Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Austria - Day 4
1200 metres ascent
Overnight rain hammered on the windows again, but it had cleared by the time we woke to a cloudy day.
However, after a good breakfast and happily laden with packed lunches, we set off at 8 o'clock in brightening conditions to the first pass of the day, Kalser Tauern. Near the top, a patch of steep snow encouraged Cary to don his crampons for the first time this trip.
By the time we had descended sharply past a herd of thirty or so ibex, to a river crossing that elicited four different crossing routes, it was hot and sunny enough for shorts to be donned instead of the gaiters some of us had deployed in expectation of soft snow.
Some time later, after we had gained another 200 metres and were approaching the Spinnevitrol saddle, Sue realised she had left her Fitbit where she had changed into shorts.
Decisions! Eventually Sue elected to return to try to find the gadget, which was rather closer than I had been to my sunglasses when I returned for them in the Apennines last year. Cary and Susan would continue along the route, and I would wait with Sue's rucksack until she returned, in what I guessed would be over an hour.
It was a lovely alpine meadow in which to linger. Clouds were coming and going, with the sun doing its best to take control before fighting a battle with the poor weather that was forecast for later in the day.
Exactly an hour later, Sue returned, a bit puffed and with her Fitbit. Good decision to go back.
We spent the rest of the day on lovely high alpine paths all the way to Sudetendeutsche Hütte. A couple of wired sections and some relatively easy river crossings added a bit of spice.
Two shepherds with a large flock of sheep were encountered. We waited for them to pass before chatting to the second shepherd. He had two of the scary white mountain dogs and talked of a trial project. Are they experimenting with the reintroduction of wolves?
Excluding the hour it took Sue to reclaim her Fitbit, today's walk took just seven hours, half an hour longer for Cary and Susan, who finished half an hour ahead of us. They could see us coming and by the time we arrived, a beer, a tea and two pieces of cake were waiting for us at the picnic table.
Today's pictures start with a view back to Rudolfs Hut and finish with a view to Sudetendeutsche Hütte. Purple saxifrage also features, together with a herd of ibex and Sue and Susan in the snow near Grossglockner, which had its hat on today.
And it didn't rain until nearly 5.30! Before clearing to a lovely evening.