TR from our Europe Adventures – Gamskopf, 2205 m

Post by blogger | February 6, 2013      

Powder day in Alpbach backcountry, Austria.

Last night we joined fellow backcountry travelers at our local backcountry ski shop here in Carbondale, Cripple Creek Backcountry, for a discussion about snow stability. Brian McCall of Colorado Avalanche Information Center analyzed our area and reviewed slope evaluation techniques.

Historically, Colorado has the highest avalanche fatality rates in the nation so we are mindful each year about snow pack development. Weak layers that earlier in our season frequently persist for months, and can be the cause of avalanches throughout the year. Brian pointed out that a few of these weak layers from January will likely persist until they melt out in the summer. Terrifying.

Lou has dealt with this for years, been a victim of it, and says “If I can offer one thought, it’s the backcountry skiers in Colorado need to be more risk adverse than many of them are. You simply can’t be as cavalier and aggressive as with other snowpacks.”

So at least for now, our Rocky Mountain excursions will be very conservative. We’ll still get out but will by hyper vigilant about route finding and group dynamics. Thankfully we’ve been able to ski safer snow in Canada and Europe. Those guys get weak layers as well but especially at lower elevations in Europe they don’t seem to persist like ours do here in Colorado. Check out our photos from a recent tour in Tirol.


Skiing through Farmkehralm to the base of Gamskopf. Grosser Galtenberg is the large peak to the left.

hiking up

Skinning up Gamskopf.


'Treue zu Gott, Erbe der Vater' translation 'Faithfulness to God (and to the) inheritance of the fathers'

peak behind cross

Peaks behind Gamskopt.

From the top of Gamskopf, looking down on the region of Zillertal.


Ski tracks

Ski tracks below Grosser Galtenberg, view from top of Gamskopf. Check out the set of 'euro-wriggle' turns at lookers left. That guy was not messing around!

ski down

Skiing down Gamskopf to Farmkehralm.


Another popular tour is skiing from the ridge below Dristenkopf, the peak seen here.


St. Johannes wurst - the longer the better.


Heddie and Margaret, our partners on Gamskopf, share laughs with us at the Gast Haus. Is the St. Johannes wurst the secret to their Tirolean Frauenpower?

Gast Haus table

In the old days, these tables were hinged to the wall and could be folded up to clean the floors. Also used as outside tables and were folded up to clear snow or store away when not in use. The clever 'panhandle shape' and u-shaped seating allows six people to gather comfortably in a booth space that normally seats four.

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6 Responses to “TR from our Europe Adventures – Gamskopf, 2205 m”

  1. Chuck February 6th, 2013 1:27 pm

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for the TR, it brings back good thoughts about my own trip there.

  2. Val February 6th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Too bad to hear about Colorados weak snowpack. The reminder about avalanche awareness is well taken. Thanks

  3. Rob S February 6th, 2013 7:13 pm

    Great pics, as always! Makes me homesick for Europe….

  4. Megan February 7th, 2013 9:06 pm

    I literally laughed out-loud to that comment about the ‘euro wiggle’. Fun article. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wookie1974 February 20th, 2013 7:52 am

    I’ll be out there next week for a whole week of touring! Looking great, as the snow is falling in Munich as we speak!

  6. Lou Dawson February 20th, 2013 7:58 am


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