On this trek I’ve often thought “what would happen to me if I slipped or fell and got injured here?”. Well, assuming I was unable to call for help by phone, I would hope to be found sooner or later by another hiker. Also, I might be able to signal for help with a flashlight or a whistle. After (hopefully) being rescued, I would be treated in a hospital. My public health insurance would pay for the treatment. One of several insurances (travel insurance, alpine club) would probably pay for the rescue itself.
Ansbacher Hütte (2376m) and Hoher Riffler
These thoughts bring me back again and again to an integral part of my mission on this trek. Many people in the middle of Europe are unable to get medical treatment because of their legal and socio-economic status. If you lack the legal papers, even just a tooth infection or a relatively minor workplace injury can become life-threatening issues by being un-treated; let alone what can one do in the case of a serious accident, or when one gets pregnant? That is why I believe it is essential to support the work of the Medibüros in Germany (and similar institutions elsewhere if they exist). To me it is simply unacceptable that in Europe anyone should be at risk of death or unnecessary suffering because they have the wrong citizenship and/or to little money.
Just thinking occasionally of what could happen to me or you if circumstances were different – a thought that perhaps easier to think when one feels as vulnerable as alone in the mountains – can be a small and important act of solidarity. But it’s not enough; that’s why I’m financially supporting the work of the Medibüros at providing medical aid to people who need it. I hope others may too.
View from Samspitze to St. Anton and the Kaltenberg massif; Switzerland in the far distance
Today was a beautiful day of sunshine which put me in high spirits. I’d planned to end this day camping in one of the valleys above St. Anton; but that was cut short by the appearance of surprise thunderclouds in the late afternoon. So I sought shelter in Leutkircher Hütte, and will have to make up some of the distance tomorrow. In the end, the clouds remained harmless, only dropping a few drops of rain, and bringing no lightning; but with thunderstorms I always feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Hintersee lake and the Vorderseespitze (2889m)
Today’s hike nonetheless was a stunner; a near-perfect mountain trail: much variety, beautiful views in all directions, not too much up and down, and the option to climb some peaks on the way. The route from Ansbacher Hütte followed the main ridge of the Lechtaler Alpen, beginning with a morning stroll up to the top of Samspitze (2624m), from where I could see four countries: Austria all around, of course; some peaks of Germany to the north; Italy with the Ortler Alps to the south, and Switzerland in the far western distance. Lucky it was a very clear morning.
Stanskogel; my route went up the other, softer side
Then via the Hinterseejoch (2482m) to the Kaiserjochhaus, and further on west, where I took the option to climb Stanskogel (2757m). From this peak the view would probably have been even more spectacular, if the said clouds hadn’t been rolling in. But the threatening-looking clouds came, and so I went, quickly, to seek shelter in Leutkircher Hütte.
Are those thunderclouds?
I’m rather not taking chances…
I have to say I’ve fallen in love a bit with the Lechtal Alps. None of the mountain ranges I’ve come through so far have been as diverse and multifaceted as this one. The contrast of soft, grassy slopes with sharp rocky peaks and towers is thrilling for the eye. Many mountains seem to have two very different faces: a hard, rocky cliff side and a softer, climbable one. And there are many great trails here.
Have great day, and visit these mountains some day!
PS: While I’m on this trek, my partner Sarah has been going for some pretty badass mountaineering with the German Alpine Club. Yesterday she climbed the Signalkuppe (4554m). Congratulations!