Grosses Wiesbachhorn – glacier attempt

As I wrote already in article via ferrata arena Klettersteigarena Hohenburg, with couple of friends I went to Hohe Tauern to climb Grosses Wiesbachhorn (3 564 m / 12 461 ft).

After nice warm up, we started to ascent to Heinrich-Schwaiger-Haus ( 2 800 m / 9 186 ft). We just need to ascent “few” meters/feet of altitude so there was no reason to rush. At least we thought. Weather forecast predicted few rain drops in the afternoon, but reality seems to be different. Hiking sign says it will take us two hours to reach the hut. I was sure it will be more. However path goes up nicely, without any difficult parts. We did it in bit more than two hours. Guys who spend more time on via ferrata, came to the hut few minutes after rain started.

We had booked night in Heinrich-Schwaiger-Haus, which is great starting point to Grosses Wiesbachhorn summit. Plan was to go up, 30 minutes above the hut for acclimatization hike. Weather was totally against this idea. Therefore we spend almost two hours in hut searching for table for 8 people. In rainy weather it was mission impossible. Luckily, it stop raining and we can go out and set up crampons for tomorrow ascent. After the dinner everyone goes to bed. tomorrow we have to get up early because of glacier.

Around 5 am starts to be noisy in the room. I fully understand that is mandatory to leave early, but why people need to do all the morning “exercises” for an hour. We are leaving at six, so I could sleep for next 30 minutes. With the noise, and all people moving around is impossible to fall a sleep again. I have to get up, pack my stuff and after a quick breakfast I am ready to go.

Shortly after 6 am we are leaving the hut. As we expected almost all the people who spend the night here going to Grosses Wiesbachhorn summit. Few meters behind hut is tiny snow field, easy via ferrata, few more steps and we are in Unterer Fochezkopf. In front of us is snow field, but this time all of us put on crampons and take out ice ax from backpack. Some sources says that you cross the glacier during the hike to Grosses Wiesbachhorn, others says “no glacier”. We have rope, if we will need it. We almost reached Oberer Fochezkopf, we need to take of crampons (snow field is over), but in less than 10 minutes we will put them back. Next snow field is steep, however we get up with no problem. Near mountain lake, in size of garden swimming pool, we take a break. Plan was to climb also Bratschenkopf, but we are already late.

I am watching people already coming back from Grosses Wiesbachhorn summit. Instead of going around on the snow field, they go down directly thru rock and stone rubble. I don’t think it is a good idea. We are going around the rock, following hiking path in snow. Path is going between rocks and glacier.

It is time to take of crampons again. We are somewhere under the Grosser Wiesbachhorn summit. I am not going to guess how long it will take to reach it. Group of tourist is passing us. They are not faster and slowing me down, which drive me crazy and get me out of my tempo. It is time to take a break and enjoy the view, or at least what clouds will allow me. Finally they are far and I can walk towards the summit.

Group and I are on Grosses Wiesbachhorn summit almost at the same time. I am waiting for my friends, to make summit picture and enjoy it. Clouds are slowly going away and we will hopefully have nice views. We are lucky and can see “king” of Austrian alps – Grossglockner. Dusan and Brano are searching for the cache. My help is useless, and we can not find it. Before we start descent, clouds are almost gone, and we can clearly see Grossglockner and all the Hohe Tauern beauty. Only Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse is hidden in clouds.

It is time to descent. At 2 pm, we need to be down at dam and meet friend, who didn’t want to go to Grosses Wiesbachhorn. Descent is slow due to the terrain, but mainly because of views which offeres. It took us more than 3 hours to reach summit, we have to be faster on the way down. As we reach first snow field, we are putting on crampons again. However I am not using them in next snow field. Combination of walking and “skiing” gets me down faster. At the hut we are on time. We were much faster during descent than we thought. It took us about 6 hours to made a trip.

In two hours we need to be at bus stop at upper dam. We have time for soup, packing stuff which we left at the hut and descent. Sign says descent will take two hours, but we know the path. If it was two hours up, it must be less on the way down. Our assumption is correct. Each of us made the descent in about hour. From the dam I enjoy the hut and Grosses Wiesbachhorn view. Finally I can identify summit itself. Guys as usually enjoy the beer after hike. Now we need to wait for the bus, which will take us back to the car. On the wa home we need to stop for gas somewhere. It was great weekend trip in Austria again and Grosses Wiesbachhorn is worth of visit. Unfortunately we didn’t go thru glacier, maybe next time with same bunch of guys.

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