After some careful route selection due to the avalanche conditions James and I settled on the Rietzer Grießkogel near Kühtai in Austria. This had the advantage that it was high, south facing and was mostly less than 30 degrees. The disadvantage of heading to a really popular tour, with a small car park was the starting time, and I was not particularly happy to be picking James up at 5:30 in the morning!
The drive down was cold and it was still -10 degrees when we parked the car, thankfully as we were sorting out kit out the sun hit us and provided some much needed warmth. After the first 10m from the car we were able to put our skis on and then there was excellent snow cover the entire way.
The ascent was very straightforward, the start up into the valley was a bit icy in the morning but we soon emerged into the wide open valley and began to be able to admire the views. Despite the air temperature staying cold, the sun and the ascent soon warmed us up and meant we were down to base layers for the ascent! After lots of admiring of the view on the ascent we arrived at the ski depot. James decided to wait here while I quickly went up to the summit.
The ridge up to the summit was wonderful, it was positioned high above the Inntal valley with wonderful views in every direction. It was possible to do it without crampons as nobody else was using them, but I was certainly glad I had mine on as it made the ascent much more straightforward. The summit was breathtaking, with clear air giving excellent views in every direction, no wind and the warmth of the sun. I could have stayed there for ages, but the descent was beckoning and I wanted to get onto it before the afternoon sun impacted the snow.
A quick descent took my back to the ski depot, and then we started our descent. The skiing was delightful, easy snow conditions, some unskied lines and yet more wonderful views to admire. All too soon we were back down in the valley and had an easy glide back to the final slope down to the car. Being more used to Bavarian ski touring, it was wonderful to have no Vorstraße or forrest to finish the day!
Max elevation: 2862 m
Min elevation: 1852 m
Total climbing: 989 m
Total descent: -1010 m