We woke up happily to lovely blue skies and the five of us set out at 7:20am for the Hocheck summit. We knew there would be a few snowdrifts on the way but nothing to worry about.
The first half was probably the steepest, except for the final approach to the summit, and there was only one section with fixed ropes.
Sadly a mist was starting to settle in on the mountain as we climbed, but it turned out to be sensational with the views floating in and out and the challenge of working out our approach.
Jonas, Tim, Andreas and Guido were really good company and I was having such a good time.
Luck was on our side and the sun came out when we reached the summit.
At the top we were amused by 2 younger blokes who’d carried a football up and were taking hilarious photos from the summit. They’d overtaken us on the ascent but it turned out that this was their first bushwalk – impressive! We were surrounded by snow and could see a little across to the Mittelspitze (2713m). The approach looked hairy so I was glad this was as far as we were going today (the route over the top of the Watzmann is a Via Ferrata and was still closed because of snow).
We descended back to the hut where I annihilated a plate of tasty Kaiserschmarrn and we picked up the rest of our gear that we had left behind.
Guido and Andreas headed on to the Kührohnhütte and Jonas, Tim and I headed for the Wimbachgriesshütte. It was now around 1pm and we had already done 700m of ascent and descent and now had over 1300m of descent before a 700m ascent to the Wimbachgriess hut. Tim and Jonas both had really heavy kits (they had all their via ferrata gear) and the descent really got to all our knees – but especially to Tim’s. We got caught in a big downpour and heard a lot of thunder but thankfully didn’t get hailed or properly stormed on. Sadly at the bottom Jonas and Tim needed to get some cash out and wanted to take a break and assess how Tim’s knee was doing. I carried on alone knowing it was most likely that they’d have to call it a day.
More wide, boring path followed but I enjoyed looking down over the Wimbach canyon and soon hit the section where you walk on top of the river flowing underground. This section really, really reminded me of walking in NZ last year.
At the Wimbachschloss Hut I found the football throwing duo. They were hiding out from the rain – who could blame them! We then teamed up and chowed down the final 4km and 400m of ascent.
Arriving at the hut I surprised Marco and Peter who I’d met at the Wasseralm three nights prior. My reward to myself for the day was a large hot chocolate with rum. They definitely had not gone light on the rum :) Another schnitzel for dinner (it was huuuuuge) and we were all ready for bed. What an absolutely sensational day.