Today I’m back after six days of adventuring from mountain hut near Scuol. It was a great trip with several successful ski tours high into Swiss alps. I had an outstanding partner and many warm nights sharing a meals with friends. After the week we covered nearly every skiable face both inside and above the resort and as a result learned a great deal about ski touring and German culture.
Our hut for the week located here, and was only accessible via chair lift. It was a self service hut which seamed to revolve around the old wood burning range in the main room. We used it to cook our meals and heat water for tea, coffee, cleaning dishes, and showering. It was a unique experience I highly recommend. To get all of our food and gear to the hut first everything was brought up in carts via the gondola then a snow cat with big basket on front did door to door service.
The food situation worked out quite well, everyone cooked for a night and there was a good verity with vegetarian options. The drinking however did not go quite so smoothly. Most days half the group was laid out with a hungover while we were out touring. The most memorable result of drinking was opening the door of the main room to a party member seated at the table stark nude drinking a Groß Maß. Germans have found a level of intoxication that is somehow impressive.
Despite the apri ski life being a bit to hard core for me I really enjoyed the hut stay and made many new friends. The mountains are great at bring people together.
This trip was first time out big opportunity after my injury to try ski touring and I’m happy to report it went very well! I’ve found a new sport I hope gain skill and continue for years to come.
Route Day 1: outdooractive page
Touring worked out super well! On the first day we toured half way up the road connecting the main resort to Sent. Then we turned off piste and rose up into some gentle slopes above. There were more then a few slips and tumbles but eventually I got the hang of the basics. It was exciting to share the experience with my partner who truly took naturally to the sport doing more advanced kick turns right out of the gate.
Route Day 2: outdooractive page
After getting down the very basics, the second day we got the chance to tour with a mountain rescue personnel. He taught us a great deal like how to keep you skins warm under your jacket during docents. Also laid by example with a solid skin track off piste.
One of the big takeaways for me as we moved to steeper terrain was just how on point you have to be with your ski skills. Unlike skiing off piste from the resort lift after a few groomer warm up laps in touring you are often making a complete cold start down advanced steep terrain.
Route Day 3: outdooractive page
Our most ambitious tour was up the southeast face of Piz Nair. The route rises high above the resort to a saddle. The way up was over 30 deg so lots of zig zagging turns. About half way up I failed a kick turn and slide back five ish meters, not a big deal but it was not helping my confidence. A few turns later we came to the last kick turn along a very steep 300m north facing cliff. The feeling it gave reminded me of some of that harder lead climbing maneuvers I’ve made where falling is simply not an option. Scary, yes but the clarity of aligning the body, mind, and spirit in the high alpine environment is a great reward.
The view from the saddle was really impressive but the ice conditions of the snow prevented a summit visit with out more mountaineering experience.
Even after only a few tours I could tell for me touring is more about the way up then the way down. Getting up close to alpine features normally only seen from a distance is exhilarating. That being said I defiantly know how to have fun on the way down.
Route Day 4: outdooractive page
Our last tour was an attempt of Piz Soér summit. We made it within 15 meters of the cornice but the conditions were unfavorable to go further. We had passed from main face towards opening in the cornice above a rock field. Just as we did this the snow crust because very hard and icy creating sliding danger. This is when caring the avalanche shovel came in super handy! I was able to dig a ledge into the face for a relaxing Brotzeit and then we were able to transition on the ledge and slide with skis on to the icy face and descend without issue.
Coming off an injury a week touring in the Swiss alps was just what I needed to get out of my head and back feeling the raw untapped power of the mountains. I hope to return to Scuol some day for some of the longer tours and more warm drinks in the hütte.
** Special thanks to all the photographers on the trip without them I would not have any of these great pictures.