After a long time studying, it was time again for a little adventure.
In January Fabian, a good friend who I met at Taricaya in 2013, asked me if I would like to join a mountain hike in winter. The plan was to climb up the Schneeberg (2075m) and spend the night there. We realized this adventure in February. The Schneeberg is about 2 hours away from Vienna and can easily be reached by public transport.
By train we reached the village Puchberg am Schneeberg. Arrived there, we hitchhiked to Losenheim, the mountain foot where there was also a snow slope. We were taken away by an elderly man who was himself from the area. When we opened the trunk we immediately noticed a small pool of blood. But since the car smelled like forest & game, the probability was higher that he was a hunter and not a serial killer. At least we hoped so..
We started on the snow slope with the ascent. Most of the snow at this altitude (800m) was already melted or wet. We followed the hiking trail to the Edelweißhütte. A tiring ascent, since we slipped a lot in the wet snow. As we arrived at the top of the hut, at 1235m, we noticed that it was very stormy. Behind the hut we sought shelter from the wind in a small coniferous forest and took a break for new energy.
Afterwards, Fabian's idea was to try a new, unknown route. The snow mass was higher and still wet. We tried to follow a hiking trail and looked for symbols on the trees. After the third dangerous slope place we crossed, we decided to give up this path and return. We followed another path known to Fabian and continued our ascent.
Only after a 1/3 of our way to the summit, the snow got harder and we put on our crampons. When we reached the height where the forest line started we were again caught by the strong wind. The snow had completely blown away and a stony ascent lay before us. On the way we could see some chamois and watch an interesting sunset.
Shortly before the sun had completely disappeared, we just managed the most difficult part of the climb, had a short rest and started the last part of the ascent.
It was hard. We walked in the darkness and followed a row of posts sticking out of the ice snow. From the right side a strong wind was blowing which almost reached hurricane force, the temperature was -13 and fog came up. My whole right side froze, the body as well as the material and the water.
At that point I was at the end of my strength, trying somehow to gain strength by eating one candy after another. About 2 hours the way lasted, where I only followed Fabian's light in the darkness.
When we arrived at the top the joy was great, but we found ourselves in front of a huge ice formation, the fisherman's hut. Ice blocked the entrance, so we were forced to set up our tent. As already mentioned a strong wind blew, it was difficult to find a windless sleeping place. We struggled for some hours to set up a banal tent but somehow we finally managed to fix it by means of ropes and to load it with our luggage so that it could not fly away.
Now it was time for a soup. Frozen through because of the ascent and the erecting with strong wind and cold, there was nothing better at that time. But the strong wind made cooking a challenge.
Nevertheless we managed and we could draw some warmth before we went back to our tent and tried to spend the night on the icy ground. Fortunately I had my material with me from my Arctic expedition, which made the night a bit more pleasant. After the first 10 minutes in the tent we heard a loud crack. The strong wind tore up the tent and traveled out the fortification. However we were so tired that after a short check of the condition, we slept on.
It was a very cold, restless night and the wind whipped the whole night against the tent. The next morning, around 6 o'clock, we woke up and noticed that we had slipped down a bit. The upper part was on the side and the shape of a tent was no longer really recognizable. We put everything together and made everything ready for the descent. At the same time the sun rose. We were thrilled by the sunrise and forgot all the hardships. It was a wonderful experience. After we photographed the sun from all sides, we packed our things and began with the descent, a long, arduous descent downwards...