Ski Touring in the Silvretta • March 25-31, 2007

We have heard good things about the Silvretta tour for several years; that it involves relatively mellow ups and downs but good ski terrain and peak ascent possibilities, along with very comfortable and well-appointed huts/hotels. Inspired by photos our friend Howie shared with us from his trip there last year, we decided to give it a try. We found the tour to be better even than expected—despite the relatively modest elevations of the peaks, all of which are under 4000 meters, the skyline is craggy, rugged, and the mountains spectacularly clustered together into a very impressive sub-range of the Alps. Better still, the snow was quite good despite the low snow of the earlier winter months.

Other Recent Trips


For our "exploratory" trip to this area we were joined by a new friend, Kirk Rosenbaum from Denver, CO.  Also on this trip was Bill Pearson of Minden, NV, who has skied with us once before in the Berner Oberland 2006. The others in the group were "repeat offenders" of various kinds, both skiing and climbing. Talking things over in the hut one evening, we were asked if we remembered the number of trips each had done with us. Of course our middle-aged memories weren't up to that challenge, but with the aid of our records we can now reconstruct the following. From left to right: Marc Gallie (his sixth trip with us, since 2002); Paul Farrelle (his fourth trip with us since 2001); Rich Davis (his fifth trip with us since 2003); (Mark); Elizabeth Moceri (her tenth trip with us since 1997); Bill Pearson (his second trip with us since 2006); Kirk Rosenbaum (the first time we've had the pleasure!); and Chris Robinson (his fourth trip with us since 2003).

Thanks again to all! Click here to see details of who's been on what


Leaving the Ischgl ski area on our first day after a morning of lift-served skiing and a quick lunch, we skin up toward the Punta Val Gronda.


Our first hut, the Heidelberger, was warm and welcoming. The usual apres-ski accoutrements...


On day 2, we skinned up over the Kronenjoch pass and down to the Jamtal Hut.


Kathy, Chris, Marc and Rich did a wee mountaineering detour, first over the Breite Krone, and then along a ridge (seen here) to the Piz Paschalba, while Mark and the others descended to the Jamtal hut.


The new, spacious, and very efficiently-run Jamtal hut was a welcome sight.


Enjoying our "just desserts" on the sunny veranda of the Jamtal Hut.


This day marked a "significant" birthday (meaning one with a zero on the end, not telling which number precedes it!!!) for Kathy. The gang had planned together to surprise her with a party, and what a surprise it was!


Here the fun is just beginning! The hut keepers supported our festivities by supplying candles and a seemingly endless stream of wine. Surely a mixed blessing for them as nearby tables emptyed out and our corner grew ever more lively ... needless to say a good time was had by all.


The next day we all gamely ignored our hangovers and headed up the hill for a tour of the Gemspitze in mixed weather.


A short bit of scrambling through a rock band led to the top.


Dim views through the mists rewarded us for our perseverance.


Better still, a couple of "secret stashes" of powder that no one else had yet poached, were our reward on the descent. Much of the north-facing terrain was badly wind-effected, but now and then we found a gem like this one and set about shredding. The descent on the north side of the Russkopf.


The Jamtal hut has a lovely tradition of serving hot soup when you return to the hut. Here Kathy and Bill look dubiously at the "Tiroler Leber-Knodel" soup, which was delicious by the way.


Day 4 saw us climbing toward the Ochsenscharte pass, again in fine, not-too-warm but sunny weather.


Mark, Marc and Rich did a detour up the Dreiländerspitze (along with quite a few others as you can see here), while the rest of the group joined Kathy for an all-too-short powder run and descent to the Wiesbadener Hut.


Marc and Rich enjoy the view from the summit of the Dreiländerspitze.


Exposed ridge-line scrambling makes it an exciting climb.


The Wiesbadener Hut is another roomy and comfortable mountain lodge.


We enjoyed another great meal, in a room almost to ourselves.


On our fifth day we started out by skinning up the Ochsentaler Glacier toward the Piz Buin.


Skirting below fantastically-shaped seracs at the edge of the glacier, we followed a narrow gully to easier terrain above.


Here we descend a beautifully long, steep and smooth slope below the pass separating the Silvrettahorn and the Egghorn.


The Silvretta hut, in Switzerland this time, is a cozy, typically Swiss hut, situated above the town of Klosters, not far from Davos.


Rather smaller than the previous lodgings, but the all-important afternoon sunshine and friendly company was in good supply.


On day 6 unfortunately we lost Paul to a knee twist of the day before, which quickly swelled enough to prevent him being able to continue the tour. While he descended to the Klosters valley by helicopter, the rest of us climbed back up a short way along our route of the previous day, before heading north through the "Rote Furka" pass.


The steep slope to the Rote Furka was better done on foot, so skis went on the packs for a short while.


At the pass we once more crossed back into Austria, and the skins came off for another descent.


While "the boys" did an ascent and descent of the Schneekogel, Kathy and Mo (seen here) went directly to the Saarbrücker hut, finding a pocket or two of nice, northwest-facing snow as they went.


The weather closed in as we reached the beautiful, uncrowded Saarbrücker Hut.


The Saarbrücker hut has one of the finest, old-fashioned and beautifully kept up interiors of any we have seen. The cozy ceramic stove added to the atmosphere.


On our last day, we descended in snow and fog down the Kromertal valley to the pass at Bielerhöhe. During our lunch break the sun came out once more.


Words not needed for this, methinks.


We hit the road at this point for our final descent back to Wirl, and our hotel.


The gentle descent of the road made for a pleasant, if long, skate session.


The skis came off literally at the base of the driveway to our hotel in Wirl. A great way to end a beautiful tour. We'll be back...

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