We woke after a good sleep amongst folk who understand the etiquette of life in a mountain hut. Breakfast was provided on a plate so large that we could each make a ham, cheese and jam sandwich for lunch out of what we couldn't eat.
By 8.15 we were ready to go, after friendly exchanges with others who had spent the night at the hut. Brigitt and Marieke were taking the sporting 631 route to Madau, whilst Alex and Konrad were heading down the scenic descent to Zams. Work loomed for them all.
Nobody else appeared to be heading in our direction. We were continuing along the magnificent path 601, which also doubles as the European E4 route, which doesn't seem to be as popular as E5. A rising path with fine views back to the hut and yesterday's descent route (pictured), led to some steep ground over which we knew some children had arrived yesterday. Nevertheless, this path was not for wimps! By nine-o'clock we'd risen 250 metres to Gebäud-Jochl and were in admiration of those children, who probably managed the loose scree above vertiginous drops better than I did. It was a lovely calm, sunny summer's day, though, and I enjoyed the challenge. Sue of course romped it.
Beyond the jochl, from where Steinseehütte was visible in the distance, a lovely contouring path led past snow finches and marmots, with myriads of gentians, orchids and a whole range of other alpine flowers, providing bright splashes of colour to complement the fine rock scenery.
We spotted someone behind us. A man with a staff. He passed, and we followed him up to the next 'col', 2400 metre Roßkarscharte, again over some vaguely technical ground, aided in places by steel wires.
After the breathtakingly steep climb we were rewarded with breathtakingly wide views to the eastern Lechtal peaks and Steinseehütte a few hundred metres below us.
By now we had made a new friend - Heiko, from Cologne - on holiday here, wandering the hills for a few days before taking his elderly parents home. He is of course pictured with Sue on Roßkarscharte, in one of several images gained during exchanges of cameras in this scenic spot.
Whilst Heiko went on ahead, we took our time to enjoy the belvedere to Steinseehütte, via a vertiginous passage through a narrow band of rock, which we eventually reached at 11.45. Schiwassers (raspberry flavoured water) in the sun provided the perfect rehydration fluid.
We lingered a while. After all, we were on holiday, the weather was perfect, and a pretty yellow signpost informed us that today's destination was only two and a half hours away.
Eventually we left Heiko to dry his washing and after looking back to our route down from the narrow band of rock (pictured - we arrived via the lowest point on the horizon) we headed off past fine looking Haflingers to cross into a valley to the north, via what is now known as Vord. Dremelscharte. (My old map says 'Westl Dremelscharte.)
After climbing about 250 metres we stopped for lunch - the butties made a welcome change from tuna salad. Steinsee glittered in the sun below us, with a fine mountain backdrop.
Then it was a steep ascent to the scharte, aided for the final 100 metres of ascent by the longest wire of the trip. I hauled myself up whilst Sue tried to use the rocks, some of which she sent in my direction. It was very loose, but not difficult. The top revealed yet more vistas, and a couple descending from a side route that's not on my map. We saw virtually nobody other than them and Heiko and a couple ascending Roßkarscharte today.
Hanauer Hütte lay in bright sunlight over 500 metres below us, thankfully over easy ground, Dolomitic in character. We spent the final hour of the day's walk descending to the jingle of cow bells, with black redstarts being agitated by gliding ravens.
Reaching Hanauer Hütte at 2.45, we really needed to wash ourselves and our clothes, the limited opportunities for such formalities having been ignored since leaving Zams three days ago. There was some puzzlement when we said we had booked, but production of an email seemed to help matters. We were allocated to room number 6, which we hoped wouldn't be a camp bed in the winter room.
Beer and tea respectively were needed to fuel us for the chores. Others arrived and disappeared to claim their beds, so we did the same. I couldn't really believe my eyes when I opened the door to room 6. Bunk beds (2), a sink with hot and cold water, a power point! Sadly no en-suite, but what could we expect for €11 each! Absolutely brilliant - this 1896 hut has been superbly refurbished and has moved well into the 21st century. We even got chicken for dinner.
Alan R - thanks for the HTC offer but I plan to stay with the Orange devil I know. My contract has expired so I can renegotiate. Samsung is the current favourite.
And you know very well from your huge number of followers that many people value your postings on gear etc!
26 July 2012
10km in 6.5 hours with 1000m ascent
Flower of the Day - Alpine Butterwort
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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