When it’s the highest hunk of rock around, and you’re a climber as much as a skier, a certain thing has to be done. Not matter that certain thing involves about 9 kilometers (one way) of super low angled piste slogging, on a snowmobile trail! Hey, I thought we only did this in the States! Oh well, myths are slain right and left as one travels. As for what thoughts crossed my mind between those of awe at the views, let’s just say they involved 4-stroke combustion. But it was fun anyway.
|Another evening return. We got the climb done, then were waylaid by a double dose of pastries up at the Simoney Hut. One thing I’ve learned about European ski touring: bring a bright headlamp and extra batteries. If for no other reason than when you’re stumbling around a darkroom black hut at 2:00 am looking for the bathroom while trying to avoid falling down the stairs (when they constructed these things, there was obviously no building inspector.)
But first: Dachstein is a huge limestone massif and plateau that juts up southerly of Salzberg, in Austria. It’s an interesting formation because it includes glaciated aretes but also quite a bit of rolling high terrain. The Dynafit event was planned for a higher hut that eliminates having to travel the low angled, but because of weather the gathering was changed to a lower hut. So here we are, looking at kilometers of fairly flat touring to get the goods
|So, we’re climbing to the summit of Dachstein. Mostly flat touring, then a fun scramble up a cable route where the ropes are partially buried by ice and you crampon above somewhat scary cliffs. Photo above is just about 30 minutes into the trip. Oh man, that thing is a long ways away! As for the skiing, you do get to make a few steeper turns down the tongue of glacier below the rock route. Not much, but a taste.|
|Signs on the tour indicate the two different huts involved. Google ’em.|
|After a few hours of torture we reach the Simony Hut, a traditional base for everything from Dachstein scrambles to technical rock climbing. We’re testing a new Dynafit backpack that’s quite nice. The “Manaslu” is a medium volume specialized touring pack. It has a super nice feature (offered on other Dynafit packs last year), a horizontal tube behind your back where you can store crampons or a rope, and reach such without taking the pack off by ripping open velcro flaps.|
|When you finally get up in the alpine around here it’s pretty impressive. I could just imagine what this place is like in summer, with rock climbers dangling from the cliffs and hikers everywhere. Deserted today by Euro standards. We saw perhaps 30 people total and just two others on the scramble climb.|
Please check back for part II — I’m running on empty.