Thursday, 26 July 2018
'Summer in the Alps' Day 25 - Stuttgarter Hütte (2310 metres) to Leutkircher Hütte (2251 metres) via Fanggokar Spitz (2640 metres) and Bodenalp (1554 metres)
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Last night's dormitory accommodation was fine, and the company was good. We spent the evening with Francesca from Berlin, and Peter from Stuttgart, who we'd encountered earlier, was nearby.
We set off at 8am on another sunny morning, and after admiring tonight's hut supper (second picture) we soon reached Erli Joch. Sue wanted to go to the nearby summit of Fanggokar Spitz (2640 metres) as she has decided to bag as many Alpine Summits as she can. If I ever get around to bagging a second round of summits I won't need to visit this one. I can't specifically remember my previous visit on 16 July 1987. I probably managed the scree slope ascent more easily than I did today, albeit nobody used walking poles in 1987.
The descent to Erli Joch and thence steeply but easily to Erlach Alm did however yield views towards a vivid memory - the site of an impossible looking path number 644 that negotiates steep gullies below Fallersteis-Spitz. In 1987 we made our way to the start of the precipitous traverse before declining its attractions. Today I declined even that walk to the start.
Sue and I walked down the valley to Bodenalp, where we enjoyed coffees and apfelstrudel. It was a pleasant valley walk with good views and no obstacles apart from the occasional mountain biker. They must just cycle up the valley to Erlach Alm and enjoy free wheeling back down; I can't fathom any other routes.
From Bodenalp the path rose on a steep but well-graded path through woods, then shrubbery, and finally across richly flowered alpine meadows, to Leutkircher Hütte. Peter, who had set off on the higher route at the same time as we had taken the valley route, arrived just after us at around 2pm. (Wow! A six hour day!)
A pot of tea and some frankfurters with bread went down well, and we greeted a Dutch quartet who had braved the precipices of path 644.
Francesca and another girl managed the difficulties with ease and have continued on to the Kaiserjoch Hütte.
Incidentally, our esteemed guide book writer, Alan Proctor, dismisses both our route and path 644 simply by stating that the route takes three to four hours, and path 645 via the Ulmer Hut is more interesting and picturesque. Closer reading reveals "There are some sections graded on this route as very difficult".
All in all, the Kalkalpen Traverse, known these days as 'The Eagle Way', seems to have quite a number of tricky sections.
That's all for now. The guardian here is very friendly and has admitted that tonight will be a bit of a challenge as he has a surfeit of guests, some of whom are being directed to the winter room. Mattresses and blankets, and dinner, will be provided. It's warm and breezy outside. Our washing has dried already. A group of 15 people with a leader who is having to explain hut etiquette has just arrived....
Today: 14 km, 1200 metres ascent
Morning outside Stuttgarter Hütte
Hut chickens hoovering up last night's spillages
On Fanggokar Spitz (2640 metres)
Tea outside Leutkircher Hütte