Caught a late lift in Stubai with Dave and heavy packs just as the park rats were leaving. After a mushy run down Gaiskarferner we began the exceptionally warm skin up Pfaffenferner. The last of the Zuckerhütl people were just returning to the resort and I felt our behaviour was very anticyclic.
Dave at Pfaffenjoch.
Where we came from (Pfaffenferner)
Where we're going (Sulzenauferner)
The run down Sulzenau was fun, although we got sidetracked a bit and ended up with a short extra skin out of a very picturesque crevasse zone.
"Hey Dave, ski into the sun, I'll take a picture!"
"Noooo! Not that far into the sun!"
The snow got increasingly soupy.
We began skinning again in search of a campspot. We bypassed the readily available hut because that would not have been adventurous enough.
The morraine above Grünausee seemed suitable. Dave's pic.
Freiger from camp
The overcast skies had been a little worrying and it was nice to finally see the convective clouds fall in on themselves.
Rory couldn't get off work early and was going to hike up from the valley in the evening. We glimpsed his headlamp just as we began contemplating what we would do if he failed to show up. We watched the headlamp move closer, pause at a cruxy sort of traverse, speed up on a downhill section. Dave said it was like watching television. He set up a flashing headlamp on a pole. Rory interpreted that as a signal to help him find camp but really we just wanted a strobe light for Dave's pre-birthday party.
In the morning both Rory and I suffered some confusion because Dave had dissapeared. It turned out that he had moved in the middle of the night because fear of falling into the lake was keeping him awake. "I realized I was wrapped in my sleeping bag so tightly that I wouldn't be able to do anything if I started rolling down the morraine!"
We stashed some gear and made our way up towards Freigerferner around 8. The snow was already wet in the lower section and it was hot again. The skin up the steep part of the glacier felt like a slog. As usual Dave effortlessly skipped ahead, while singing.
Once on the plateau we had a short break and decided to check out the NW face, rather than following the normal route to the summit. We were not sure if we would be able to get into the face from the summit and we were also not sure whether we would want to do that in any case.
Head on, the face looked somewhat intimidating and we agreed that we would not be going up all the way if the snow did not improve. Dave led the way again.
The snow was mostly very firm with some softer, chalky patches. We kept discussing whether we should keep going until Dave said that if we were discussing it so much then we should probably turn around. We made him decide because it was his birthday. I would have continued if the others had wanted to, but I knew that I would have been sideslipping a lot on the hard snow. We dug a platform and changed gear one by one. (Dave:"This is what it was like in Chamonix, except the snow was better.")
The chute we skied was good on one side and very firm on the other. Jumpturns on the firm side were scary and I sideslipped some, but I did get some fun turns once I learned to stay skier's left. Dave skied very confidently. Rory said he had never been on anything so steep and icy on alpine skis.
Back on the flat glacier we figured it would be better to avoid the wet, steeper section that we had come up and skinned over to the eastern arm of the glacier. It is flatter and gets less sun and skied very nicely.
Where is Dave?
We had all been a bit nervous on the steep face and this was very relaxing.
We picked up our gear and skied out on mushy snow to just below the hut. Before starting the hike down to the car we had a break. Dave shared organic dried blueberries and nutritious trailmix that his sister sent him for his birthday. I made chocolate mousse with chocolate mousse powder because healthy snacks are overrated. It tastes like sugar.
Dave: "Take another picture! I want to pose!"
Rory's skins fell off his pack on the way down. Another group picked them up and caught up with us to give them back. My skins fell off my pack and Rory picked them up. Dave made it down in a professional, well organized manner, while singing.
Happy Birthday Dave.
Dienstag, 7. Mai 2013
If you're blue
And you don't know
Where to go to
Why don't you go
Where fashion sits
Puttin' on the Ritz
Different types who wear a daycoat
Pants with stripes and cutaway coats
Puttin' on the Ritz
Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper
Come let's mix where Rockefellers
Walk with sticks or um-be-rellas
In their mitts
Puttin' on the Ritz