Fourteen days; two weeks! I’ve never yet been on a trek for this long. Looking back, despite the obstacles, it’s been quite okay: no injuries, my gear is holding up, my fitness is increasing, and even the two heel blisters (egg-size blister and two-euro-coin blister) are healing well. I don’t have a schedule, but am doing well time-wise. I’ve met nice people and had good times. And relaxing evenings with time for reading.
Fresh powder above 2200m
Today’s success can’t be measured in terms of kilometres, but in terms of alpinistic challenges overcome. Last night a cold front came through, and this morning the the temperature was a mere 3°C. A drop of more than 12 degrees overnight! Not far above the refuge fresh snow had fallen. Still, the mountain range of the Villgratner Berge was to be crossed today. A physical challenge, but not a dangerous one.
Just how fragile “summer” in the Alps is: the return of winter overnight
As dramatic as the new conditions may appear with all the fresh snow (about 5 cm, but much more in snow drifts), I really prefer this over what I experienced in Slovenia. The soft, fresh snow makes for solid footholds, and the trail or its markings were mostly easy enough to find, even under the blanket of white. Today brought none of the slipping and sliding I’ve experienced in the past weeks. And unlike the old snow still covering so many trails in the mountains to the south, two days of warmth and sun should melt all this fresh powder away.
At today’s col: Ochsenlenke, 2744m
I crossed the mountains via a high col called Ochsenlenke, above a frozen lake. The descent on the northwest side was steep and snowy, but it never felt risky. In the afternoon I descended into the valley of Defereggen, from where I’m sending this post off now (from a café, because it turns out wireless internet is not yet very widespread in these small Austrian valleys).
Descent from the Ochsenlenke
Today I’ll still be hiking up a bit into the mountains to the North if Defereggen to spend the night, either in a refuge or in the tent (will decide soon). I might be off the radar for the next few days as I cross over the main spine of the Alps, via the high cols between the Hohe Tauern and the Zillertal Alps. But I will be back with more news when I reach the other side. The weather sounds promising for the onward journey.
Ah, zero beautifool Älps… Wiz ze börds! (an inside joke, sorry)
Thanks everyone for your support and greets!