The TOP of the mountain!
We made it! Yes, Kristof and myself went on a ski trail and got to the summit of the Wimbachkopf situated in a height of 2442 meters! You want to know how we made it? Well then, keep on reading!
Traditionally for the carnival holidays, we travel down to Austria for a whole week of snow, mountains, ski and fun! This year again, we went to the small village of Aschau, situated in the well-known Austrian winter sport resort Fuegen/Hochfügen & Kaltenbach, in the entrance of the Zillertal Valley. As it was our third time, we did know the ski area very well and this year we wanted to discover something different, something we hadn’t done yet. Discussing about this issue with the ski teacher of our kids, he proposed us to go on a ski trail with a professional mountain guide… Was I even fit enough to survive such a trip? No problem for Kristof, who is regularly exercising, but me?!? After a short discussion, the booking was made!
On sunny Tuesday morning (perfect weather for our trip), we hurried to be on time at our meeting point with our mountain guide, Daniel Kopp, at the ski rental shop. Daniel looked very professionnal and seemed to be a patient teacher, that gave me back my confidence. He explained us all the new stuff we had to wear. We had to hire a whole equipment consisting of special skis (not forgetting the skins) and shoes as well as of a backpack filled with shovel and avalanche transceivers (which offer the best chance of rapidly locating buried skiers and must be worn by every member of the party)…
With all this equipment we made our way to the central ski station, situated at 1738 meters on the mountain, from there on we got down a slope on our skis before getting up again with a lift to access our starting point at around 1900 meters. We made our way off the official slopes and into the wild nature. After some meters, we had to stop and take off our skis. It was time to stick the special skins on the bottom of our skis: if you want to walk uphill, the skis need to prevent from sliding down. Some time ago, real animal skins were used as climbing aids, today the synthetic fibre industry provides a kind of carpet glued underneath the skis preventing the skis to slide down.
Now the rise of the mountain on our skis could begin… What a wonderful moment, leaving the noise full traffic of the official slopes behind us, only hearing the wind and feeling our own breath down our chest. It was as if we were in the middle of a snowy nowhere with only the blue sky and the sun around us.
Daniel, our mountain guide, was the first one to create the track. Kristof and I had to follow him, if possible, in the same track. In the beginning it was quite easy to keep up with the guys. The way was not climbing too much. Looking around, the view was only stunning. It was amazing to be like this in the middle of nature, where we were the only humans.
At some point the mountain got steeper and after some time, I felt some troubles following the guys. We had to make a break, drink some water and eat a piece of chocolate to get some more energy to get through the rest of the way…
The whole trail took us about 120 minutes to gain around 600 meter altitude to reach the summit of the Wimbachkopf, the goal of our ramble.
From the summit, the view was only stunning! All around us were the mighty Tyrolean Mountains.
On the summit was fixed the mountain cross on whose bottom was fixed a letterbox containing the traditional summit book. The little poem in the book asks the travelers for some nice words: “Who writes in this summit book, we ask for cleanliness. And only write nice in this book, no insult and no curse. This requires the mountain comradeship, the entry makes you only honour.”
After having written some kind words in the book and having taken the traditional summit picture, it was time again to leave this wonderful place before the snow was beginning to get too sticky with the sun. We had to take off the skins; we no longer needed those brakes.
Slowly and paying attention, we one by one climbed down until we reached the right place to fix our skis. Now came the moment we’ve worked so hard for the whole morning: it was time to trace our own tracks downhill in the untouched snow.
What a thrill! The first time in our life’s, we’ve got the opportunity to slide down on this wonderful and untouched snow. What a feeling! For one time it was we who were drawing those tracks downhill we normally only use to admire from afar, paying attention not to cross the other tracks otherwise we would have to offer a drink to that skier!
The downhill ride was really great! But it ended too fast!
Now it was once again time to put on those skins, paying attention that no snow was getting between the skis and the skin. And we began once again to climb the mountain on our skis. This time the way was not so long, but I started to get tired. Even the guys seemed to slow down. They were stopping regularly, discussing a lot about avalanches and nature.
Our way now was to get out of the valley uphill to the Kristallhütte, one of the coolest ski lodges ever, to get some well-deserved lunch! Holding on to the idea of drinking a nice Hugo as a reward for my efforts made me give the strength to get uphill…
If you are interested in the Kristallhütte, then read Kristof’s review on our Gourmet menu we’ve eaten there this year!
For those of you interested in more stories about ski trails, check the Pisten Blog by Stéphanie Souron!