Monday 18 June 2012

A short walk in the Stubai: day 3: LisenserFernerKogel

[Originally: And, yes, the original does end abruptly. I must finish this one day...]

A short walk in the Stubai: day 1: arrival
A short walk in the Stubai: day 2: Aperer Turm

Today's adventure is available as a GPS track.

DSC_0825-stream-below-fsh-and-alpeiner-alm-from-path-to-rinnenseeThis was a half day together; we were to climb to the Rinnensee, and perhaps the Rinnenspitze; and (I secretly hoped) I might get M over the RinnenNieder. So, we started just after breakfast. Breakfast starts at 6:30 (except perhaps at the weekends or by special request) which is one way you can tell these are really walkers huts not climbers ones; by 6:30 it has been light for several hours; the real climbers get up at 4 am at this time of year. Having thought b'fast started at 6 we set the alarm for then, so have at least got time to get the sacs downstairs, etc. Over b'fast M realised she needed a restish day, so restricted her ambitions to the See.

DSC_0826-fsh-from-rinnensee-pathThe path to the See and Spitze diverges from the Starkenburger hutte path soon above the FSH, just at the stream / waterfall, in an uncharacteristically poorly marked way. My main pic shows a view down from the path to the deep gorge cut by the main stream, and to the half-way-alm (really, the 3/4 way Alm), the Alpeiner Alm, with its Resto that I've never visited. And the little pic is a view back to the FSH and upvalley. As you see, it was yet another hard blue sky day.

DSC_0833-view-up-alpeiner-ferner-from-hp-bench-2At a semi-plateau at ~2500 m (ie, ~350 m up, ie about an hour in) there is a bench and picnic table in memory of "Harry Parkes Esq", an Englishman who loved to walk and climb in the beautiful Austrian Tirol. And indeed this spot does have a lovely view; and a picnic table is very English.

DSC_0840-rinnensee-reflJust a little higher (M on the path up, Rinnenspitze on the skyline) up we come to the RinnenSee itself, nearly all frozen at this time of year. It is obligatory to photograph the opposite mountains reflected in the See, so here is my take. Other people have much more patience and wait for a totally windless day when the lake is ice-free and get nicer pix. Behind is the Sommerwand then the skyline may be the Nördliche Kräulspitze (3292 m); see here. But I've never been that way, alas.

DSC_0853-w-contre-soleilAt this point the third sunny day in a row is beginning to tell on me - in fact yesterday, at the Aperer Turm, I was just a touch blase about the sun - so today I'm all cammed up and have put a lightweight tee-shift under my hat to shade me from the Heat of the Noonday Sun. Why don't they make hats that shade you properly? I bet the French Foreign Legion had them.

The book Trekking in the Stubai Alps has a reasonable section on this route - see google books. The map on p 113 is useful, as is the pic on p 114 - although be aware that the very top of the route is misleadingly drawn in: you go up to the col, and then the ridge on the skyline, to the L of the peak; not straight up the face. Or at least, I did. Which is what, to me, their description says. That book, also, talks of Bergschrund and Crevasses, none of which were in evidence in this snowy season.

Route markers: if you did the Aperer Turm, or one of the other semi-tourist routes, you'll have been amused or possibly exasperated by the number of route markers paint-splashed onto the rocks (unless, of course, you did the route in cloud or mist or when half the markers are covered in snow; then you'll have realised why there are so many and been grateful for them). Don't expect to have your hand held for you when you get higher up. Once over the RinnenNieder you can expect no route marking at all, which is as it should be. Although I have a clear, but possibly false, memory that the base of the PlattigeWand ramp was marked in 2001.

DSC_0843-lfk-rgs-and-ls-from-rnDSC_0844-lkf-and-rgsAt the RinnenNieder, you are presented with a wide and glorious view of the LisenserFerner, with the LFK on the skyline; and if you swivel your head, a view down the glacier north to Praxmar. Very likely you will, like me, find a set of footsteps to follow in the snow. And quite possibly, like me, you'll discover that you're actually following a Chamois not a person after a while. Well, I reasoned, they probably know better than people where the pitfalls are.

Below the LFK you can see, foreshortened, the RotGratFerner. It looks fairly gently sloping from here... it doesn't look nearly so shallow when you get to it.

So, you trudge (or skip lightly, according to mood and snow conditions) over and then up the LisenserFerner (pausing to admire the view back to the RinnenSpitze and col), and the PlattigeWand looms over you, looking very wall-like. But you continue up the glacier, and eventually the obvious weakness - a ramp rising back- becomes obvious, and you follow it up. In 2001 it was snowless. At the top there is some lovely rock that would surely be climable was it less remote; and you may look forward to your way ahead. The snow from here to the col is moderately steep and in one place has a moderately interesting run-out.


Sunday 17 June 2012

A short walk in the Stubai: day 2: Aperer Turm


Day 1: arrival

Day 3: LisenserFernerKogel

Todays activity is available as a GPS track if you want to play along. I also found someone's map, which may help.

It is a relaxed morning: breakfast at 6:30, off about 7:30 up the valley, put in the right way by the sign at the hut:


The FSH (like many huts in the Stubai) is at the head of a hanging valley and there is a pleasant meadow behind it; ending in a step which takes you up 50 m to a further plain; Here is looking back to the hut from the top of the step (and another, taken as we were going back including the top-of-step cairn). Somewhere around here I saw a marmot or two.

The Old Route used to go along the beautiful sharp crest of the moraine, which you can see in my pic, and more clearly in the close up (also in this view up the moraine; the Turm is off to the right and the ApleinerFerner stretches off ahead). Perhaps it has now fallen in, but anyway the route markers now direct you more in the valley bottom and climb up besides the waterfall from the glacier before pushing you up to the top of the moraine near the offshoot to the Aperer Freiger; from the top there is a sign telling you not to take the moraine path on the way down.

Until this point we haven't decided where to go. I rather fancy the Wildgratscharta, which is a steepish col on the glacier allowing you to look over the Schrankogl (which I once, rahter unwisely, tried to climb; but wisely I backed off). M isn't keen on the glacier, though it looks gorgeous to me, so instead we decide on the Aperer Turm, which is one of the two "tourist peaks" from the FSH. This one is just under 3000 m; the other, the RinnenSpitze, is just over.

DSC_0778-back-to-shoulderThen you go over the shoulder (quick shot of the path, lower down, where it is just rocky; there is a bonus free Ptarmigan in there if you look closely) that descends from the Vordere and Wilder Turm - the inlined pic is from the Aperer Turm looking back to the shoulder, the black ridge descends from the Vordere Turm, the "icefall" in the background is the AlpeinerFerner, and you can see my tracks in the snow. Miriam stopped at the rocks on the shoulder, and there is a good reason for this: the route is actually a bit cruel, in my opinion, because once you've slogged up to the shoulder (2892 m), confident (from your casual reading of the map) that you're nearly there, you then discover you have to descend 100 m to the lake - shown frozen in the pic - before going up another 200 m to the actual Aperer Turm, 2984 m. While I was on top, I saw two other bods walk up as far as M but come no further; later, she told me they said "it can't be up there!" when she told them they still had 200 m to go. Some route guidance: a view from the shoulder around the lake and up to the ridge on top of the Turm, with the path marked. You'll notice that it is all snow; it won't look like this when you get there.

I should point out that it is all much much snowier in this pic than usual, because we're early in the season and its a snowy season. Here is an annotated view from 2009, seen from the Vordere Sommerwand across the valley (and I'm not totally confident about the Schrandele in that; its remarkably hard to correctly identify mountains). The view form the valley is annotated here - the Turm is actually the first peak on the skyline, though that isn't obvious when you're walking up.

Just to show quite how snowy it was, here is M sunk waist deep just before we get back to the moraine path on the way down; the mass hulking above is the ridge from the Vordere Turm; the snow patches top right are the shoulder leading up to the lake.

DSC_0788-aperer-turm-gipfelkreuzeDSC_0779-downvalley-from-aperer-turmThe Austrians being Austrians, there is a summit cross or GipfelKreuze on the Turm (though not on the Vordere Turm, cos that isn't for tourists) and a GipfelBuche for me to write my name in. As you can see, I was the second of the day, and indeed of the season - I told you we were early. Other people write inspiring things like Life is a mountain not a beach.

Views from the top are quite decent - here is looking back up the ridge of which the Aperer Turm is the lowest summit; and the other in-lined pic is the view down-valley. This shows you the fairly pronounced step between the ridge and the Turm which you have to negotiate; there are some not-really-needed cables to help you.

And then, back to the hut, in time for afternoon bier (M and Me) and evening meal.


Aperer Turm, 2986 m (Bergtour) - in foreign.
Another one, but with a useful map

Saturday 16 June 2012

A short walk in the Stubai: day 1: arrival


Day 2: Aperer Turm

With the children cared for, we went for a walk in the Stubai. We've been before in 2009 and 10 with the children, and I went in 2001 alone, but this was our first time with Just Us Two. To simplify our lives we flew from Gatwick to Innsbruck, quick (~20 mins) bus in to the Hauptbanhof, time for a coffee and food in the backerei Ruetz at the station, then a bus up the Stubai valley (~1:10) to Milders; its just past 4 pm. At this point you're at the entrance to the OberBergTal, the yellow signpost says "Frans Senn Hutte 4 h" and the sane thing to do is take a taxi up the Tal to the OberIss Alm, which is the end of the road, the bottom of the cargo cableway, and the start of the path up to the FSH. That way you'll be at the hut well before dinner stops at 7 pm. But, it was a nice day, we felt fresh, and for some mystical reason I felt sure it wasn't really 2 1/2 hours from Milders to OberIss. I was wrong, it was easily that.

Fortunately it was all lovely. We met Jesus by the roadside and a cow and some bees. Notice the traditional hayrick in that picture - around here on the steep slopes the hay is sometimes still cut by scythe, and the carefully made hayrick sticks are carefully stored. Though possibly not used as much as they once were.

By the time we got to Stockler Alm we were a bit tired but suitably refreshed we continued on up to OberIss Alm (1745 m), and then took the familiar path up to the FSH (2147 m). It is only about 400 m up, 1 1/2 book time, and we did it in 2 h, since we weren't really hurrying.

DSC_0745-last-stage-of-path-up-to-fshThis shows the last stage of the path; if you look closely in right edge of the alm (just left and just above center) you'll see the "half way hut" of the Alpeiner alm, which I've never stopped at. The tiny triangle (just above center) is the now-distant OberBergTal. We got there at 9pm; it was a bit too late for dinner (they would have given us soup had we wanted) but still time for tea and coffee.

Being luxurious, we've splashed out on a room-for-two instead of the standard matratzenlager, but actually it doesn't cost all that much more.

Tomorrow: your guide to the FSH, and a trip to the Aperer Turm.

A note on path timings

You'll see lots of little yellow signs pointing the way, and sometimes telling you how long it might take. You can interpret the times, roughly, as how long it would take a fit, lightly burdened person to make the route, without stopping at all. This certainly isn't a description of us, and is unlikely to be you. Happily, you'll get an early chance to calibrate yourself against the "book times" when you start up from the valley to the hut.