Last ski tour of the season. Last last weekend before the Germany coronavirus border closure.
Route: outdooractive guide
1900 meters. Got to get high for decent snow. Talking with a guide at the Deutscher Alpenverein Library he recommend Kitzbühel range so off we went. Goal, summit Galtenberg.
Setting off from Inneralpbach we had a thin layer of snow over mud. We followed a shaded cross country track for a kilometre before heading up hill. Grass patch here, there, but somehow we made it up a series of clearings in the forest.
At one point the clearings folded and we hiked 100 meters through dense snow covered forest. Luckily the ground was more frozen than some of our touring adventures.
Once we got through the woods the mountain opened up and the snow was great. Finally the good stuff! No lifts or no crowds just quiet afternoon in the snow. Stopping to fill up water bottles in a snow melt stream or taking a look around an old barn. Every turn you come across something new. Sharing an apple while checking the topo map for which direction to go next. Simple things.
Besides limited visibility the conditions were good. As we ascended we picked meeting points should we get separated. Ex the summer barn we passed.
As trees got less frequent the terrain steepened up to a ridge line. We followed a few day old skin track when we could see it. Was nice to know someone had made it because we didn’t see anyone else on the ascent.
The ridge was amazing! Skin track ended, as those skiers had descended back down the side we came up. We continued. We found an untouched mini valley on top of the ridge. Loaded with snow from the wind but without danger of avalanching it was a dream. This is the kind of location that makes everything worth it. All the money on equipment, fitness, time ✅, I’d do it all again.
Always fun to break out the avalanche shovel and dig a snow bench! Yes you have to pack lunch vs getting schnitzel at the resort, but it’s well worth it.
After the ridge we ascended further to where you can no longer skin and must hike on foot up Galtenberg. The path consisted of slippery rocks under a soft powder making it hard to pass. We made it ways before stopping to reconsider the summit attempt. The visibility was not getting better at by that time it was already three PM or so. We stopped at a hiking sign describing the summit to be an hour further. Made the call to return the ski depot and prepare for decent.
For me summiting is not as important as I thought it would be when I started touring. The parts I enjoy most are the slow ascents traveling through the forest. Also not being overly concerned with summiting helps further my goal of developing a conservative risk taking ritual in the mountains.
The lack of snow at lower elevations we experienced in the morning tipped us towards attempting the full loop. Descending on skis into new terrain, with limited visibility, questionable snow conditions, and avoiding the known cliff hazard, 👍🏼. The mountains don’t play around. We took it slow.
Going for the loop turned out to be worth it. We descended out of the fog and got some really nice powder turns in. The snow was better on this side and we skied all the way back to town.
Another safe adventure into the Alps. Looking forward to many more in the years to come. For this year goodbye snow! 👋❄️