Another ski tour for you. This time south of Vorderriss down by the border to Austria.
We got lucky, there was 5-10cm of fresh powder the day before.
The popular route, found in guide books and on signs, is up Scharfreiter, but we had concerns. The skiable Scharfreiter face is not northward and while there was new snow the base was not built up much. By the look of the map one could cross through a wooded shelf to a face that though not northward would be in shadow. We choose this one instead.
After reaching the hütte we descended with skins on into the forest. We stayed left to avoid going directly under, aka in the avalanche path of, Scharfreiter’s north face. The shade provided for plenty of snow. Enough snow that us crossing didn’t damage any plant life. It’s like walking on a big pillow allowing you to get super close to nature without effecting it.
We were dubious of the face we wanted to snow. When we arrived we employed a snow pit to assess the conditions. Two extended fracture tests showed the new powder was fluffy and decently bonded to the layer below. That below layer was strong and had little cracking / crack propagation. All things point to going for it. So we did.
At the top of the open face I got little ambitious. Met with a thicket of bushes that appeared to have opening on the other side I convinced my partner we should try to cross it. Touring through bushes is not easy. The going was slow, after 10min lunch became a higher priority we stopped.
Lunch on the mountain in winter is a cold affair. To make up for it I try to make it as comfortable as possible. First thing I do is put on a puffy. Ascending is a workout and keeps you warm, but as soon as you stop the cold sets in. I prefer to get off my feat at lunch, problem is sitting directly in the snow is too cold. To solve this I employ a snow bench. Digging out a ditch then placing a ski base up provides an insulation place to share a snack with a partner.
With no resorts open this year because of Covid my skiing is rusty. This descent was pretty mellow and snow was great, no issues.
If your tour includes multiple ascents you have to take skins on and off. Problem is if the skins’ glue is cold it does not stick well to the skis. Solution: keep the skins under your coat between ascents. Not the most fashionable but works.
Finished off the tour with lazy turns down back to the parking lot.