- schafsiedel ski touring -

Around 1500m Ski touring is a relatively new experience for me. I’m starting to understand why we are seeing and hearing more and more about ski tourers over the last few years. The tranquility and sense of achievement can be out of this world. Oh, and you also don’t have to buy a lift pass!

Ski touring in April has it’s pros and cons. The weather is often warm and sunny which is pretty much needed for a fun and enjoyable four hour tour. However, the risk of avalanche is unfortunately much higher in this warm period. With this constant threat, it is imperative to be out of bed and on the skis no later than 6ish (our tour had a low altitude start 1144m). Unfortunately we weren’t quite so sprightly in the morning and set off late. The initial climb winds its way through a wood, alongside a mountain river. Unbelievably beautiful, with snow / ice bridges created across the river at various crossing points. The number of times I took the excuse to whip out the camera and snap away was testimony to the awe I was feeling at our chosen path. No sign posts, just others tracks

After an hours climbing, we came out through the woods and were greeted to a beautiful blue sky and summer like temperatures (I am English after all!). Next stop was to be Neue Bamburger Hütte at 1761m.

From here on in we reluctantly came to the conclusion that the full ascent to Schafsiedel at 2447m wasn’t going to be possible. The irony being that normally I’d turn back because of adverse weather conditions (on various hikes I’ve been on), i.e. high winds or driving rain. The weather couldn’t be nicer, clear blue skies, no wind, but unfortunately that threat of avalanches was still milling around our heads. We decided to climb to just over 2000m near Wildalmsee before stopping for a well earned bite to eat. As the conditions were even hotter than forecast, we both decided the descend would be best on the north facing side of the mountain on as flat as possible slopes.

There are a few different routes that could be used for the ski downhill, we chose the summer walking route. Even on this route there were a number of recent avalanches (4-5 days old) that we had to cross. Crossing an old avalanche Hard icy skiing, mixed with wet sticky patches made the descent not the most enjoyable I’ve ever done but we’ll learn from it. We will definitely be back to Schafsiedel and next time it will be a much earlier start. Simple rules, respect the mountain, get up early and slap on the suncream. Ski touring takes you into the mountains like no other winter sport and gives me such great opportunities for photography that I know I’ll be returning time and time again.