From Sportsgastein to Schareck

According our plans, top of the hiking season for year 2014 will be ascent on Zumsteinspitze (4563 m/14,970 ft), which is fourth highest summit of the Alps. To achieve this we needed to start practise and get used to heights, prepare our bodies for such a difficult ascent. Schareck (3123 m/ 10 246 ft) was one of the peaks, we wanted to climb during preparation for Zumsteinspitze. However not all plans turn out as you wish and Schareck become only one peak over 3 000 meters we were able to climb for lots of different reasons. Nevertheless all four of us enjoyed the weekend in Golden Group mountains, where Schareck belongs and here is the story.

It is late Friday afternoon, in middle of July, we are getting  into car and traveling almost for 5 hours. After the dark we reached Bad Gastain, famous ski resort in Alps, and got checked by local police. They were nice and everything went smoothly. Shortly after 10 pm we parked in Sportsgastein (1 590 m /5 216 ft). It was already decided, that we are spending night on the parking place, so driver found nice straight place where to park a car. We had quick dinner and start taking out sleeping pads and other equipment needed for night from car. Our “beds” were ready quite quickly and shortly after 11pm we went to sleep. I didn’t sleep well, cause moon was to close to my face, shining as midnight sun. Stars were shining as well and I enjoyed amazing view on the sky.

Night is over, sun starts coming up and someone alarms clocks went on. After short breakfast we pack all not needed stuffs to the car and start ascending the peak. Plan for Saturday is simple. Reach the Schareck`s summit and descent to the Niedersachsenhouse, where we want to spend the night.

Reaching Schareck summit

Ascent starts from parking place, where we spend the night and going south for couple of minutes. Gravel route take us near lovely Alpen huts. All of us is still bit sleepy. Therefore we miss our right turn. After couple of minutes we noticed that we missed the turn and start directly ascending the hill. It take us about 20 minutes to reach the right path. Slowly we are moving up. After each step we have greater and greater view on valley and parking place from which we started this morning. Ascent through the meadow is not especially interesting from terrain point of view. However from time to time we need to take a short break to catch our breath and of course enjoy the view.

Step by step we are getting closer to Aperes Schareck (2 970 m / 9 745 ft). To reach Aperes Schareck we needed to climb easy via ferrata, which bring us quickly to the top. Klettersteig (german word for via ferrata) is easy to climb and some of us don’t even use ferrata sets.  Finally we are on Aperes Schareck, having a great view on Shareck summit itself and on the right thru valley we see Niedersachsenhouse, where we spent the night. It is lunch time, so we have a quick snack and enjoying awesome view. All of us agree that we can clearly see our car and there is no way to see Schareck from parking space. Break is refreshing. Sunset will come in next 9 or 10 hours, so we can take our time. Based on our estimates, we will be in Schareck within hour. Another 2-3 hours it will take to lovely situated hut.

Few meters of descent and here we are. Entering snow field under Schareck. I feel more and more energy as I am getting closer to the summit. Based on the tempo I am sure all my friends feel it same way. One hour later, maybe less we are on the top of Schareck summit. First of all we are enjoying view and trying to recognize all the peaks we see around us. With help of local guys we have identified Hochalmspitze, which should be our next goal during the summer. As geocachers, we searched for the cache which is situated near the top. So far it is my second highest.

Descent to Niedersachsenhouse

Based on our estimates we thought it will take us 2 to 3 hours to descent to the hut, where we spend the night. Around 2:30 pm we decided to start descent, to have plenty of time enjoy the view and have beer with “leberknedel suppe” in the hut. During the descent we had to face some snow fields, climbing thru some small rocks. Hardest part was still in front of us. Information from web says that in our way is short ferrata, which is not easy one. As we have reach it, we understand quickly that this is it. Ferrata descent about 20 metres, which is not much. Going down by via ferrata is almost never easy and going thru this place took us some time.In about hour and half we have reached Herzog – Erst Spitze. Sign says it will take 1,5 hour to Niedersachsenhouse. Our estimate was almost correct, what made us happy.

Since Herzog – Erst Spitze, where the sign says 1,5 hour to the hut, we are walking almost 2 hours and Niedersachcsenhous still far in front of us. This is bit frustrating for us, however there is nothing we can do about it. Keep walking until we reach final destination.

Last hour of the hike is nice path on the top of the ridge. Obviously, we are tired and need to take rest. Two of my friends are ahead and I am asking them to order me a beer. Other friend and I are coming to hut couple minutes later. Benefit of it, is ordered beer which we are enjoying on the deck with tremendous view to the valley, where is our car parked.

Evening in hut is a combination of relax, beautiful views and planing next day. We have two options what we can do. Plan A is to Bockhart and follow the path around Bockhart lakes back to the Sportsgastain. Lazy option is to go directly to parking place, which means approximately 3 hours hike. Currently most of us like this option better, because we are tired and tomorrow besides hike we need to drive home. Just driving will take us 5 hours, depending on traffic.

We are lazy

In the morning we have all agreed that lazy option is better option and after a small breakfast, we start descending to car. Descent is quick and steep and within few minutes we see Niedersachsenhous far behind us. Schareck is slowly hiding itself behind Aperes Schareck. Soon we reach steepest part of the descent where is lovely waterfall. 90 minutes later we are having beer in hut few meters above parking place.

It is time to say goodbye to those nice mountains, pack all our stuff and get ready to hit the road. Before that we take few geocaches which are hidden near the road in Sportsgastain or Bad Gastain. Overall it was a great weekend and I am looking forward to next trip to the mountains. If it is going to be another summit with similar height or it will be something small I don’t know. Honestly I don’t care, as soon as it has lots of rocks :)

If you have any questions about the trip, want to consult some details, feel free to leave a comment. I will do my best to reply as soon as possible.

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