Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Lechtal Alps Backpack - Day 2 - An ascent of Muttekopf (2777m)

Sunday 13 July 1980 - diarist: Ruaridh - near Muttekopfhutte to Muttekopfhutte, and the ascent of Muttekopf 

(Nick) Up at 5:30? What a joke! Inter tent rivalry raged. The Vango vagabonds are a load of slug-a-beds. Dave was first up. Nick had a slug-a-billy. And now over to you MacP... 

(Ruaridh) Thank you Grey Nick, now on with the show. 

The generally unattractive veils of cloud hanging across the mountain meant that there was no great surge of enthusiasm to rise, with one exception. While the Dolmetscher was reading the Alpine Guide and discovering that the direct routes to the Steinseehutte were unmarked and unpromising, the rest of the party had their full twelve hours of sleep - "and I'm still knackered" (Colin)

When we had consumed all the breakfast that the caterer would allow us (for the third meal running Colin wanted to have Mars bars (guess who was carrying them) we had no further excuses for not getting up. So we got up! (Dave, as aforementioned, was the first to get up permanently although Martin had made a sortie earlier for the water (and to water)). 

There were differing ideas when we left, about how close to a (previously seen) rubbish bin we were joining the path. Colin took matters in hand, ie - that is how he carried the rubbish up to the hut. Higher up there was a parting of the ways - would we take the direct route or the Schlechtwetterweg? We opted for the latter in view of our loads and the probability that this path would be easier. 

The hut suddenly appeared again, when we were almost upon it, a fairly modern (1966) and welcoming mountain refuge. We went inside to explore and ask for the weather conditions and a forecast. The proprietor was very helpful but did speak rather fast. However, the Dolmetscher did manage to extract the information that it was possible to climb the Muttekopf without rope or crampons, but that (as we had guessed) there was no way we were going to be able to take the direct route to the Steinseehutte.

We shared a litre of tea (35 Sch) while discussing our plan of attack. We decided to climb the Muttekopf, leaving our packs in a store room in the hut, and next day taking the valley route to the Hanauer Hutte (via Boden). 

Colin generously volunteered his rucksack as a daysack and we trogged off up the muddy track as it started to drizzle (the weather that is, not the track!). We soon crossed the snow line, and as we paused under a large rock eating our cheese, the drizzle turned to snow. The snow grew heavier as we climbed. The going was rather slow as Nick felt a bit under the weather (mind you, we all felt the weather above us - as well as around us!). 

At the col (Muttekopfscharte) Martin writhed in the mud trying to extricate himself from the hip belt of Colin's rucksack. Needless to say, Colin was overjoyed at the new style! We caught a glimpse of the cross on the summit in a momentary thinning of the cloud. Thus heartened we sped onwards in a blaze of glory (well snow actually). 

We paused just long enough to eat Mars bars and sign the visitor's book at the cross (erected by the young farmers of Imst in 1961). As best we could tell no other English people had been up there (although there was an English sentence in the book).

Martin took a group photo and we made tracks for home.

Back at the col, it was more sheltered and we sat down and slid down the snow - clearly bobsleighing can be fun! The last bit back to the hut in the drizzle was messy to say the least - the slipperyest mud you have ever seen. 

A hose was thoughtfully provided for cleaning boots, gaiters, etc, before going inside. The proprietor came out and asked us what it was like. "Nicht so gut, but we enjoyed it". He invited us in to dry off. 

It did not take us long to succumb to the idea of having a main meal here and staying the night. It was pleasant to sit with another litre of tea as we waited for the meal to be cooked from scratch - none of your prepared foods or microwave ovens here! Dave and Martin had Goulash with Knodel (Knodel turned out to be a sort of dumpling with chunks of ham in it); Colin and Nick had a Ragout, and Ruaridh went native with Wurst, Sauerkraut and Kummelbrot. We could not resist the temptation of Apfelstrudel, and it came piled high with cream. 

We were shown to our Matratzenlager (Damenlager!), a room for five to ourselves. The loo next door was quite unusual; one whole wall was a rock face. The place certainly had atmosphere! 

Nick stunned everyone when he swapped his soggy breeches for shorts. The hut was certainly cheaper than we had expected a hut to be - 30 Sch (£1) a night per Matratzenlage, and 40-55 Sch for a meal, when we considered that everything had to be brought up from the valley by the Seilbahn. 

We amused ourselves with writing postcards / diaries and reading a German phrase book, and 'The Rise and Fall of the British Manager'. Just before 8 pm, the proprietor brought us his radio, so we could hear the news and weather forecast. A big groan as we discovered that the bad weather would continue. Small comfort that the weather was unusually bad, as elsewhere in Europe. A comment in English from another listener revealed a Dutchman - working with ICI no less, at the plant that Colin has twice visited. This naturally set off a conversation on who was in charge of which section and how ICI were doing with polyurethane. 

Martin made a mess with his beer, and Ruaridh tried out a Schiewasser, a refreshing squash drink.

                                        Today's route - 6 km with 1000 metres ascent

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