The day ended well with a pile of home made schnitzel and 10 schnitzel fingers displayed by Erhard, one of the guys on the tour and a certified schnitzel wizard.
Guffert Spitz is in the Rofan area somewhat north west of Innsbruck. Today's tour would be with Axel Jentzsch-Rabl of Bergsteigen.at and his friend Erhard Mitsche.
Map below shows the location, Guffert is the snowy peak in the middle of the map frame, our route was the open slopes on the south side. As always, I’m amazed at the plowed road access in the greater Innsbruck and Kitzbuhel areas of the Alps. This due to thousands of years of agriculture as well as a high population density. I’d estimate that for every alpine access road we have in, for example, Colorado, these guys have ten or twenty. Of course that means much less wild Wilderness. Me, I’d take a few more roads, though not to the extent that things over here are roaded.
Overall, after you’ve done backcountry sports in a European area such as this and seen the road mileage they have, complaining about “roading” some of the backcountry lands in the Western U.S. is laughable. What’s more, it is quite interesting to me how the mountain roads here in the Tyrol are used for what’s obviously careful timber harvesting, which in turn supports both forest materials production as well as alternative energy.
Sure, you see plenty of timber work being done in North American regions such as PNW, but the way they do it here seems more elegant in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps just illusion, a value judgment I’m making on “garden” forests as opposed other approaches. In any case, it all gets you thinking about the purposes of roads.
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When driving to the ski, you pass by the largest lake in the Tyrol. Achensee is classic, with Euro villages on the shore and Alps rising above.
Morning, up through larchen that's nicely blanketed by the white.
We climbed just over 3,000 vert, the terrain gradually steepening as we got higher. In this shot, Erhard Mitsche is looking easterly into Germany, as is common the Alps go on farther than the eye can see.
The day's climb finishes with a short steep couloir that Axel is 'enjoying' in this photo. Even though we got a fairly early start, we were about an hour late for 100% safe safe snow conditions so we climbed most of the steep, but quit at a flatter spot just below the top. The snow was getting so soft, it seemed like saving even 10 minutes was critical. We did a quick turnaround, worked down a few hundred feet of steep couloir, then skied slush and a bit of breakable back to the car. Goof, an hour earlier and we'd have been skiing nice semi-corn snow for most of the descent. Even so, nice weather and good companions today in the Alps.
That's me trying to use skis on the short steep section. The snow was so slushy on the surface I wasn't sure I could turn without riding a sluff, so I just hacked my way down by sidestepping a few meters, then made some manky turns to get to the bowl. Always interesting how quickly the sun morphs the snow when it's not consolidated. At this point it was still early enough in the day to not worry too much about slab avalanches, nonetheless I was feeling like we needed to get out of there, so we did.
Guffert Spitz, some of the better snow.
To get us back on track after the somewhat rushed day, Axel offered up a lunch of homemade wiener schnitzel. Erhard seemed to know what he was doing. The kids always show up for the schnitzel, though they did mention they liked Chick McNuggets as well. Ouch.
Preparing wiener schnitzel. In this recipe, I'm told you first go with flour, then dip in an egg batter, then bread crumbs.
The expert told me if the oil is too hot the schnitzel turns too brown.
Check out Axel’s website and books at Bergsteigen.at, he’s got quite the publishing business going on.