Braunschweiger Hütte, reached via a steep pull past whistling marmots, attentive black redstarts and bright yellow dwarf eyebright, followed by a slithery descent in mist, had hardly been visible the previous night.
Now it was a glorious morning, and in the manner of such places we had breakfasted - basic but adequate, with the lowest score to date - and were 'on the road' again by 7.15am, leaving the 'alpinistes' to their training and peak bagging.
Braunschweiger Hütte - a large, impersonal place, full of groups on Alpine training courses. But curiously not an ice axe or crampon in sight. We got chatting to a friendly German family who were on E5 with their children, but sadly it was a very brief encounter as we were soon moved to the other side of the room. Our companions for the evening there were an elderly German mountain guide and his two clients. We had little in common.
English voices. Sue investigates. A group from Cambridge on an Alpine skills course. Their rope work homework arrives. Sue leaves them to it.
Two toilets for each sex, in a nicely refurbished hut accommodating 120. Adequate supplies of food, but they had run out of toilet paper.
Our first hazard (apart from the toilets) was black ice, not a problem for us, but those ascending to Pitztaler Jöchl would need to be very careful. It was a lovely descent, with fine views across the cloudy valley to the Kaunergrat. A clucking ring ouzel followed us for part of the way. The route led over unnecessary stemples and past the foot of a waterfall, to a seilbahn used by the hütte to transport supplies, and by alpinistes and E5ers to transport their bags.
Down at Mittelberg, lorries were delivering gondolas for a new cableway. This explained why a road had been driven through a glacier below the Braunschweiger Hütte. Perhaps the Upper Pitztal is being developed for skiers, no doubt with mechanised links to the Ötztal ski areas.
Talking of mechanised links, the E5 route marked on our strip map shows it running down the road from Mittelberg to Wenns with a bus next to it. We caught the 9am bus and enjoyed a 50 minute ride, 750 metres down the valley. Had my research been better, we could have chosen an alternative high level route via Kaunergrathütte, Verpeilhütte and Piller, picking up the normal route three or four days later at Galflunhütte on the way to Zams.
After struggling to find Wenns' enclave of coffee shops recommended by Gillian, we were pointed by a local to 'the only one' - Pitztaler Hof. I'm sure there must be more!
Refreshed, and re-supplied, we set off up some easily rising tracks, tarmaced for a while, with fine views back to Wenns and the lower Ötztal. Black redstarts and pied flycatchers watched as we admired the mountain views beyond the flower laden hutted meadows (pictured).
Lunch was taken just below Larcheralm, then we enjoyed coke and cake at Galflunhütte before heading through marshy ground with bistort and cotton grass.
A thrutchy but brief ascent then deposited us, a good 1500 metres above Wenns, on the summit of Glanderspitz (2512m), on the Venet ridge. The going was much like an English Lake District ridge, but the views were massive. High mountains in a 360 degree sweep, beyond deep valleys over 2000 metres below us.
We signed the visitors book and discovered that the Cambridge pair, Adam and Jane, had passed through just five days earlier, on that wonderfully clear day when we crossed into Austria.
Reluctantly, we headed along the ridge and slowly down to the Krahberg cable-car, which whisked us 1450 metres down to Zams for no charge. This is the E5 route marked on our map and is our last planned mechanical aid of the trip apart from some ferrying around Dornbirn and the journey home.
The 'phone's GPS soon located Haus Kurz, where Rosemarie provided a good value B&B.
We enjoyed an excellent meal at Post Gasthof Gemse, built in 1726 but latterly home to the Haueis family. Hermann's proudly displayed awards relating to Haflinger horses date from 1927 to 1992.
The day closed with pleasant valley vistas on a perfectly calm and clear evening.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange