After first ski touring four years ago in Scotland I decided that I wanted to go to the alps. This year it finally happened thanks to now having a friend who lives in Münich.
The week could not really have been any better, as there was plenty of fresh snow in the weeks running up to my arrival and then an excellent stable, sunny and cold forecast for the week of my trip. Combined with this the air remained extremely clear so we had brilliant views into the distance in every direction.
On the first day we headed to Hochfügen so that I could remind myself how to ski and it turned out to be a great day with quiet pistes, excellent snow and plenty of sun. We did get a bit carried away and managed to ski 37km downhill with 800m of descent.
The next day we headed over to Küthai for two days of day touring as a more gentle introduction before we headed up into the mountains.
Monday was our only day of bad weather, but as the forecast improved we decided to head out for a short tour. Due to the avalanche forecast our options were limited, but we managed to find something which was safe, short, low and easy.
We elected to climb Schafzöllen and on the ascent it looked like it was going to be a much better day than forecast. After surprisingly little faff we got the summit, but unfortunately the cloud had come in. This combined with the challenging snow made my first off piste descent in years seem harder than I would have liked, and left me feeling fairly nervous for the rest of the trip.
The next day was the start of the weather improvement as the cloud base was much higher, and as the day progressed the cloud broke up and lifted. In the morning it was exceeding cold as it was -10 degrees in the valleys.
The start of the tour involved a slog up through the woods, which after the previous days descent was making me a bit nervous. But we soon emerged into a stunning valley with stunning views, plenty of snow and an excellent skin track which made me forget about my nerves.
After making fairly good time to the summit we enjoyed an amazing descent with brilliant powder. The top section was fairly skied out, but there was some fresh snow between the tracks. The skiing highlight of the trip was a short steeper section of descent lower down which involved skiing down calf deep powder.
We were soon back at the woods, and with the extra traffic from the morning combined with the sun it was actually great fun and all to soon we were back at the car.
We had two nights booked at the Heidelberger Hütte but didn’t want to approach it by skinning all the way up a pisted track from the valley. As there is a ski resort above the hut with excellent off-piste we decided to buy a lift pass and enjoy some lift served backcountry skiing.
The snow was fairly challenging to ski on due to the mix of a frozen top layer, with powder underneath but we enjoyed 3000m of lift serverd off piste descent. From the top lift station it was possible to ski downhill all the way to the hut.
We then were able to enjoy an afternoon at the hut in the sun with lunch, coffee and beer.
Lareinfernerspitze / Spi di Ursanna
Given the stable avalanche forecast and excellent weather we were not content with just one tour the next day, but elected to do two.
The first was the mountain above the hut, the Lareinfernerspitze. We made good time up the mountain due to the excellent conditions underfoot, and enjoyed some fantastic views. However we elected not to climb to the summit due to not having crampons or ice axes with us and the conditions on the last 50m not being ideal.
The descent was enjoyable to start with due to good snow and excellent views. We then descended into a period with a really hard crust which made skiing very difficult, before getting low enough that the crust had melted which made us able to enjoy some excellent spring snow for the final part of the descent.
The skin up to the Spi di Ursanna was amazing due to yet more excellent views, and a good skin track. Unfortunately as we got higher the skin track deteriorated and turned out to be very icy which made it a bit more exciting, kick turns on ice certainly take some concentration! Once we got to the col it soon became apparent that we couldn’t get to the start of the planned descent without skiing down a cornice, so we had to retrace our steps down the ice.
Thankfully this was easier in descent, and we soon got back to the excellent snow where we were able to enjoy an excellent descent back down the the hut.
Breite Krone / Jamtal
Unfortunately our time in the hut had to come to an end. We decided to leave by climbing the Breite Krone on the way over to the Jamtal valley so that we could have a bit more of a journey out.
This time we successfully made it up to the summit as it was less steep, which meant we were happy without crampons. I was very glad we made this effort as the panorama from the summit was exceptional as the air was so clear.
After a short descent with difficult snow we were soon at the Jamtalhütte, which provided a welcome excuse to have a sugary drink before the long gentle descent down a pisted track to Galtür.
After four days of ski touring on quiet or relatively quiet peaks we had become used to the solitude, however we were aware that this was not going to the case on our last day as we headed to the most popular tour in Tyrol.
It was a fairly hard tour with over 1200m of ascent, however it was technically very easy. As the day was forecast to be fairly warm, we elected to get up early in the morning, however this had the side effect of making it very icy so we elected to ski mostly up the toboggan track rather than taking the more direct alternative.
After a week of crystal clear skies it was starting to get hazy as the temperature increased, but we still enjoyed a fantastic summit view. After a quick descent we were back down at the valley, with very tired legs having skied for 7 days in a row and enjoyed some cake in the sun before heading back to Münich.