After a rain filled night we woke up to a misty morning and a hearty breakfast. The drying room did an impressive job and all of yesterday’s washing was dry. By the time we were ready to go the sun was burning off the mist and another glorious day beckoned.
We’d got roughly a mile up the path when Fiona realised that she had left her waterproof coat back at the hut. I left my bag with the others and jogged back to the hut to retrieve coat surprising a few other walkers as I eventually passed them for the third time as I made my way back up the mountain again. The others had continued up towards Seescharte (2762m) with Iain and Graham taking it in turns to carry my pack. I caught up with them not far from the col (Seescharte) where we would have the option to either continue onto Wilder Freiger which would involve crossing the glacier or make it into a short day and drop straight down to the Sulzenau Hut via the Gruenausee.
As the Wilder Freiger would be an out and pack option, Fiona, Graham and myself opted to stash our some of our contents from the packs away under some rocks. Iain preferred to keep all of his kit on him – probably levelled the playing field. After a bit of refuelling we made our way south towards the glacier and Wilder Freiger. I was still approaching this with a fair bit of trepidation and more expecting to turn back at some point. We gradually climbed up towards 3000m and crossed a couple of flat snowfields. After the second one it got notably rockier and steeper. It still looked very doable and the views were amazing from this high up. We were getting closer to the main glacier and it looked steep. I’d made my mind up that I wasn’t going to be going over that. Iain and Graham on the other hand felt it was nothing they wouldn’t have done in Scotland. Fiona fancied it too. I’d made it to over 3100m and was happy with that. I settled down to watch their preparations and then also to take some pictures of their ascent.
There was a big group preparing for their ascent which seemed to take them ages as they all got roped up. Fiona, Graham and Iain didn’t have a rope, just their ice axes. The 3 of them walked through the big group and started their ascent. Well, it was a contour across the snow field first before the actual ascent. Once it steepened though Fiona stalled and decided that the steepness was too much for her too. She contoured back across and Iain and Graham continued their ascent. An example on how varied the approaches to this glacier field were proved when an old chap walked past us with walking poles only. He also walked past the big group and overtook a number of people on the glacier climb too. It probably proved that as glaciers go this one isn’t particularly challenging, but also that this guy had been up there many a time.
When Fiona returned to where I was waiting we made our way down. Before we got back to Seescharte we made a short detour onto the Gamsspitzl (3050m) which gave us some extra views of the Wilder Freiger. We had agreed that if Fiona and my stored baggage had been removed from Seescharte then Graham and Iain would know that we’d progressed to the hut and with that Fiona and I grabbed our stuff and started our descent. We had our eye on a nice picnic stop at the Gruenau lake which looked very blue. The descent proved trickier than expected with another snowfield and a lengthy boulder field. Sadly by the time we reached the lake the sun had gone and the wind had picked up. Our lakeside picnic was short lived. As we continued on to the hut crossing huge moraine barriers we could see the other 2 following us down the mountain.
What seemed like it could have been quite a short day turned into a fairly long one and the hut looked quite futuristic on approach although once inside it still had a Tyrolean feel to it. We got to stay in the annex which made it very rustic. Luckily there was no really bad weather for when we went for dinner or lunch. As the other 2 arrived the sun returned and we could sit outside and enjoy our choice of beers whilst listening to Iain and Graham’s account of the Wilder Freiger climb before heading indoors for dinner. Apparently it was all pretty straight forward. I’ll try and get either one of them to right a short bit on their part of the day.
After dinner we played a rather endless game of ludo – the table next to us made us do it – before heading off to bed. Tomorrow would be another day with more than one option to choose from but I think we were finding a bit of rhythm and the body was finding routine in the walk. This was the half way point. Today I covered 10.9km incl. the run back to the Nuernberger Hut which most likely means that the others did similar having included Wilder Freiger. My ascent for the day was 1100m and we spent 7:40 hours out on the mountain.
Click on these links for the previews parts of the walk: