First time in Tirol – Similaun

Every single bank holiday within a week makes me happy. This year July 5th is Tuesday. Taking day off on Monday will make 4 day weekend. However my plans are bit bigger. Lets take the vacation for the rest of the week. With 6 days you can travel much further. I wanted to spend those 6 day in Dolomites or in Tirol. Decision maker is weather as always. On Monday we have agreed we are going to Austria. We plan to climb Similaun (3 606 m / 11 831 ft) and Wildspitze (3 770m / 12 162 ft). Wildspitze is second highest summit in Austria after Grossglockner, where I have been last autumn. Similaun belongs to top ten. On our way back we plan to reach Zugspitze(2 962 m / 9 718 ft) summit – highest point in Germany.

For my girlfriend it will be first ascent to altitude over 3 000 m / 10 000 ft. First of all, we have to travel about 700 kilometers to reach Vent village. From the beginning it was me, Lucka and Vlado traveling. In Innsbruck we have picked up Renata. Shortly before 2 am, I am parking the car under cable car, which bring hikers closer to Wildspitze. It is time to pack all the stuff and enjoy the coffee.

Today we have to gain about 1 100 m / 3600 ft in altitude. We have to reach Similaun hut (3 019 m / 9 905 ft) via Martin Busch hut (2 501 m / 8 205 ft). By slow and easy walk it takes us less than 4 hours. Weather was good all day so we can enjoy the hike and beauty of Tirol. During our way to the hut, we were able to identify Similaun summit. We have spend night in 8 beds room. Me and Lucka had breakfast to have energy for the ascent.

On Wednesday we have to wake up early. Plan is to leave the hut at 7 am. In reality it is 30 minutes later. Few meters from the Similaun hut glacier starts. This is the place where we put on all necessary equipment and are linked by one rope for safety. All the way to the summit it is easy hiking. Regular walking path on glacier. No climbing at all. I am bit disappointed from my self, because I am obviously slowest person in group. One group is already going down from the summit. We have to walk for couple more minutes.

Similaun ofers great views to all directions. With help of map an local guide we can identify some of the peaks around us. As always on top, I can take of Similaun from my to do list and add couple more peaks. I want to go everywhere :). We spend on the summit at least 30 minutes. Weather is great, views are stunning, no wind.

It doesn`t matter if we want to go down or not. We have to go, taking same path. Almost all the way down, we see how we are getting closer and closer to the hut. Descent is really fast and. At Similaun hut we are having a lunch and enjoy view from terrace. Nobody want to leave the place, but we have plenty of walking ahead.

Directly from the terrace we need to ascent steep rocks toward Hauslabjoch saddle (3 279 m / 10 758 ft). I planed this hike this way because of two reasons. It is place where where Otzi – frozen man have been found and it is easiest way how to reach next valley. From the saddle we can see where we are going. Again we are going thru glacier. Till its end we will lost only 300 m / 1 000 ft in altitude. There is crossroad, from where we can reach Sakogel (3 360 m / 11 024). Nobody really want to go up, so we keep going down

We need to descent to altitude about 2 300 m / 7 550 ft and from where it is again up about 100 m / 300 ft to Hochojoch Hospiz (2 412 m / 7 913 ft). I ques it will take 60 to 90 minutes. At least this is what I am telling to Lucka, who is having small crises. She don`t see light at the end of tunnel. In our case she do not see the Hochjoch Hospiz hut. In the meantime I hope it will not take much longer than 2 hours to reach the hut and my girlfriend is not going to check how long actually does it takes.

During descent I hear bells. It must be cows and I thing I can see one of them. They are to far I left my glasses in car. It is more guessing from me. Anyway it turns out those animals are sheep. My girlfriend starts immediately making fun of me. This really makes me happy, cause her crises is over. Besides that we can see Hochjoch Hospiz hut, where we plan spend night.

We are close go glacier river and we are close to the hut. At least this is my wrong opinion. Crossroads sign says that it is still one hour to hut. At least the path is flat. We stop for a while to take a picture of marmot. Obviously he likes hikers. Few meters further we are at the hill crest. Finally we see hut and it is really close and we are in about the same altitude, which is a good news. In reality we have to descent already mentioned meters/feet, cross the bridge over river and ascent again.

Both of us walking because we have to. My girlfriend doesn`t like curves and grumbles a little :). Before final ascent we take of jackets and I let her go first so she can set up tempo she likes. I don`t frustrate her by walking to fast. She starts almost running up the hill. I am following her, but I can not keep up. After we curves I lost her from sight. She surprised me very nice way, how much energy she still has. I am glad the crises was more in had than in legs. In very short part she was able to gain 15 minutes. At least she wait few meters from hut, so we can come together.

Shortly after 6 we have reached Hojoch Hospiz hut. Almost 12 hours of walking. It is time to get rid of heavy back pack, fully packet for almost week trek, change clothes and have something warm to eat. This is Alpenverein hut, so we are going to sleep in lager for just 11 €.

It was really demanding day and I really proud of my girlfriend she did it. For the first time, she was hiking in more than 2 600 meters / 8 500 feet, first time in her live she went for trek, when she had to carry all her stuff. Today we have ascent in total about 1 000 meters / 3000 feet and descent about 1 500 meters / 4 500 feet.

I can fully recommend Similaun to anyone who wants to try higher peaks or glacier. Hike it self is really easy. You just need to have necessary equipment (crampons, ice axe, rope, harness) and someone who has experience with glaciers.

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