Last night I slept in a small, unmanned refuge high up in the Venedigergruppe of the Gone Tauern, the highest mountain range in Austria. After a night warmed (somewhat) by the wood in the fireplace, this morning brought me to the biggest hurdle on my trek northward.
Inside the Kleine Philipp Reuter Hütte (2677m)
The main spine of the Alps has a rather complex shape here, with several ridges intersecting at the massif of the Grossvenediger. The challenge for today was to cross the highest of these ridges; the one separating East Tyrol from Italy. The only possible route is via the high and snowy Umbaltörl (2928m), not far above last night’s tiny refuge.
This morning’s view onto the glacier “across the road”
Luckily, the snowfields were already tracked (apparently someone went two days before) and despite the snowy weather with low hanging clouds, the high col was not hard to find, even if the going through deep and heavy snow was strenuous.
The top of this leg of the trek
So that’s done – a great sense of relief, because I know that the highest col which I have to cross on my way north is behind me.
Descent into the Ahrntal
Tonight I’m back on Italian turf, in South Tyrol. The Ahrntal is a small valley which drains southward to the Mediterranean. Tomorrow’s crossing of the watershed back to the Danube’s drainage basin, the actual main Alpine chain, should not be of major concern compared to what now lies behind me. And to make things perfect, while now the rain is pouring outside, from tomorrow on the weather is bound to improve, at least for a few days.
July 2014, so far… Can only get better! (Rötsee, 2450m)
With the roads clear, sunshine ahead, and dry feet, this traveller wishes everyone a great summer!