1200m ascent, 2000 descent, 17.5km 7hrs
Technically speaking today is Day 12 as yesterday, Day 11, was spent stranded in the 'hut' at Pfitscher Joch on the border between Italy and Austria. Staying there was a bit strange as we got stranded there 2 years ago on another walk. The hut has finished its upgrade since then and is now a splendid place but the people running it are just the same. They include a very kind but unfortunately enormous lady who never moves from her stool behind the cash machine. It was weird staying there. Just like last time we spent the whole day in a building in a dense shroud of mist being lashed by rain. The situation felt potentially never ending, as if the world had come to an end.
At 7 this morning little had changed. We were still surrounded by mist. By the third cup of coffee however the sky was blue and the views fantastic. After paying a very reasonable bill to the big lady we made our grateful farewells and were following Italian waymarks (euro standard white and red rather than Austrian flag standard red white red) down the hill.
|Gentians (I think)|
The target was the Gliderschartl, a 2644m pass reached after a long climb up a valley. If all went well we were scheduled for amazing views of the Hochfiëler (also known as the Gran Pilastro) 3509m and the Hoher Weisszint (also known as the Punta Bianca) 3371m and their associated glaciers.
|Just over the Gliderschartl (2644m)|
As we left the hut some ominous clouds were dropping over the mountain tops and by the time we reached the start of the long climb up the rain was pouring down. We hesitated as snow was falling higher up and we had this enormous pass to cross. In the end though we just couldn't face another day of inactivity and pressed on.
|Dropping down to Obere Engbergalm|
It turned out to be a good decision and by the time we got nearer the pass (after 90 minutes of heavy rain) the sun was out and we could see the Hoher Weisszint (also known as the Punta Bianca) in all its snow covered glory.
|Heading to Dun|
We didn't hang around long at the top (a desolate wind sweep place), particularly because after all the rain Christine's feet were cold and wet again, but charged down into the stunning valley beyond.
The reputation of the alm on the valley side for food and sustenance was overrated and after getting cold waiting for a coffee we pressed on down the valley. As we approached Dun we found a nice place to stop and broke into our emergency rations.
The rest of the walk was pleasant but uneventful and by 3.30 we were drinking beer on the terrace outside our hotel. The news from home was that the mighty Spurs were 3 nil up at half time so, in the end, a great day.