After two nice days of catching up with friends and meeting their babies I had the Nochspitze on today’s to-do list. Setting out after a rainy night and morning, with the promise of a lot more rain to come, the word reckless came to mind. I waited until it stopped rainy (hah!) so only set out at 10:30am. With only a ski-area type map at hand I turned left out of the Nattersee campground towards Gözens. I found the bottom of the winter-only chairlift. There were no yellow signs to any of the way marks up to the Nockspitze, only to the towns east and west. I thought I had to head a little more west to find the path up. There happened to be a local walking his dog come past at that moment and he told me I could take the road heading steeply upwards before me. I thanked him and started the ascent. About 20 minutes or so later I came across 2 guys working on a new building. They looked at me in a way that said “that’s strange to see a walker”. I said hello as I passed and continued on. Sure enough the road eventually ended at a power(?) maintenance spot. Lacking a topo map I didn’t dare try and bash my way through to the correct path so I had to descend, head west and start again. The worst part was having to walk past the builders again!
Finally on the right path, it was a long slog of switchbacks on a dirt road past the Gözer Alm (a hut) before I made it onto a single track. The clouds were coming and going and quite thick at times so I wasn’t sure just how high I’d make it.
Then the weather seemed to be turning in my favour. I startled a deer at one point. At another point I lost the path next to a creek where there were some snow drifts. I didn’t spend enough time looking for the next marker and instead followed a set of footprints going up steeply through the trees. Then I laid eyes on a path intersection way up on the other side of the creek to me so I had to retrace all my steps (it would have been a lot of tree bashing otherwise) – a fair punishment for my impatience. I headed up the other side and was rewarded with the view of a marmot (my favourite alpine animal!) and hearing its call.
Up on top I found myself at the Birgitzköpflhaus (2035m). I was finally over 2000m again. The sign claimed it was another 1h45m to the peak. It was already 2pm and I was starting to worry about the weather again. I couldn’t understand why I would need so much time to get to the top (a 400m climb). I clearly didn’t have time to get to the top but decided to take the path until I could see ‘around the corner’. It’s hard to turn back without achieving a destination so I found myself ascending the mountain. I’d only been walking 10 mins and I figured that I could allow myself half an hour so long as the weather played along. I looked across at the clouds forming over the Ampferstein (2556m), an impressive peak with a via ferrata route over the top. I could now see the south, where two independent sources had told me over the past week that the south is where the weather always comes from in this area. It looked like I still had some time, but maybe I was just thinking that because I didn’t want to turn around just yet?
It was getting chilly so I stopped and put on my thermal top and ate a banana. My sensible-ometer was starting to go crazy so I told myself I would turn around at 2:30pm no matter what. I was (and had been the whole day) memorising the route and making sure I didn’t go anywhere where I didn’t think I could get back through in rain or a storm again. I saw an eagle and some falcons or hawks over this next section. I was now scrambling over some rocks and decided that the clouds were getting too grey for my liking. At 2:25pm I almost turned around and then told myself just to stand on the knoll next to me so it would feel like a destination I could turn around from. Then I saw the cross on the top of the peak! Hah! I did get to stand on top of the Nochspitze after all, with an ascent of under 30 mins :)
It was quite stunning actually with all the cloud formations around and the sun streaming down on me, standing in a drift of snow :) After a few photos I descended back to the last hut and ate lunch on the terrace.
I had originally intended to return from the summit another way, but it was too full of snow. Near the Gözner Alm I headed towards Mutters to get back to Nattersee.
There was a cool waterpark/playground on the way and I enjoyed walking through the forest on my own. I returned back to the camp cabin completely dry and a little sunburnt and could see the Nochspitze from the campground. Overall, a great day out.