Day 16 Antholz Mitteral

Had originally planned to stay in Ahornach but we are now a day behind schedule and the hotel we had booked could no longer find us a room. So yesterday we came down to Sand in Taufers where there were plenty of hotels to choose from.

Gelltalam Meadow

This morning Christine went by bus to Welsberg where tomorrow we are stopping for a rest day. I went back up the valley to rejoin the Via Alpina at Rein for a day's walking on my own.

Looking down to the Reintal Valley
Very straightforward route - up a valley, over a pass and down the other side. Great walk though distinguished by the height of the pass, 2,800 metres, the highest so far, and the precipitous descent on the other side.
Gemsbichjoch Pass
Really enjoyed the climb, pacing myself against other walkers on the trail. After the usual walk up through trees there was a lovely open stretch of upland pasture set in an amphitheatre of cliffs. These cliffs somehow had to be breached and the final part of the ascent involved a seemingly endless climb up through scree and across boulders. Yesterday's bright sunny weather had given way to more cloudy conditions but this added to the drama of the pass with its glacier and tall overhanging rusty coloured cliffs.

Descent beyond the Rieserfernhutte
The Rieserfernerhutte is yet another hutte in an amazing location, right on top of the pass with great views in all directions. Italian, with good food but everything operating more slowly than the pace I had got used to in Austria.

The descent on the other side was almost vertical with steps and ropes guiding you down the first two hundred metres. There was evidence everywhere of earlier iterations of the route as one path after another succumbed to a landslide.

Towering Magerstein
It was a long way down, 1400 metres, and maybe I went a little fast. By the time I got to Antholz Mitteral the tendons in my ankles were stinging.

The original plan based on the Via Alpina schedule involved staying at Antholz Mitteral and then walking next day to Saint Martin before catching the bus to Welsberg. Because we were a day behind plan we decided to miss that day out and I caught the bus at Antholz Mitteral instead.

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