chef the night off as nobody else was expected but slowly more people started arriving and by evening it was quite busy.  By special request we had Tyrolean Grosti with a great celeriac remoulade for supper. A wicked schnapps finished off the meal.We had three days left and wanted to visit the last three high huts but the forecast was poor, We deliberated over various options but went to bed undecided, lets see what the morning is like.

Quote of the day – “this is better than sleet”  as the morning snow piled up.

Zillertal Rucksack Route. IV.

Berliner Hütte – Furtschaglhaus.

The Schonbichlerhorn.

The Schonbichlerhorn, today’s objective.

 

Today takes us over one of the highest ‘walking’ passes in Austria. The forecast is for rain later so we plan an early getaway. The breakfast in the Berliner is poor and expensive, they could do so much better – some fruit juice and maybe boiled eggs. The hardy young crowd who eat their own breakfast on the terrace are away early, we are happy with 7.15am. It was uphill all the way, at first through shrubs on zigzags and then at a rock wall we took a shelf up to the right into a rocky area. Here a ridge soared upwards towards a vertical rock face, surely we don’t go up there but yes a few hundred metres of scrambling led on. Poles were packed away for the hands on experience, there were cables but they weren’t needed as the rock was solid and full of jugs. From the col the summit cross of Schonbichler Horn, 3133m, was 5mins away. The rockman proudly bore the summit stamp on his forehead and we signed the book “post Brexit”. Fantastic views as you can imagine, a whole new world opened up to the NW, The Tuxertal Alps with the Olperer 3426m prominent. To our left were glacial systems coming off the Grosser Moeler, 3480m, and the  Hochfeiler, 3510m, the highest peak in the Zillertal. We sat and ate more of that stale bread and cheese whilst looking around. Cables led us down loose ground but there was no hard packed snow that had been so difficult last year, our micro spikes were never used. After an 8 hour day the Furtschaglhaus was a perfect traditional hut with super friendly guardians. An early supper and we were in bed way before the beer-swilling weekenders at the hut. We never meet any British walkers.

Looking back to the Berliner and yesterday's pass.

Looking back to the Berliner and yesterday’s pass.

Easy cables on the lower ramp.

Easy cables on the lower ramp.

It goes up there somewhere...

It goes up there somewhere…

 

 

Pausing for breath.

Pausing for breath.

Easy scrambling to the top.

Easy scrambling to the top.

The Grosser Moseler in the distance.

The Grosser Moseler in the distance.

Sliding down.

Sliding down the otherside.

Hochfeiler at 3509 the highest in the Zillertal.

Hochfeiler at 3509m the highest in the Zillertal.

The Furtschaglhaus.

The Furtschaglhaus.

Serious eating and drinking.

Serious eating and drinking.                                                                                                                                                    Quote of the day – “this must be where the cables start”  –  as we looked up at the precipitous face.

 

 

Zillertal Rucksack Route. III.

Greizer Hütte to Berliner Hütte.

From the balcony of the hut today’s route looked impressive – straight up the couloir on the opposite  wall to a pass at 2872m, Moerchen Scharte. Breakfast was fairly miserable – a tray with two pieces of dry bread, cheese and coffee, we had to buy more of the same for lunch.  Within less than a kilometre we lost about 350m dropping down to the valley to cross awkward rocks in the river bed before clambering up the otherside, these rivers must be dramatic in flood. A 6m metal ladder, straight from B & Q, was loosely attached to the buttress in front of us making a novel start to our climb. For a while wires protected us crossing steep rocky ground on the edge of the couloir but they were hardly needed. The path then came out onto a large grassy spur up which it zigzagged interminably. The morning was enlightened by two fit girls passing us at a trot, one carrying a dog, kangaroo like, in a front pouch. They soon disappeared from sight.

Uphill all morning.

Uphill all morning, spot the ladder.

When I'm cleaning windows.

When I’m cleaning windows.

Who needs the cables?

Who needs the cables?

Its a dog's life...

Its a dog’s life…

The pass is on the right - a long way to go.

The pass is on the right – a long way to go.

The grass ended at a minor col and here was a large boulder field stretching upwards, two people were struggling through it but whilst having lunch [that dry bread and cheese] we spotted a higher traversing path on the right avoiding the difficulties. Towards the top more chains were used on a rather loose buttress depositing us at the pass. A lone lady was sat there unconcerned, she followed us down later but then disappeared. The clouds were coming and going from the tops but we had a good open view of the glacial systems on the Schwarzenstein range.

It's so dry

It’s so dry.

Well above the boulder field.

Well above the boulder field.

Not as serious as it look!

Not as serious as it looks!

Back to yesterday's pass.

Back to yesterday’s pass.

The Berliner Hutte is down there somewhere.

The Berliner Hutte is down there somewhere.

Distant glaciers.

Distant glaciers.

The track wound endlessly down through fascinating rock formations. The granite contained tourmaline, quartz and agate crystals which I probably would have missed without the rockman. The agate was collected in this area in the last century.

Rock chaos.

Rock chaos below the pass.

Tourmaline crystals in the granite?

Tourmaline crystals in the granite?

The Berliner Hütte seemed miles away and we lost a lot of height getting to it. There was a well paved way,  previously for mining or hunting?  Our arrival coincided with the start of the rain. This hut is built on a grand style, all wooden paneling, creaking floors and chandeliers. It was started in 1879 and extended in 1911 to its present size. Photos early last century  show the glacier almost at the back door, the ice has now retreated hundreds of metres up the mountain. We had a great two bedded wooden room, the dinner was good but the whole place felt a little impersonal which is a shame for such an historic place.

Paved way down to the Berliner Hutte.

Paved way down to the Berliner Hütte.

Meant to say I somehow forgot my camera on this trip and all photos are from my phone. One disadvantage of the phone touch screen is I have to take off my gloves to operate it.

Today’s quote –  “I just have to be in the mountains”   the rockman expressing his joy of the day.

 

Zillertal Rucksack Route. II

Kasseler Hütte – Greizer Hütte.

We knew we were in the big mountains when only after 3 hours did we start climbing the 800m to today’s pass, [2701m]  Lapen Scharte The day had started bright and clear, perfect for the long traverse below the glacier of Grosser Loeffler. We hopped across glacial streams with the odd bridge of help. Soon after leaving the hut we passed through the incongruous door, an ‘art’ installation on the hillside which hopefully will eventually disintegrate. The Kasseler remained in view all morning across the valley. Towards the end of the traverse cables helped us across a cliff face. On a magnificent viewpoint down the Stilluptal valley we snacked and girded our loins for the difficult climb through the boulder field up to the pass. Great care was needed not to loose the trail and not to break a leg amongst the haphazard rocks. The final steep pull up was rewarded by views to the steep gully leading to Moerchen Scharte, tomorrow’s unlikely objective.  An Ibex sat and watched us from a perch above the path. I managed to gash my leg badly  on a granite boulder at the pass reminding me to be more careful, I’m not as agile as I used to be. The Matterhorn like Greizer Spitze loomed above. Thankfully the way down the otherside was much easier and we soon sipping Berghütte trinken on the sunny balcony of the Greizer Hütte. Supper with some Dutch lads was enjoyable but we were soon ready for bed, 9pm.  We were assigned a busy dormitory but thankfully nobody snored.

The long traverse towards the pass in early morning light.

The long traverse towards the pass in early morning light.

Glacial streams.

Glacial streams.

The infamous door.

The infamous door.

Slow progress.

Slow progress.

Looking across to the Kasseler Hutte.

Looking across to the Kasseler Hutte.

Up to the pass.

Up to the pass.

Onwards and upwards.

Onwards and upwards.

Spot the Ibex.

Spot the Ibex.

The commanding Greizer Spitze.

The commanding Greizer Spitze.

Down to the Greizer.

Down to the Greizer Hütte.

Greizer Hutte.

Greizer Hutte.

Tomorrow's gully looks daunting.

Tomorrow’s gully looks daunting.

Today’s quote – “it’s not nice gneiss”  as we crossed the difficult boulder field.