Thursday 29 March 2012

Silvretta Alps

With perfect blue skies across the Alps and temperatures remaining high, Emma, Matt and I decided to head off for a multi day ski tour knowing that we'd be spared any worries about navigation, cold etc.due to the good weather. We had originally planned to go to the Bernina area, but a number of factors (not least the fact that the huts aren't open yet) made us decide at the last minute to head for the Silvretta area of Austria. The touring in the Silvretta is known as being pretty straightforward, but we figured that by adding peaks and linking days we'd be able to come up with a decent tour, and so it proved. 

We started out in Ishgl, a place about which I'm struggling to say anything positive! The one thing I would say in it's favour is that there is a decent lift system to provide you with 1500m of height gain, and from there you can quickly escape the hungover German skiers hooning around the icy blue runs. 

Over the 4 days we were touring, we stayed at the Heidelberger, Weisbadener and Silvretta Huts, and climbed the Dreilanderspitzer, Piz Buin & Silvrettahorn (amongst others), so no shortage of action.

Overall we all felt that the tour took in some stunning scenery, and some superb peaks, as well as by far and away the best (and best value) huts we'd ever stayed in. The obvious problem  with the tour is that the relatively mellow ascents lead to pretty mellow descents too, so this isn't a tour for the hardcore skiers out there, but if you're looking for comfy huts, stunning scenery, easy but rewarding peaks, and a really enjoyable ski traverse, then look no further. Here's some photos to whet the appetite for a spring of touring - 

You can't go into the hills without a decent breakfast! Bratwurst all round in Ishgl.

Emma and Matt lost in the Ishgl lift sytem.

Emma - style personified.

Matt - too young to die, too fast to live.

The happy couple skiing together.

Matt with his supplies for the 4 days!

Matt nicknamed himself "The Alpine Clown". It's hard to argue.

Matt and Emma skinning up on day 2.

Me at the Zahnjoch, one of the many borders between Austria and Switzerland that we crossed.

Jamtal Hut. The only hut I've ever seen with electric doors!

No need for a helicopter resupply here, all the huts had their own piste basher.

On day 2 we climbed the Dreilanderspitze, which apparently required "moderate climbing skills". A slight understatement.

Matt arriving on top of the Dreilanderspitzer.

That's going to hurt!

Emma skinning up on day 3.

Final scramble to the summit of Piz Buin.

Absoluter Mega Klassiker!

Emma, Matt and I on top of Piz Buin.

It's amazing how much kit you can ditch when you nip up an extra peak at the end of the day.

Me on the summit of the Silvrettahorn.

Matt skiing the Silvrettahorn W face.

And again. Leaning back.....?

Nearly at the Silvretta Hut.

Skiing away from the Silvrettahorn.

Sunset from the Silvretta Hut.

Emma skinning up to the Rote Furkha on the final day.

Looking back across the Silvretta Lake, which we'd just skied across. Slightly worrying given that it was about 15 degrees!

Now that really is skiing back to the van.

One final thing - Germanic nations have the funniest signs and bus company names!!!