Monday, 19 March 2012

Melting Snow and Burning Wood

I finally managed to upload the photos from last weekend. When we arrived at the parking lot at the foot of the mountain, it looked like the parking deck at IKEA two weeks before Christmas: packed:
I saw the cars from another point of view than usual: All those people who drove here were up in the mountain area and the rescue crew could only hope for them to return safe and sound at their cars this day or the following day (depending on their plans, if they plan on staying in a hut overnight or not). To me this sight ressembled quite a burden for the volunteers from the mountain-rescue team.
You can also see that spring has arrived in the valley. I did not expect the tons of snow 800m above from here it looked like this:
One of the guys of the crew had digged these steep steps, they reminded me of step-aerobic!
The view when you step out of the hut - snow at eye-level (5'10''!)
Inside it looked like this. I took the photo through the hatch in the ceiling which lead to mattresses on the floor under the roof.
A view out of the window under the roof where we slept.
The view from the "observation window".

I could watch the people passing by for hours. It felt just like in a street-café in Paris, where all seats are turned towards the street, so everyone can watch those people walking by.
His eyes followed those mountaineers who chose the wrong side of the mountain at the wrong time of the day. (too late - riscing avalanches)

He is standing at the spot where most of the interviews took place. In the sun. It was so bright, we all had to wear sunglasses. The brightness of the light literally burnt the eyes. I guess I consumed a veritable light-therapy during my stay. I feel so energized, the intense light might play a role. Here you can see how bright the reflection of the snow (no direct sunlight) blinded us inside the hut:
Dishwashing with melted snow-water
The hot oven melts the snow, in front you see the sieve with a coffee-filter - we used it to filter water for tea. The snow water is actually quite dirty! Snow looks clean, but it isn't.
There used to be a telephone with a crank
The surroundings ...
The second popular mountain: Rax.
I liked looking at it and seeing those glasing slopes. Lots of ice, no doubt!
Under no circumstanced would I want to hike there. 5 Hungarians called for rescue yesterday evening. The mountain rescue team from the Rax found them after hours of searching, around midnight.
You have no clue what's going on over there when looking at it in the peaceful afternoon sunlight.
From time to time I had to escape the bright sunlight (it is quite tiring). The portait shows Mr. Krempel, patron of the hut, pioneer in the mountain rescue initiatives in the late 19th century. This hut, built in the 1930's was the first if its kind in Austria.
The roof under which we slept
(yes, this fact did impress me. The space was sooo tiny)

The skis in front of the hut invited others to pay us a visit.

People stopped by, for a short rest, a chat or simply to give a small donation in the box on the table.No major casualties have been reported, but one small: a dog that lost grip on a slippery slope got badly hurt.
The table, also seen from the hatch
My favourite observation window where one can see up to the mountain top at 2000m. Unfortunately they inserted new plastic windows in this 1930's architecture jewel.

The most beloved obervation window seen from the outside.
This picture was taken on our way up to the hut. I was surprised, how lovely the Schneeberg can be. The popular front (south I guess) of the mountain is very rough and steep while the "back", is even manageble for beginners like me.
In Austria the trees find their limit at 1800m.

You can see the tree line really well.(I write "in Austria", because in countries closer to the Equator it's likely to be higher compared to Austria)
No telemark but leaving the hut, not too stable in my shoes.

The conditions (no wind, blue skies, warm temperatures) were exceptional, today the hut was hidden in fog and clouds, like most of the time.

Having read my anxieties before going there you can imagine how happy and relieved I was to experience this perfect adventure. I guess I've tasted blood and it tasted sweet.

But now it's time to get ready for Sicily! I've laid out an attractive selection of shirts and blouses in various pastel shaded, sky-blue, white and pink. Preppy Paula is on her way to visit ancient temples, churches and cliffs soon, taking in regard that Mt.Etna does not come in our way.


  1. Wonderful. Beautiful. Fascinating. Thank you for the virtual adventure.

  2. I'd love to have an adventure just like that.

    (Is it really that reckless to go hiking during late winter?)

  3. Lisa, I feel as if this weekend was one of the special moments in 2012.

    Tracy, reckless? No, not at all. As long as you did your homework (planning, taking in consideration the course of the day (ice turns onto slush and can cause avalanches). It is amazing what you can do between Sat. 9am and Sun 6pm!