10 members took part in this year’s ski- mountaineering trip which explored the Oetztal Alps in Austria. We travelled by various means and met in Oetz. A day in the sun on the pistes of Solden set the scene, although the tour started from Obergurgl a little further up the valley. From here we skinned up to the Langtalereck Hut. A day of snow and mist saw us attempt the Hohe Wilde (3482m) with three members getting to the summit. We then moved on to the Martin Busche Hut, a long, hard day of 12 hours, involving ski, ropes, crampons, compass and GPS. A broken binding prolonged our stay here whilst a replacement was flown in by helicopter! Two peaks were visited, Kreuzspitz (3407m) and Similaun (3606m). The descent from the latter was enlivened by Claire skiing into a crevasse! However she was rescued by the team, none the worse for wear.
We then crossed to the Hochjoch Hospitz via the col where Oetzi the iceman was found, taking in the very fine peak of the Fineilspitz (3516m) on the way. We were unable to reserve beds at the Vernacht Hut, and as the Braunsweiger hut no longer opens in winter, we descended to Vent, some via the Gulsparspitz (3118m), others down the very scenic gorge. After a night in Oetz, with showers and a pizza, we drove round to Piztal, and skinned up the Wildspitz (3770m) from the top of the uplift. The whole team getting to the highest point of the Tyrol before the grande finale of a descent down the Tascachtal all the way to the bar! It was a very successful tour, the only downside of which was the overcrowded huts. These days you really need to book every hut well in advance.
The team: Dave Buchanan ,Roger Gott, Ian & Debbie Johnson, Nigel Lyle, Dave Rundall, Bernard, Josie & Claire Smith, Richard Toon.