Category Archives: Trekking

Cozia

Once again home in the Cozia mountains.

After two days and a half on the road, and after meeting my parents in Slatina we manage to break away for one day for one short tour in the Cozia mountains. If we come to think of it, it has been at least 6 months since we’ve been to real mountains, and our past months in Berlin were filled up with bike touring weekends and with preparations for the bike touring expedition from 2014.

At the same time since leaving Berlin we’ve had almost only sunny days with clear skies, and in a week we probably saw the sun more than in two months in Berlin. Berlin is a really nice city, but with all due respect the winter months are too dark and grey for us.

Cozia is one of the mountains which I consider more or less home. It’s the first tallest mountain with an impressive view which I saw up until now, and it one of the mountains in which I’ve been the most. But somehow each time is a bit different, the seasons and the light change, and with time we also change.

This time we’ve been lucky enough to do the tour together with two friends form Romania, Elena and Alex which accompanied us together with their one and a half year old daughter Ana. The two are probably the best example that life doesn’t end once you have a kid, and the young girl probably saw more mountains than I saw before I was 24.

Plapuma de frunze.

Leaf blanket.

Descoperind Cozia pe propriile picioare.

Discovering Cozia on her own feet.

Tatic  model (mai ales la capitolul manusi).

Modelling father (especially the gloves)

Hoinarii.

Hoinarii.

Din punctul de pauza si de belvedere unde m-am oprit de atatea ori.

The rest place where I’ve stopped so many times.

Mai e mult pana sus?

Are we there yet?

Ma dusei sa privesc Oltul de sus.

Looking over the Old river.

Din nou acasa.

Once again home.

La inaltime.

The scenic view from Cozia.

Umbrele noastre la Cozia.

Our shadows.

Zambetul unei zile de toamna.

The smile of an autumns day.

Pe muchia Turneanu.

On the Turneanu ridge.

Pasind catre apus.

Descending towards the sunset.

Coborarea pe muchia Turneanu care a fost destul de solicitanta psihic si fizic.

Tired faces.

Pe langa Fritz-Pflaum Huette

Trekking to Fritz-Pflaum huette, Wilder Kaiser day 5

We wake up early in the morning, and after finishing all the food we had heft we say goodbye from Strisenjochhaus for a while, and we start down towards the parking place. After two days with a lot of climbing our bodies which are used to 20-30m walls ask for a break, so that we’re going to fill the partly rainy day with a trekking route.

A bit of diversity is always good, and it’s a good opportunity to play a bit with my DSLR camera. In the past two days I rediscovered the same frustration which I have with climbing photos, and more specifically that it’s almost impossible to get some interesting shots while climbing. First of all because usually because you are tied to the wall and you cannot move freely to compose a shot, secondly because your climbing problem usually has the same problem.

You can get some interesting shots sometimes, but that needs to turn into the main target, and you need to wait for the perfect light in the perfect moment in the perfect place. While exploring a mountain or  a route for the first time the changes that all the above things happen are really small though, as you’re usually in hurry. At best you get pics which mean something for climbers, like “nice crack”, or “what a roof”, but for non-climbers they make no sense.

But for today I shouldn’t worry about this, and with my D600 on my shoulder we start of on the steep trail which leads to Fritz-Pflaum hut. The light isn’t the best for photos, and even though the sun is mostly hidden by clouds the air is incredibly hot and still.

After almost 1000m of altitude we find the same barren landscape which can be found in the upper part of Wilder Kaiser, a glacier plateau surrounded by rocky ridges, and with faint  paths which can bee seen crossing these ridges from place to place.

We miss the peak we wanted to climb today, but we only the empty landscape, and we reach one of the most isolated huts in Wilder Kaiser, the Fritz-Pflaum hut. It’s only open during the weekend, but if you’re a member of an alpine club you can get the key to hut from an association. The place where the hut is is truly wonderfull, looking on the east wall of Predigstuhl upon a 600 meter wall.

We spend almost an hour near the hut, as the place deserves a long break. And today we’re not in a hurry. Tomorrow on the other hand we want to try Via Classica, a 15 pitch route in the west wall of the Fleischbank, about which Mihaela thinks that it’s going to bee too much for as that we’re going to have an epic struggle on the route.

 

After getting some food for the following days and a hard summer stor we get back to the parking place from Grisner Alm. We name this place the climbing hobo parking place, as it’s almost full with climbers, a bit hidden from the main parking place, with the walls of Wilder Kaiser high above.

During the weekend it’s full with old Volkswagen vans, with the sound of clinking carabieners, and faces happy from the route of the previous day. I honestly feel better here than in any camping, where you have your tent spot between motorhomes and between retired people drinking their morning coffe.

 

Begging a a cloudy day, with a last photo at Stripsenjochhaus.

Stone litte man as they are called in german.

Up between the rock ridges.

Fritz-Pflaum Huette.

The perfect photo place.

IIn the hobo climber parking place.

Refugio Musatti

Trading Wilder Kaiser for the Marmarole

After almost a week in Wilder Kaiser, we feel the need to change the mountain and to diversify our activities. Even though we wanted to see Dachstein, in the end the call of the Dolomites is stronger, and so after a morning swim at the foot of Wilder Kaiser we drive the 250 kilometers which separate Wilder Kaiser from the Dolomites.

We plan to get in places we didn’t see 4 years ago, and I have some ideeas about trail running with a minimal bivouac equipement, and with sleeping and bivouacs which somewhere high above in the mountains. And in some parts of the Dolomites there really are some spectacular bivouacs.

But after the last shady days spent in the north faces of Wilder Kaiser, the moment in which we reach the austrian highways and the italian roads we start to feel the heat wave which has gripped the Alps. Even though after a small getting used to period I have no problem with high temperatures, going fast from cold to hot pisses me off, especially when hot means 34-35 degrees in a car without air conditioning. And come to think of it, the last time we felt such temperatures was almost two years ago, as we discovered that in Germany the thermometer rarely rises above 30 degrees (and when it does it turns into a national catastrophe).

We chose as a refuge for the hot weeked the Marmarole mountains, part of the Dolomites, somewhere between Sorapis, Cadini di Misurina and the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. 

We start up the mountain around 17 o’clock, with a minimal setup which would enable us to sleep at the Musatti bivouac, 2200 meters above sea level, in wild glacier cauldron with just two trails to reach it.

The route starts as steep as the normal routes from the north side of Wilder Kaiser, with a trail which seems to be relatively unmaintained. As we gain some altitude a summer storm closes in,  and by the looks of it we realize that we’re going to get wet to the bone. Our only hope is that it will also end quickly, and and that we’ll have enough time to dry ourselven until we reach the bivouac.

Around we can hear thunder, and we can see the not so distant lighting  and when we’re almost half way up the mountain we see a think cover of rain aproaching us. I only have time to take a quick photo of the impending rain which mixes with the last rays of sunshine before packing the camera inside the backpack, and afterwards up we go through the warm summer rain.

The rain fortunately stops as suddenly as it started, and we finally reach the refuge in an aerie atmosphere, when end of the storm mixes itself with the evening. The refuge is empty, and in a selfish way we’re glad that we have it only to ourselves. And it really is one of the nices places to spend the night with incredible views towards Cadini di Misurina and towards Sorapis.

Taking advantage of the blueish light I take quite a number of photos. Everything is completely still, and the thick wet grass lays thickly covered in the drops of the previous storm. At the same time I’m glad of the fresh and cold air which you can breathe up here, compared with the heat which we had to endure during the day. 
 

Saying goodbye to Wilder Kaiser, in the perfect bathing spot at the foot of the mountains.

Hope fades before the impeding summer storm.

After the rain.

Just a little before reaching the Musatti bivouac.

Mountain flowers, thick with raindrops.

And the Musatti bivouac.

The view from inside.

Looking for tomorows trail

To bad for the tights which ruin an otherwise good shot.

The 2 in 1 window-door.

IAn evening wish.

The blue hour.

Dolomites Cristallo

Searching for the trail in the Marmarole

We wake up late in the morning, and as we exit the spartan hut we are greeted by a clear blue ski with a burning sun which predicts a hot day. The Musati bivouac hut sits in a wild glacier cauldron, 1200 meters above the winding road which descends from the Passo di Tre Croci.

The via feratta starts almost behind the refugee, and even though the terrain seems too rough for running I hope that the mountain path will actually turn into a running trail at one point. But as the advance, crossing ridge after ridge we encounter the same combination of via feratta, a lot of gravel and wild and barren landscape. During the entire day we meet exactly 3 tourists, on a Saturday with perfect weather. And so we find that besides the overcrowded trails around Cortina d’Ampezzo you can find wild places even in the touristic Dolomites. One the way we meet several times mountain goats, which are better suited for the terrain in comparison with us in our minimalistic trail running equipment.

I completely give up on running after descending a long slope with moving gravel, which turned out to be a relatively painful experience for my exposed ankles. And so we  continue for the rest of the day first towards the Voltolina bivouac and then back to the car. My hopes of trying out the Dulfer route in the Cima Grande are shattered when Mihaela starts to complain about her knee, so we plan a friendlier tour around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Charmed by the beauty of the place.

With Cristallo in the background.

In the middle of a rock kingdom.

The typical dolomite landscape.

Looking towards Cadini di Misurina.

The end of the day.