Manuel told us the hut gets 9000 visitors in the three and a half month summer season, of which he reckons about 100 are English.
We set off after the E5 throngs, with just Andi and two girls behind us. Soon we were pausing to admire a herd of ibex whose passage across the path had been thwarted by the E5 hordes. We were going back up to the narrow defile of Seescharte, from where we had descended in yesterday's lovely afternoon weather. Today, low cloud blighted the view, though the weather was clearer to the east of the pass.
Here we encountered Jason, a New Zealander who had been staying at Memmingerhütte. Hello Jason, do feel free to contact us for trip advice.
We soon turned off for Württemberger Haus along path 601. It was signposted as 2.5 hours away, but it took us three hours. This was old ground for me. Re-reading our diary from 18 July 1980 may be interesting!
Today's conditions, despite the cloud, which remained above us, were fairly benign. First a lovely belvedere path across a huge scree slope, then some easy scrambling (walking poles stashed) to a col and a minor summit at around 2600 metres on the Großberg ridge. Sue is pictured near here with the contouring path just visible high above her head.
The route continued over a knife edge ridge reminiscent of Snowdon's Crib Goch. Quite exposed at times but never particularly difficult, albeit the most 'technical' section of our trip to date, and aided with fixed wires at one point. Eventually a second summit with a small cross was reached, from near where we could look back to the first summit and watch the two girls happily celebrate their safe arrival there.
Continuing towards Württemberger Haus over more of the same, we took a turn to the left along another knife edge before descending over easy ground before a trickier rock band, then across some steep snow before the gentle 'run in' to the hut on another lovely route across scree.
Something of a nuisance was the light rain that started when we were half way down the rock band and not in a position to don waterproofs. Never mind, we soon got them on, the rain stopped, and by the time we had interrupted a flock of snow finches and reached the hut at 1pm we were pretty much dry again. The two girls, Marieke and Brigitt, from Eindhoven, arrived soon afterwards.
Since then we've been ensconced in the hut, watching some less than pleasant weather outside, on what was supposed to be the best day of the week.
During this time a historical foray revealed the entry in the 1980 visitors book (extract pictured, I have an image of the whole page) that confirms that together with Nick, David (he really didn't have a fixed abode in those days), Ruaridh and Colin, I was in the first group to make it over to Memmingerhütte in 1980, as late as 18 July, and so far as I can remember it was a bit snowier then. I seem to recall Rudolf, from Vienna, giving up because he couldn't find the red marks on the rocks that indicate the route. It was our first visit to the Alps; red marks meant little to us. Having covered the same ground today it seems miraculous that we managed it. It must have been terrifying, though I don't recall it as such. We did after all have ice axes. And massive loads. A bit like the couple with the dog that were amongst the eleven people we met on the path today.
How do you remember it, Nick?
Alex and Konrad, from Memminger (the town, not the hut) joined us and B+M for the afternoon and evening. Happily, the common language is English. Thanks for that, everyone.
The bottom image shows Sue with today's friends - from L to R, Konrad, Alex, Sue, Brigitt and Marieke.
All in all a memorable and nostalgic day in the mountains.
Jules - thanks, weather is now lovely again and the huttes are fine, actually.
Alan R - you'll be interested to hear that the Saucony Hattoris have become objects of desire!
25 July 2012
7km in 4.5 hours with 650m ascent
Rain whilst walking to date: 4 hours
Flower of the Day - Round-leaved Pennycress
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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