Touring in the Austrian Silvretta, 25th – 31st March 07’
We had affectionately named the area “Softcore
Silvretta” before our visit due to the areas reputation for
mellow ski touring terrain. Having been there in near perfect conditions
it would be better nicknamed “Sensational Silvretta”!
We completed a circular route from Ischgl, criss-crossing over the
Austrian / Swiss frontier.
Going to the area early season meant that
it was very quiet and we didn’t meet anyone who was doing
the same journey as ourselves. We used the lift system in Ischgl
to give us as a short day to the Heidlberger Hutte. In hindsight
it would be much cheaper, and more efficient, to use the skidoo
service offered by the hut to get up the valley. However, that would
have meant missing out descending in untouched powder as soon as
we left the piste. This was a sign of things to come!
The second day took as over the Briete Krone
and Piz Faschalba, uncomplicated ski touring peaks that gave us
a good warm up for the trip. Again, we could find fresh tracks all
the way to the Jamtalhutte. Prior to the trip I had been told of
these great Austrian huts (with showers – yes the rumours
were true!), but this one could be likened to a giant youth hostel!
Day three included an ascent of the Dreilanderspitz.
From the ski depot there was twenty minutes of interesting, but
not too challenging scrambling along the ridge to the summit signified
by a cross as on most Austrian summits.
By now we were getting a feel for the “softcore”
element of the trip and found ourselves settling into a very relaxed
routine; leave the hut at 8am, gently skin up for 3-4 hours, make
ski depot, crampons on, scramble along a ridge, back down, skis
on, make tracks in fresh powder all the way to the hut in time for
lunch! I certainly felt like I was on holiday. Perhaps we were just
very lucky with the weather and snow conditions.
However this routine was by no means monotonous.
The peaks became more impressive, the descents got longer, the powder
got deeper and the huts became cosier. The next two days took in
the Piz Buin, Silvrettahorn and Schneeglocke, arriving at the Saarbruckner
The crescendo just kept going and we couldn’t
have asked for more on our last day. It is only a short trip from
the hut to the top of the Kleine Seehorn, a magnificent summit with
views back across the ground we had covered over the last few days.
There were only 4 off us on the mountain that day, so we could have
our choice of line in the unmarked snow. The highlight for us was
probably seeing one of the others cross his tips, somersault and
land perfectly on a 40 degree slope. I think he was surprised as
From here it was homeward bound. The fresh
tracks didn’t stop until we hit the rat track down to Oberpermuntverk.
Our luck was truly in, as we did our last turn a bus pulled round
the corner bound for Bielerhohe. It would have been a long walk
without it. From Bielerhohe you can ski (skate and walk!) back to
Galtur, but we opted for the piste machine!
Alison Culshaw, Chamonix, April 2007