Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Zillertal Rucksack Route, aka Berlinerweg, Stage 3 – Kasseler Hütte to Greizer Hut (2227m)

2302-Bridge-over-meltwater

Monday 23 July 2007

After the usual cheese and ham breakfast, we had a brief chat with a man from Colorado. He'd packed up his tent after the wind got up in the night and resorted to the hut. He is surprised that he finds no one else camping in the Austrian mountains. (Ed - wild camping is illegal in Austria, since at least 2010.)

At 7.55, we set out in a stiff breeze, wearing fleece and gloves. Path 502 forms an arc around the end of the valley, and even the boulder fields are paved with flat boulders. There is a small amount of cloud on the tops, but as the day progresses, the wind clears it. Streams flow down from the glaciers, and there are wooden planks with handrails (see above) which are bouncing in the wind. Gaiters were useful as we stepped across rocks with water pouring down.

Large Flowered Leopardsbane near the start of the walk

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The view ahead

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Views across the valley to yesterday's route were clear, and the Ahornbahn cable car station could be seen at the end of the ridge. Lots of leopardsbane and ox-eye daisies.

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Looking towards Stillupgrund

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Heard rock fall, and just caught a glimpse of the culprit - rock pouring down the end of a glacier.

Following a nicely paved section through a boulder field, we descended to a precipitously steep section which was wired and also had a fence. Much round-leaved saxifrage here. After one more stream with a wooden bridge, we started the long climb to the col.

The slope was wide and green as we wound upwards. Had a break where path 518 meets ours, then continued climbing over progressively more rocky ground, with the wind increasing in strength. Saw two people coming in the opposite direction - the only ones passed today.

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Alpine Toadflax

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A fleece was needed over the col - the wind was strong and cold. Nice views to adjacent rocky summits, and across the next valley to the glaciers.

Highest point of the day - Lapenscharte at 2701 metres, with Gigalitz – 3001m – towering above us.

2320-Sue-at-Lapen-Scharte-with-Gigalitz-3001m2323-SueNow, the descent to the Greizer hut at 2227 metres. Good views down to the hut (can you spot it in the next picture?) and valley, and across to the ridge and glaciers.

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Arrived at 12.25 - quick check-in as the hut was busy with day visitors. We are in a room for 6 on the second floor.

Installed ourselves at a corner table with nice views and enjoyed goulash soup (S) and cheese omelette (M).

An afternoon stroll from 2.30 to 4.00 took us above the hut to get a closer look at the glaciers and down the valley. High point 2240m. Sunny, but a cold wind. We were alone again, apart from 5 goats.

Sue

2327-View-to-Ginzling2329-Martin-above-GreizerThen a return to the cosy hut, where I continue my editing of Allan Hartley's inaccurate guidebook.

Manfred is here, plus a couple of others from last night. We join him for dinner, as the wind gets up again, rattling the windows.

Manfred tries to reassure me - "You don't start to slow down until you are 65." He is 67 and I am 58. I try to take his comment to heart and forget about what I have been feeling since the age of 50 or earlier!

There are two horses outside - used to bring supplies up the valley to the hut. We are warned about having to sleep with the horses if allocated to the 'Winteraum'. (Luckily the hut is not full tonight.)

Pigs: Martin 3: Sue 1.

Martin

Here’s our route – about 9 km with 900 metres ascent.

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I’m using Viewranger software to display these maps. I’ve not worked out how to place arrows at kilometre intervals on the maps, nor how to change the colour of the route line from red. Any ideas?

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Stage 4

Friday, 26 January 2018

Zillertal Rucksack Route, aka Berlinerweg, Stage 2 – Edel Hütte to Kasseler Hütte (2177m)

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Sunday 22 July 2007

Last night we enjoyed a lovely sunset at Edel Hütte after some beers and a nice meal. Book reading followed - I've got 'Love over Scotland' by Alexander McCall Smith, and Sue has John Grisham's 'The Innocent Man'. But by 9pm we are in bed. In our dorm for 6 people.

Sleep well. Up at 6.45. Breakfast at 7.00. Leave at 7.45. But it's a cloudy day. We are in cloud. So we look down to the flowers. There are many.

Such as this Alpine Sow Thistle.

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We have Allan Hartley's Cicerone Guide (2003 edition) 'Trekking in the Zillertal Alps' and discover it has route errors. [There’s a second edition published in 2013 that may correct some of these errors.] The route would be easy to do with just a map, and perhaps less confusing. Anyway, I've just spent 45 minutes marking up the book with red ink. Suffice to say, the route to Kasseler Hütte, 80 years old this year, undulates gently over a distance of about 12 km (850 metres ascent), crossing 7 or so ridges off the main mountain chain of which we have come down the western flank.

Soon we catch up with Manfred, from Cologne, who speaks some English and is on our route. We take 6½ hours, compared with the 9 hour standard time, which Manfred is closer to. The path is excellent but does have short aided sections and the small and large boulder fields that characterise this area.

Path 519 signs on white plaques, and yellow signposts, occasionally supplement the frequent red and white paint markers. Some of the wires have recently been renewed and path 519 is currently in superb condition. Much easier than some of our recent Dolomitic paths.

We started past some friendly brown goats that live near (or at) Edel Hütte and are of the domestic variety. I saw a vole, and Manfred saw a salamander. We all saw robust and friendly sheep. And lots of flowers (see list below).

Martin reaches Popbergneider 2448m.

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Stemples up to Sommerschartl.

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Sue at Norfertensmauer - 2277m.

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The two bed bothy at Madereggalm.

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By 10.30 the cloud was thinning, but we were getting wet legs from the grass, so gaiters were on. I quickly went to t-shirt - the RAB Vapour Rise fleece is far too hot, but Sue stayed fleeced all day. We saw nobody other than Manfred - there were just the three of us on this path today. Soon we dropped below the cloud base at 2200 metres and stayed below it until we finished in cloud at 2.15.

There are good views down the valley to Stillupgrund, and back along our route, even though the peaks were in cloud.

2218-View-with-Stillupspeicher

We are greeted by a friendly guardian at Kasseler - we compare Crocs - hers are jewelled!

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We are soon tucking into cups of tea (free with teewasser, and our own tea bags) and soup with frankfurters.

My right knee twinged a few times today but seems ok. Sue's boots and new Osprey Atmos 50 rucksack are potential problems, but seem ok for now.

Allan Hartley's book is a big disappointment. Not really necessary for this simple route, and surprisingly inaccurate. But it does have useful peripheral information.

The rain starts, gently, after we arrive, but the mountains are clearing. It's a friendly hut with about 20 in residence tonight, mostly having stayed here last night, or come from the valley today.

Martin

Beers were ordered around 4.30, and we relaxed in the cosy dining room reading and playing dominoes. We ate with Manfred at 6.00 - spaghetti arrabiata, and follow it with another beer. Chatted till bedtime around 9.30pm. We are on the bottom row of a bunk for 10 people. It's not full, but could sleep 40.

Not too disturbed - just a couple of snorers.

Dominoes: Martin 1 : Sue 0.

Sue

Here’s our approximate route – 12 km, 850 metres ascent.

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Zillertal flowers identified on this trip

Adenostyles
Alpenrose
Tofield's Asphodel
Bedstraws (various)
Bearded Bellflower
Clustered Bellflower
Harebell
Alpine Birdsfoot Trefoil
Alpine Bistort
Great Burnet
Buttercups - various
Bladder Campion
Moss Campion
Nottingham Catchfly
Pink Cinquefoil
Brown Clover
Mountain Clover
Red Clover
Common Cow Wheat
Meadow Cranesbill
Ox-Eye Daisy
Alpine Eyebright
Common Eyebright
Dwarf Eyebright
Alpine Forgetmenot
Fox and Cubs
Field Gentian
Spotted Gentian
Spring Gentian
Golden Rod
Mountain Hawkbit
Large Flowered Houseleek
Mountain Houseleek
Common Kidney Vetch
Alpine Lady's Mantle
Large Flowered Leopardsbane
Martagon Lily
Ling
Milfoils (various)
Black Vanilla Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Fragrant Orchid
Black Rampion
Round-headed Rampion
Raspberry
Common Rockrose
Sticky Sage
Musky Saxifrage
Round-leaved Saxifrage
Yellow Mountain Saxifrage
Mountain Sheepsbit
Alpine Sow Thistle
Spiniest and other Thistles
Wood Stitchwort
Mountain St John's Wort
Biting Stonecrop (and other Stonecrops)
Alpine Toadflax
Tormentil
Mountain Willowherb
Rosebay Willowherb
Yarrow
Yellow Rattle

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Stage 3

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Zillertal Rucksack Route, aka Berlinerweg, Stage 1 – Mayrhofen to Edel Hütte (2238 metres)

2101Mayrhofen-from-Ahornbahn-CC

Saturday 21 July 2007

Yet another wonderfully cloudless morning in the Dolomites! (That trip diary may be digitised at some future date.) Gary and Jenny packed to return to Venice and their flight home. Julia was walking, to fly back from Venice tomorrow, and we were packing for our hut to hut backpack.

The other three left, leaving us with gear resembling a car boot sale! And it was getting hotter all the time.

Eventually, we departed from our second home - the campsite at Colfosco - after another good week in the Dolomites, at 10am.

The journey was a slow but scenic one. First, to Dobbiaco, then east into Austria and green valleys. At Lienz, we headed north, avoiding the traffic queue through the centre.

The road climbed as the last one had descended. A river in the valley clearly provided opportunities for kayaking and rafting. At Mittelsee, another turn, and some smaller, twisty roads before we joined the main road again.

Stopped for lunch at Gasthof Neuhof, just off the main road. The wait, in the shade of a large umbrella, was worthwhile and we enjoyed nice salads, hitting the road again at 1.50pm.

Finally, a left turn into Mayrhofen, and a long queue. It was 3pm by now and we needed to get the cable car up to walk to the first hut!

The heavy traffic was due to some event in town, but, in the heat, we arranged to leave the car at the cable car station, and went to find a weather forecast.

The Tourist Information eluded us, but was finally discovered below the church, near Europahotel.

The forecast was acceptable for our plans, so we bought tickets for the cable car and were soon whisked out of the valley on the Ahornbahn cable car, from which the top view is pictured, leaving fields of cars and spreading campsites far below us. It was a relief, 6½ minutes later, to emerge to cooler air.

We shared the remaining melon on a newly constructed picnic table, then set off.

2103-Just-before-we-start

Our objective is just to the left of Sue’s head in the next picture.

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The path was nicely graded, and the slopes displayed flowers of blue and lilac shades. It took just 50 minutes (guide time 1.5 hours) to reach the Edel Hütte (2288m), and our bed for the night.

On the way we passed this rubbish cairn. In 2008 we met one of its originators in Scotland and we have enjoyed frequent encounters with him ever since!

2107-Rubbish-Cairn

We share a room for 6, but have a nicely dark corner. A beer on the balcony goes down well, then we move into the cosy, sunlit dining room, as the cool breeze gets the better of us. We aren't sure of the dining arrangements/etiquette, but we order 'Bergsteineressen' for two, and we enjoy potatoes, ham and egg, with beans in vinaigrette.

2111-Sunset-with-Hut

Text messages from Mother and from Gary, now back at home, confirm that the UK is still blighted with rain.

Sue

So, that was Sue’s diary entry for 21 July 2007. Here’s the route we took – about 4 km with 400 metres ascent. A gentle start to a lovely route.

2199route

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Stage 2

Monday 22 January 2017 – A Walk to Dunham, and a parkrun update

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You haven’t missed anything. We haven’t been out very much at all, in an effort to recover from the chest infections that took their toll at the start of the year. Apart from one glorious spell whilst we were confined to the house, the weather hasn’t been that good either.

JJ has also been afflicted by an assortment of infections, but, feeling a bit better on Monday morning, he decided on a gentle stroll to Dunham Massey. Luckily, Sue and I were both available to join him at very short notice, and by 11.30 we were waiting above the canal on Timperley Bridge, with the view that heads this posting stretching towards Altrincham. In common with quite a few former industrial sites bordering the canal, Nelson House – on the right of the picture – is being converted from an office block to apartments.

It was a dull morning weather wise, but free of rain and a very welcome burst of fresh air, albeit the towpath beyond the increasingly derelict Bay Malton pub was extremely muddy. We wondered when the Bay Malton to Lymm section will be resurfaced?

We left the canal at Little Bollington and crossed the Bollin by the weir. The river is quite full at present, and the fields bordering the track to Dunham Massey are good for the waterfowl that visit at this time of year.

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Sue and JJ were in a rush for coffee.

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Whilst JJ ploughed through the ankle deep mud that spanned the track, Sue and I found a convenient fence!

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The National Trust café provided welcome filter coffee and hot milk, and JJ surreptitiously produced an assortment of excellent cake and scones.

Then we strolled over the golf course to the noise and bustle of the A56 road and Altrincham’s improving town centre. JJ and Sue walked back to Timperley Bridge by a more direct route, whilst I sourced dinner and got the tram to catch up with them.

Here’s my route – 12 km with less than 100 metres ascent, in about 2.5 hours plus breaks. Thanks to JJ for stimulating this little outing.

2299route

A parkrun update.

Our convalescence has involved a couple of very gentle parkruns at Wythenshawe. The one on 14 January, using the ‘Bow Tie’ course, was very muddy. Neither Sue nor I could keep up with the 30 minute pacer, and I was totally spent at the end despite being nearly ten minutes off my best pace.

A week later we were both a couple of minutes quicker, and not so tired afterwards, on another very muddy morning. ‘Muddy passage’ which was resurfaced and lost its ‘label’ for a while last year, lived fully up to its name, having deteriorated to an ankle deep slurry of mud and horse droppings.

I’ll take a picture next week if I remember.

The usual melee at the end of the run is shown, below a rare image of Michael, whose birthday is within a week of mine, so our ‘age-related’ results are always in the same category. Michael has normally finished and is on his way home by the time I trouble the time keepers, so it was a surprise to pass him at the end of the first lap. It turns out that we both have hamstring injuries, but currently his is worse than mine. I hope you can get back to full fitness and your 250th parkrun soon, Michael.

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The Zillertal Alps

I’ve not been completely inactive whilst confined to the house, and the next series of postings results from a re-visit to a diary from 2007, shortly before the commencement of this blog. So I’ve digitised the entries and will reproduce them here for a trip to the Zillertal Alps where Sue and I completed a week long hutting trip from Mayrhofen. For anyone seeking an easy hutting trip in Austria, the route described in the diary that will follow this entry deserves serious consideration.

This posting may be a bit messy as I'm getting "The remote server returned an error: (500) Internal Server Error." when using Open Live Writer, so I've had to resort to the cumbersome 'Blogger' software. And it takes ages...

Now, a day later, Open Live Writer has returned to life so I’ve replaced yesterday’s posting – it’s the images that cause the problem, the text posts ok. Using Blogger, the images on the blog are very low resolution, but if you click on them you get a much clearer picture, whereas in OLW the images on the blog are better, but they only improve a little when you click on them. Ho hum. But migration to Wordpress, which may be a better platform, looks really tricky.