What makes a good ski tour? Tree skiing has always been important to me. Ever since I was little I enjoyed the trees. With my mother and uncle on the piste the rule was I could go in as long as they could see me. My cousin and I would weave in and out of the woods all day. This tour reminded me of those times.
After touring up a road the skin track turns up a rocky ridge. The snow was skinable but not skiable. Luckily we didn’t have to return this way.
While touring up you are constantly assessing snow conditions. This day the conditions improved as we gained altitude. Rocks barely covered in snow turned into deep powder.
The route officially stops, at a group of signs, 100m back from where we had lunch. To summit you go past the signs through bushes up to where we had lunch then by boot the rest of the way. We attempted part of the way by boot but turned back because the way involved scrambling / light winter climbing. The path was exposed and for us the risk of a high consequence fall was not worth the summit. Can’t ski from the top anyhow. Instead we enjoyed our sandwiches and prepped for going down.
In the previous video you can see a group of bushes on the left, above these is where we had lunch. The hike to the summit goes up and to the right. If you look closely you can see the cross at the summit.
As we descended the trees got denser and the terrain steeper. You end up sliding down small cliffs in the woods avoiding fallen trees, rocks, and your partner. A proper adventure. Here in the trees I feel more comfortable than the high alpine snow trails made on foot. Since I’ve been skiing for many years, and had my share of injuries, I know how to do it safely. We progressed slowly down to a meadow.
From the meadow instead of taking the normal route to the parking lot we went further in. Loop adventure! We followed animal tracks leading to a gully. GPS concurred that this was the path but it wasn’t skiable. We hiked down skis in hand. Half way we met a group who attempted Hochplatte but were turned away from summit do to lack of snow. They explained how the valley below was laid out as they had come that way from the parking. After sharing information we skied down into the valley.
From that direction to get down one must cross the valley and stream then follow a trail along the edge of the valley for serval kilometres. Easier said then done, and with night fall approaching we we’re fully committed to descending this valley. The stream crossing reminded me of an approach I saw on one of “the fifty project” tours. Where Cody Townsend and company had to take boots off and wade across a river. Lucky for our tour, the little creek could be stepped across.
The guys we passed us had warned of a sketchy spot on the trail back. As I was skiing the trail, hugging the safe side, the drop off got steeper and steeper. There was woods so it was safe, until there wasn’t. At this point I had slide half way across this exposed bit of trail and lost all my speed. Super carefully I removed a ski and used it like a rowing oar to push myself the rest of the way. My partner, smarter, took off both skis and hiked it.
Great tour but I recommend if you do Scheinbertspitze take the normal way back. It is lot easier than hiking down that back side. I hope to return to this area later in the season to attempt Hochplatte.
Until next time 👋⛷ stay safe out there and always check avalanche forecast.