after the PIEPS freeride team meeting, Roman and I followed Stephan Skrobar, head of the PIEPS freeride team and one of the masterminds behind Die Bergstation, to his house.
he offered to let us stay with him this winter and we took the chance to check out our winter base camp beforehand. it’s situated at the bottom of the Tauplitz, where we already enjoyed bottomless powder 2 years ago. the view from the living room is pretty awesome – the big, rocky Grimming stares back at you.
we went to bed early and had a nice day off on friday, including delicious food prepared by chef de la cuisine Roman. we got to know a part of Stephan’s family who came for a visit.
in the evening, we went to Ramsau am Dachstein and checked in at Haus Montanara, which belongs to Peter Perhab, the other Die Bergstation boss and mountain guide par excellence.
we immediately liked Peter, the house and our room.
Roman studying hard before the first camp day.
saturday morning began with breakfast, followed by an equipment check. what we hadn’t brought with us, was borrowed to us by Peter and Stephan. i got to use a brand new pair of crampons belonging to Stephan.
then we went up to the Dachstein glacier where we were greeted by sunshine and snow.
first up was putting on our harnesses and checking all avalanche beacons. then we rode across the slope towards the off piste area. there, we formed two rope teams and experienced how hard it is to ride as a group united by a rope.
we stopped a few turns later. it was time to get the crampons out. we put them on and did various exercises to get comfortable with those spiky, dangerous things strapped to our boots. we jumped and twirled around until we felt relatively confident.
after that, Peter showed us different walking techniques for different types of terrain.
next up was learning how to use an ice axe. we found a ditch where we could train how to pull ourselves up with the ice axe.
we then proceeded to climb up a rock with the crampons on.
afterwards it was time to repack our bags, put our boards into touring mode and hike back up to the gondola.
what a joyous first tour!
the day ended with a pasta feast in Peters appartment kitchen (thanks again for letting us use it!), a few zirbenschnaps were drunken as well and off to bed we went.
sunday started as the weather forecast had promised – pretty shitty. we went up to the glacier nonetheless. the conditions were perfect for practising, in my opinion. it’s easy to learn new things in sunny, warm weather, but when you’re out touring or hiking, you need to be able to do everything that’s needed – especially in a case of emergency – in the worst conditions as well. it’s worth so much to be prepared for that.
we learned how to pull off a crevasse rescue, stopping a fall with the ice axe and belaying another person with the help of an ice axe functioning as an anchor.
the weather had turned into a slight snowstorm, which made the situation even more realistic.
the rock & the ice camp was worth every penny.
it was hard to memorize every single step we were shown, especially during crevasse rescue. so now we know that we know nothing and need to learn and practise a lot before venturing out into more difficult terrain on our own.
aside from that, we also had a great time and enjoyed our first winter weekend a lot.
i can only recommend signing up for this camp if you wish to explore more.
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