With a brief weather window coinciding with a weekend we knew that we wanted to do another Hochtour, the challenge was finding something where a hut still had free spaces, and was a bit more technical than some of my more recent Hochtouren.
As Becky was back in the UK I was heading out with Jana and her friend Jakub who was visiting. We decided to climb the Weißkugel from the Schöne Aussicht, via the rock ridge which joins the standard south ridge near the summit.
After a much longer than anticipated drive we arrived in Kurzras where we dropped out bags at the Materialseilbahn, and made the short, but steep walk up to the Hütte. It was a delight to be walking up with a small rucksack which only contained some water and food, rather than an alpine bag! After a very hot ascent we arrived at the hut in good time, chilled out with a drink, and then when the sun went in went and enjoyed the Sauna which was certainly a novel experience in a mountain hut.
After a terrible night’s sleep we woke up for breakfast at 4am, a time at which my body certainly didn’t want to be awake. Before we joined the glacier we had quite a long walk, and a decent amount of ascent, which meant we made good time. As we arrived at the ridge before the glacier we had a wonderful view into Italy for sunrise with a large cloud inversion. Unfortunately, the view in the other direction was not as good as anticipated, instead of clear skies there was a thick layer of grey cloud which looked pretty ominous. Due to the worse weather, and the fact we knew that a storm was coming in early afternoon, we decided to abort to the normal route.
The normal route was very straightforward, with one steep section but this was technically easy due to the excellent snow cover. As we were ascending the weather briefly improved and we were even able to enjoy some sunshine. Before the summit there was a short easy rock ridge, over which we moved together. Given the deteriorating weather we did not sit around and enjoy the summit experience, we just had a photo and then headed back down the rock ridge.
As we headed back down the snow the weather really started to deteriorate and it felt more like Scotland than the Alps! The worst weather held off until we were off the glacier, at which point there was a lot of rain, hail and some thunder. The thunder was a bit alarming as we were on an exposed ridge, so after no hanging around we made a hasty retreat without stopping for any food.
By the time we got back to the ski area we were feeling a bit less exposed, and the weather had started to improve so we stopped for some lunch. Which was my first food and water in 6 hours, so it was certainly appreciated!!
The descent was straightforward, but certainly dragged. However the cloud cover meant that it wasn’t too warm, and the rain held off until we got back to the car.
While we didn’t manage the intended route, and had much worse than anticipated conditions it was still an excellent day out, with wonderful views, a nice sunrise and a major summit.
Max elevation: 3669 m
Min elevation: 2013 m
Total climbing: 1883 m
Total descent: -1883 m