|My visit to Austria (July 2012)|
|On the lower summit of Brunschkopf above Seefeld with the pointed summit of the Reither Spitze (2347m) in the background. This was my target for the afternoon|
|En route to the Reither Spitze|
I've just returned from an alpine holiday in Seefeld in the Austrian Tyrol, near the German Border. On this trip I was accompanied by my wife Judy and three members of our family. My brother in law from York drove us to Austria and we used the Hull - Zeebrugge boat crossing operated by P&O.
The highlight of our holiday in the alpine region were the days spent enjoying walking on the Seefeld Plateau with my family at the 1000m level, and the four days I spent walking in the Karwendel and Wetterstein areas on the German side at the 2000m+ level. I have some memorable experiences and photographs particularly of the Karendel Klettersteig high level walk. (See later blog entry).
In my first week at Seefeld I purchased the local walking map (1:25000 scale) and completed ascents on the Austrian side of the border of Brunschkopf (1498m) and Reither Spitze (2374m) both on the same day.
Whilst climbing to the summit of the Reither Spitze I became aware of a familiar bird call I had last heard when walking in the Isle of Man. When the birds came close to me I realised these were the yellow beaked, red footed birds known as Chuffs, and one got very close to my seated position when I was operating my short wave radio for Summits On The Air (SOTA).
|A Chuff on Reither Spitze summit - the Nordlinger Climbing Hutte can be seen on the right side|
|Summit Cross - Reither Spitze|
My time had been limited after I walked back into Seefeld from my first summit of the day of Brunschkopf so I took the Rosshutte Funicular Railway and Harmelkopf cable car to within a 45 minute climb of the Reither Spitze summit. When I reached the tall summit cross via the signposted route (a few wires to hold on to and one ladder to climb - easy scrambling) I realised the cross was made of galvanised steel (I expected it to be wood) and was guyed down in four places. I signed the visitors book in the metal box and then set up my short wave antenna by mounting it around 8 feet up on the cross.
|Speaking to Radio Ham friends in Yorkshire using Morse Code and Voice from the 2374m high Reither Spitze in the Austrian Tyrol|
The summit top was most compact, so much care was needed to secure my 46 feet long wire dipole antenna on what was an extremely precipitous peak. Once set up I completed 43 contacts in Morse and Voice.
|A ridge and valley over 1000m below me on the summit of Reither Spitze|
I left the summit at around 1715 local time to start my long descent via the Nordlinger German Climbing Hut (no time to stop for refreshments). The route was signposted at some path junctions, but I went wrong in one place and descended around 200m in error finishing up in impassable shrubbery. This meant I had to climb back up the mountainside to cross a gully. Whilst climbing back up I got a severe attack of cramp in my left leg, the intense pain creased me and I fell backwards thanks to my heavy pack, losing my glasses in the process! Thankfully they were found and after a rest and a drink of water I proceeded on.
|Typical route signage in the Austrian Alps - brilliant for walkers|
I weighed up my options at this point and decided to pick my way carefully down along the left side of a stream. There was no evidence that anyone had walked this way before, however I knew I was heading downhill on a good bearing for Seefeld. After around one hour the path I had lost on my way down from the Norlinger Hutte was eventually regained.
On my walk down from the Reither Spitze I was most thankful I had my pair of Leki Walking Poles, they really made a difference. After three hours of almost non stop descent I arrived back at my hotel in Seefeld at 2015. The effect of the severe cramp left my leg calf muscle sore for three days, so I concentrated on low level walking with my family for the rest of the week and a few motoring trips, one when we ventured over the Timmelsjoch Pass (2474m) into Italy and visited the ski resort of Obergurgl which was very quiet tourist wise, but I noticed there were several cable cars and chair lifts working to take walkers to the higher more exciting alpine level. I obtained a leaflet for the lifts in case I ever return there.
My next walking adventure which was unknown to me turned into a climbing adventure when I went over the border into Germany, one week after this walk. This turned out to be a spectacular walk and an even longer day than this one when I climbed across the Mittenwalder Klettersteig. I did not know what I was to face..... More to follow in my blog later.....