After a few days of bad weather we were lucky that a very brief weather window coincided with the night we had booked at the Vernagthütte. As we only had a brief weather window we drove down in the car from Munich, which is just another reminder of how great a place this is to live.

Walk into the Vernagthütte

Last time we did a hut walk from Vent it was on the way into the Martin Busch Hütte for the Similaun and we got very, very wet! This time could not have been more different as we were treated to sun and blue skies on the walk in.

We had treated ourselves to the luxury of rucksack transport using the hut’s Materialseilbahn, so we only had a short walk up the valley with our full packs. This was very pleasant with wonderful views, waterfalls and friendly horses. After dumping our bags we made the ascent up to the hut, which felt very easy without the heavy packs. After an enjoyable walk we arrived at the hut in time for a few beers and a shower before dinner.

It was wonderful on the walk in to have great views back down the valley to Vent, and then up towards the Fluchtkogel, our target for the next day.

Waterfalls on the Mitterbach
Friendly horses at the Materialseilbahn Talstation
Looking back down towards Vent and the Großer Ramolkogel
Walking into the Vernagthütte with the Kesselwandspitze and Fluchtkogel in the background
Bridge on the walk into the Vernagthütte with the Kreuzspitze, Kreuzkogel and Sennkogel in the background

Sunrise from the Vernagthütte

Breakfast at the hut seemed to be earlier than necessary at 5am, but given the deteriorating weather the next day maybe it was a good thing that we were forced up earlier than felt necessary for the length of the day. This early start did mean that I had time for some sunrise photography, and it was a beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise from the Vernagthütte over the Talletspitze and Kreuzspitze
Sunrise from the Vernagthütte over the Hintere Guslarspitze


The walk up to the glacier from the hut was fairly easy, and we made good time to get to the glacier in under an hour. It was an enjoyable walk up the moraine with views of our peak, alpenglow on the Kesselwand and beautiful light on the surrounding hills. The walk up the moraine was a start reminder of glacial recession, as we appeared to be walking above an empty space which should be filled with ice.

The glacier was very straightforward, the lower section was dry, and as soon as the glacier steepened there was a good covering of very frozen snow. Once we got into the sun it was actually a really nice temperature for walking given the cool air temperature.

After not too long we soon emerged at the col with an absolutely wonderful view over the Kesswelwandferner towards the Brandenburger Haus and the Gepatschferner with the Innerer and Äusserer Bärenbartkogel in the background. From this col we joined a number of other teams climbing from the other side, and a very cold wind!

The final ascent up to the summit was very straightforwards, where we had wonderful views in most directions. The air was very clear after the recent storms, but it was clear that the weather was deteriorating as the wind was picking up and cloud was building over all the high mountains around us. During brief spells between the clouds we could see the Similaun and Wildspitze, both peaks we have previously climbed, and we could even see Piz Bernia a long way away due to the clear air.

We descended the way we went up, as we knew that it would be a quick descent with the deteriorating weather and after just over an hour were back at the bottom of the glacier. As we descended to the hut it appeared that the weather was rapidly deteriorating, the clouds up high were moving fast, the cloud was building and the wind was picking up. This meant that we didn’t stop at the hut for a drink, but had a quick repack our our bags, a cereal bar and then headed down the mountain.

As we approached the hut we saw loads of marmots, and marmot babies which was a nice surprise. They certainly didn’t seem that bothered by humans!

Unfortunately we were not able to use the luggage transport on the way down as the lift only runs first thing in the morning, so with our full bags we made the descent back down to the valley, which certainly seemed to drag on! I was certainly glad to get back to the car and take my bag off!

Looking up towards the Fluchtkogel over the Guslarferner
Walking up the Guslarferner in the morning
Another team heading up the Guslarferner in the morning
Looking over the Kesswelwandferner towards the Brandenburger Haus and the Gepatschferner with the Innerer and Äusserer Bärenbartkogel in the background
Stunning panorama over the Kesselwandferner and the Gepatschferner
Looking towards Similaun and Finailspitze
Looking over the Kesswelwandferner and the Gepatschferner towards the Brandenburger Haus
Becky and Emma in front of the Kesselwandferner and the Gepatschferner
On the final climb to Fluchtkogel with the Kesselwandferner and the Gepatschferner in the background
Arriving at the summit of the Fluchtkogel
Summit photo on Fluchtkogel
Fluchtkogel summit selfie
Innerer and Äusserer Bärenbartkogel with Piz Bernia in the far distance
Looking towards Schwarzwandspitze from the Fluchtkogel
Looking towards Schwarzwandspitze from the Fluchtkogel
View over the Kesselwandferner and Gepatschferner
Fluchtkogel summit photo
Descending towards the Kesselwandspitze and Vordere Hintereisspitze
Descending the Guslarferner
Descending the moraine back down towards the Vernagthütte
Baby Marmot near the Vernagthütte
Descending from the Vernagthütte
Total distance: 26.4 km
Max elevation: 3467 m
Min elevation: 1887 m
Total climbing: 1764 m
Total descent: -1766 m