Another lovely day in the Zillertal Alps. We rendezvoused with Sue and Dave on the crowded 9.30 bus from the railway station up to Schlegeisspeicher. An interesting 1100 metre ascent, including a 15 minute wait at one tunnel entrance and 7 minutes at another.
We were soon heading up route 502 towards the Olperer Hut - a 600 metre climb taking from 10.45 to 12.45. The steep, zigzag path was well graded with a good number of people on it.
We took an easy pace but made reasonable time. M and J's backpacks were lighter than on the previous attempt as we only had one day's food, and many other items had been discarded - left in Sue and Dave's room in the pension earlier in the day.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on a high spot above the hut, before continuing on over fairly rough ground to Friesenberghaus at 2477 metres, after reaching a high point at around 2650 metres and descending steeply to the lake (in a rocky bowl, not suitable for camping) and fairly deserted hut.
Drinks and apfelstrudel were enjoyed here, on the Berliner Hohenweg route. [Sue and I walked that route in its entirety the following year.]
After the 40 minute break at the hut, Dave and Sue left us at 4.10 pm to descend by route 532 - 'a beautiful descent' they later reported, after getting down in plenty of time for the last bus at 17.55.
The three of us carried on for 50 minutes, admiring trumpet gentians along the way.
We crossed the ridge that goes up to Hoher Riffler, with fine views.
A small lake, Wesendkarsee, 2350 metres, was reached at 5 pm. The going had been rough but we were pleased to find some flattish spots for the tents. I had camped here before, on 9 August 1993. There is also a good flat spot, hidden from the path until further east, about 100 metres SE of the lake. [Now in 2017, these observations are sadly rather academic as wild camping is no longer permitted in Austria.]
The weather was lovely. We lingered outside for an al fresco meal until a few drops of rain drove M and J into their tent, but well after the sun had vanished over the peaks to the west. It was very quiet. The high cable car on Gefrorene Wand was now hidden, and whilst Sue and Dave's evening in Mayrhofen was blighted by disappointed German soccer fans (they lost to Italy in the World Cup semi-finals) until 3 am, we had a lovely calm, quiet, starry night. At 9ºC it was a bit cool for Julie, who needed clothes on, and their superbly positioned site turned out to be 'a bit lumpy'. Never mind!
During the evening two oldish men hobbled past on their way to Friesenberghaus. They were absolutely knackered. When we spoke to them in English they just waved us away. It's obviously a long day from Gams Hutte.
Today we walked about 8 km, with 850 metres ascent, in a little under 5 hours plus breaks.