Stephanie Jagl-Posch

riding and other stuff.


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going steep

on monday, i took the day off work to have the chance for some spring splitboarding and new experiences.

we went down south across lower austria to reach the border of styria and parked our car near the small town of niederalpl. no one else was around, and we took off to a lonely tour up the rodel, a wellknown skitouring route, often-times flooded with people.

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the normal route leads over a small ladder and then up to the veitsch, but we turned right before that ladder to reach the bottom of the east facing walls of the großer wildkamm, as we had a different mission in mind.

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we changed from splitboard to crampons, mounted the boards on our packs, put our helmets on and then started the hike up the wide couloir.

i have participated in a course on how to use crampons and ice axe correctly (rock and the ice camp by Die Bergstation), but so far had never used my crampons during a real tour.

i had quite some respect mixed with a slight feeling of fear when we approached the start of the hike, but i immediately noticed again how well crampons hold onto a hard, slightly icy surface. roman went first and broke the trail for me. i was very thankful for that, this way, i didn’t have to focus on much else than following his steps and maybe looking up from time to time to avoid being hit by snow or rocks falling down. no need to scout the best line to climb, i knew i could trust him. this was a huge relief for me, because i can blend out my fear of heights better when i have something to stupidely focus on.

the steeper parts were actually easier to climb, because the footsteps are supported by more snow underneath and you can rest your legs a little. it gets tough to climb for about 45 minutes solely standing on your toes.

exhaustion kicked in when we were about half way up, but hearing that we had already made it to the upper half of the climb motivated me enough to keep pushing it.

we had to traverse to the right to get out of the couloir and i was nearly done with my nerves there. i was fueled by the thought that we’d be on top of the mountain in a few minutes and quickly made my way to the right.

when we reached the flatter part near the summit, i was overwhelmingly happy, surrounded by a feeling of safeness, thankfulness and pride. it was only a few steps more to the summit, so we left our equiment there for the last meters.

as we stood on the summit, i was so emotional i couldn’t prevent a few tears from running down.

we made an entry in the summit book (and found an old entry from the G and roman, “wos brauch i tirol” ;)) and then quickly went back to our little ski depot, where we took off the crampons, had a little bite to eat and something to drink and put our boards back into ride mode.

roman drew the first line and then i followed. the snow was perfect – not too hard anymore and not yet too soft and slow.

it was an awesome cruise down. i even tried a bit of McNab’s riding technique advice (great article, read it here), finishing one turn completely before starting the next one and it really made my turns more balanced and soft.

from the bottom of the couloir on, the snow was very warm already, making it a lot more exhausting to ride, but we had fun nonetheless. the last bit through the forest was a tad bit strenuous, but i still enjoyed it with every pore.

maybe this was our last splitboarding trip this year. maybe not. anyhow, it was a perfect day, crossing over the border of my comfort zone a bit and still feeling confident.

i’m very happy that i was able to achieve something i had never done before. it feels good to see signs of development and improvement.

thanks Roman for being my guide!Foto 1-1 Foto 2-1 Foto 3 Foto 4 Foto 5

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Winter Inauguration 2015.

to celebrate the newborn winter season 2014/2015, Roman and I went on a 9 day pow searching mission in Austria from friday, the 2nd january 2015 on.
our powder in the east (PIE) buddy G. came over and we hit the road to Salzburg together.
we met up with a group of PIE members in Großarl in the evening and made plans for the next day.

saturday morning, we started our first tour and hiked up to the Penkkopf, one of the most visited mountaintops in the Großarl region. Roman and I had already been up there before, so we knew that this tour was perfect as a starter. first you start out pretty mellow with a long hike along a shallow path through a dreamy winter wonderland, then the track steepens for the last hour or so until you reach the flat peak. from there, you have a great view all around, from Großarl to Kleinarl, which lies on the other side of the mountain.
after a short break on the mountaintop, we had a fun ride down. the snow conditions were pretty good, we had enough snow to ride without the risk of hitting rocks or trees situated underneath the snow and even found some entertaining pillows and small jumps.

View from the Penkkopf
view from the summit of Penkkopf.

on sunday, the weather had gone bad, with limited view, snowfall and lots of wind. we decided to play it safe and ride the slopes of Großarl.
as we all hadn’t had the chance to ride a lot prior to this trip, it was a great opportunity to get used to riding again. luckily, after several years of snowboarding, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it again. i have to say, i really noticed how much my riding has improved during the last winter season. i’m very thankful for that. seems like the bad conditions were useful after all!

we played around, explored the fresh snow next to the slopes and had a surprisingly awesome day.

on monday, it was time to say goodbye to the PIE group and Großarl. Roman and I hopped into the car and headed over to Obertauern, where we were able to stay at Hotel Leitner (nice place directly at the slopes, with breakfast buffet and sauna – check it out if you seek accommodation in Obertauern!).
we met up with F., a friend of G., and plowed through the fresh snow next to the slopes. the view was still limited, so we stuck to humble tree runs but still had a great time.

Sunrise in Obertauern
good morning, Obertauern!

tuesday was the first day with sunny weather and fresh pow, as well as a national holiday, which meant that lots of people came to the resort and ventured into the backcountry. we decided to stay on the safe side (after all, we still had an avalanche risk of 3 out of 5) and first warmed up next to the slopes. we hit some drops, did some turns and after about an hour, decided to explore some of the safer routes out of bounds.
i have to say, i’m not one who chases first lines, i’m more of a safety lover. i’d rather be safe and maybe ride a slope where there’s already some tracks inside, than go out of my way to be the first to ride somewhere.
there will be times when the conditions will be just right anyways and then i will be able to truly enjoy drawing first lines.
still, we had no problem finding paths to ride that were enjoyable, occasionally scoring face shots as well as dropping and jumping around.

on wednesday we pulled out our touring gear and went on a hike to the Große Kesselspitze, which lies next to the resort of Obertauern, but can’t be accessed by the lifts.
the weather felt like spring (oh no, not again, just like last winter! ;)) as we walked through a lovely forest and then spitzkehred our way up to the top. the last few meters to the summit have to be climbed, so we left our equipment at the ski depot to check out the view on this sunny day.
we met a few other ski touring folks and talked to them about the possible descent on the south facing slope. originally, we had planned to ride down the ascent route as a safety measure, but since the snow seemed to be good, we decided to follow the tracks of the other guys.
it was a great idea and a memorable descent!

On top of the Große Kesselspitze
Roman checking the view on the summit of the Große Kesselspitze.

The rocky path up to the Summit of Große Kesselspitze
a look back to the rocky path up to the Summit.

A look back on the descent of Große Kesselspitze
this was our lovely way down!

 

thursday was our planned travel and chill day. Roman wanted to try out a new binding, so we went to the Blue Tomato test center in Obertauern, where he received a now! binding to test.
as we stood around in the shop, M., one of the shop dudes, asked if we were interested in giving him company for a short freeride intermezzo. we shortly discussed if this sounded like a good idea or not (after all, knees were sore and a freeride camp was coming up) but then made up our minds and told M. that we were going to join him.
in the mean time, his shred buddy B. had arrived and we headed up to the chair lift together.
after two warm up runs, we started to hike towards the Seekarspitze. after about 30 minutes, we reached our destination and each of us found an individual spot to drop in. my route was steep at the top and i couldn’t clearly see if there were rocks beneath me, so i decided to head to the left after dropping in, to ride around that overhanging part. snow was good and we all had a good time cruising down.
afterwards, we said goodbye and headed back to the shop, where Roman finally bought the bindings.

shortly after his purchase, we drove to Bad Mitterndorf and checked into our apartment. the rest of the day was spent relaxing, in the evening we visited Steph from Die Bergstation for a chat and a Zirbenschnaps.

I ho Hoamweh noch BA
Mitterndorf, here we come!

friday morning meant the start of yet another freeride day, only this time not on our own but with a group of lovely, funny people, most of them already familiar faces, as we were part of the motherland anniversary camp.
happy campers cruised and hiked, and faster than we could point out shit, the day was over.
everybody seemed sore but satisfied.

Mitterndorf Sunset.
the sun setting like crazy over Bad Mitterndorf.

during the night, it started to pour down like crazy. on saturday, a lot of the snow in town had melted or been washed away. also, it was very stormy, so much that all the lifts were closed.
Steph and Markus, our guides, let us decide if we wanted to go ride the slopes of Riesneralm or do an avy training.
we all preferred to work on our avalanche rescue skills, and so we went up to the Schönialm by car, where we first got served hot drinks by the friendly Schönialm staff, although it was their day off – thanks again!
the guide team explained the proper process when solving an avalanche accident and then we went outside to work on our practical skills. we split up in two groups, got tips on our shoveling technique and then hid a few avalanche transceivers and backpacks for the other group to search.
our guides played eye witnesses who had just seen a group of people go down with an avalanche. and they did it very well – Steph pretended to be totally devastated and in panic, we hardly were able to get out any info from him and even needed to do a body check to find out if he was carrying an avalanche transceiver, which might interfere with our search.
as our group consisted of 4 people with 3 of us knowing each other pretty well, our rescue went fine and we finished solving the problem of multiple buried transceivers and probing for a backpack rather quickly. statistically, everyone could have survived, as we were finished in about 12 minutes, if i remember that correctly.
the result felt really good and i am sure that we were able to better our skills.
hopefully, we will never need to use our knowledge, but it’s good to feel prepared and able to help.

on sunday, we faced yet another slush day and roman and i decided to skip riding and go home instead.
we had had a great week of riding and felt no need in fighting with wet, heavy snow. our thighs agreed 😉

 

Going Home sad.
going home – happy because of the great days we had, sad that the weather wasn’t on our side for the last day.

 

tomorrow it’s time for the first FWQ contest of the season at the Hochkar in Lower Austria, wish me luck!


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i’d rather surf – in fuerteventura.

on the 4th of september, we had an early start into the day at 3am. while it was dark, we drove to the airport to catch our flights, first to madrid and then to fuerteventura. the target of our trip was corralejo, a small town in the north of the island, well-known as a place for vacations in a never ending summer. the temperatures hardly ever drop below 20 degrees and it only rains on about 20 days a year. this is also the reason why there’s only a minimal amount of plantation, making a big part of the island look like the sahara or how one would imagine the surface of the moon.

i had wanted to go to fuerteventura even before i started surfing, so when i got the invitation to come visit the planet surf camp on the island, i didn’t need to think about it for long. for sure i was going!
and there we were, rolling our hand luggage towards the gate at the airport. we both had managed to fit a long, thick wetsuit as well as booties and the most necessary clothing into small suitcases, so we were able to save a bit of money for the flight.
after two flights, we safely arrived at the airport in fuerteventura and caught the bus number 3 to puerto del rosario. there, we changed buses at the estacion del guaguas (terminal autobus station) and went to corralejo with bus number 6.
we didn’t know the right station to get off the bus, so we had to walk about one kilometer to the surfcamp, but arrived happily in the end.

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a part of the outdoor area at the surf house.

at the surfcamp, we were greeted by Nina, one of the teamers at that time. she gave us all the info we needed about the camp and our room.
next, we went to check out the town and get something to eat and then hung out at the house for the rest of the day.

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time to load up all the boards onto the vans!

on the next day, we had our first surf session at el cotillo, which is a long beach break. we joined the beginner group, so surf instructor olly could check our surf level. we luckily made it into the intermediate course for the next week, horray!

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surfing at el cotillo.

we spent the weekend surfing in el cotillo on our own. planet surf allows you to borrow surfboards which are not used by courses on the current day for free, which is a good opportunity to get more sessions in, especially on the weekends where the surf instructors have their well-deserved days off.

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live the search 😉

during the next week, we had a surf session each day with instructor marco from italy and were able to check out different spots. on our last day, the waves were not good during our session in the morning, so olly thankfully squeezed us into another surf session in the afternoon so we could catch some waves before leaving.
besides surfing, we also went on a lot of walks into the town and we even hiked up the big volcano behind corralejo once.

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hiking to the top of the volcano.

if you want to go to fuerteventura to surf, i have some recommendations for you:

  • find out at home what bus lines you might need to reach your desired spots. there are no line numbers to be found at the bus stations.
  • you are allowed to put surfboards into the baggage compartment of the buses, just make sure they don’t get damaged. if you give the bus driver a friendly wave after taking the surfboards out, he might even greet you goodbye with a honk. don’t be sad, only the little town train gets two honks! 😉
  • get your hands on a surf spot map. it should be available at the surf shops in town and includes info about the best conditions to ride at each spot as well as a tide timetable.
  • if you want to rent a car for surfing in corralejo, go to autos hernandez. the other companies don’t rent to surfers. the best idea might be to check where you can rent a car for surfing before starting your trip and maybe rent a car at the airport already.
  • to get to el cotillo: if you go by car, you can keep driving until you reach the last part of the beach with a long, steep stairset leading down from the parking lot.
  • if you go by bus (number 8 from the roundabout on the main street of corralejo), you can get off the bus at the first station directly after entering the town. it’s a 25 minute walk from there to the beach.
  • in case you want to spend a day just hanging out at the beach, you can walk to flag beach from corralejo, it will take you about half an hour and the sand beach there is a lot nicer than the rocky town beach. you will be able to see this beach when going to corralejo from the airport, it is next to the two big hotel buildings standing on their own shortly before corralejo.

some tips for vegans:

  • it might be good to know that there are hardly any savoury plant-based spreads available in corralejo. the spar in the big shopping center on the main street carries hummus, in hiperdinos you can get peanut butter chocolate spread and one vegan margarine. there’s a big variety of fruits and veggies available and some exotic fruits are even grown locally on the canaries like bananas and mangos. you should absolutely try those!
  • we found plenty of plant based milks in the supermarkets, even vegan yoghurt.
  • the best places to eat out were single fin (creative burgers, run by two friends from italy, with surfmovies being played on a screen outside the bar) and big wave (an italian restaurant with a huge variety of vegan toppings and nice waiters).
  • aside from single fin and big wave, you might be able to get vegan options at the mexican restaurant as well as the indian restaurants.

 

-> http://www.planetsurfcamps.com/


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surfing france 2014.

so, the last week roman and i spent our days at the west coast of france, in longeville-sur-mer in the vendee region. we were lucky to find a place at a camping site, since it’s currently high season there. and we were even more lucky to not get a spot at the first two campsites we tried to get into – they turned out to be all inclusive style entertainment freakshows… lots of swimming pools with slides, activities around the clock for everyone, loud live music and disco dancing… nope. not our thing.
our campsite had oooold sanitary buildings which were not so nice (never was able to have a HOT shower there in one week ;)) but the site itself was pretty. it was located in the woods, a 20 minute walk from the beach, rather quiet and not stuffed with people.

except for one day, we had surfable waves daily. i’m not too content with my surfing during that week, but on the other hand i’m not too concerned about it either. i’m sure i have learned something and was able to better my technique, even if it didn’t show that much. we’re at a level now (i’d maybe call it intermediate beginners) where the learning curve isn’t as steep anymore, so i guess the progress might be visible during our next surfing trip at the beginning of september, where we will have a surf guide again.

other than that, our mood got better the longer we were there.
now i’m already looking forward to the trip to fuerte ventura in september!

 

here are some pics:

we set up our home nicely.
surfing la vendee, france. 2014.

we had brought our surfboard for riversurfing, which is rather short. we ended up buying a longer surfboard (better for beginners and also better for smaller waves), so we could surf together.
surfing la vendee, france. 2014.

friends from austria came for a visit. i want that campervan, it’s so awesome!
surfing la vendee, france. 2014.

i built up a nice surfer-tan (from wearing the long wetsuit).
surfing la vendee, france. 2014.

the nice walk to the beach.
surfing la vendee, france. 2014.

all pics here.


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enormous edelgriess experience and a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

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where does the trail end?

 

this is the report of our last adventure in this winter season. looking back at the season, i’m really happy that we took the risks involved to spend 3 months in the snow, although austria hasn’t seen a winter with such little snow (well, except for carinthia and east tyrol) in the last decades. we had to accept the circumstances and made the most of it, resulting in a lot of great experiences in return.

would i do it again? yes, i absolutely would!
i have learned so much this season, both riding-wise and for life (although i didn’t reach enlightenment :P). i know that being surrounded by nature is very important to me, and what’s a better way to spend time outdoors than to shred down a mountain that you’ve just hiked up? this season has left me very calm and satisfied. and for that (and so much more), i’m grateful.

i want to thank my sponsor PIEPS and also powderguide.com for supporting me!

now enough with the nostalgic babbling and onto the report of our last adventure!

 

enourmous edelgriess experience.

on the 27th of march, it was time for us to give one of the legendary, classical freeride routes of austria, the edelgriess descent from the dachstein glacier, a shot.

after riding up with the gondola, the first difficulty is the 20 meter long climb up over ladders and stemples. then you reach the rosmarie-stollen, a tunnel which enables you to get to the other side of the mountain without climbing over the top (although there is a via ferrata over the ridge as well). there you can catch your breath (maybe even take a break on the small bench after the tunnel with a breathtaking view) before you begin traversing a steep slope to the edelgriess glacier. most of the traverse is easy to walk, there are some difficult sections nonetheless and you shouldn’t slip and fall in general, because underneath the path is a rock fall.

when you have mastered the traverse, you stand atop the edelgriess glacier and the 1600 meters in vertical height of descent.

we had soft, slushy snow in the top part of the slope, a little bit of powder in the middle section and then hard-crusted, difficult to ride snowpack in the last part. it wasn’t actually THAT breathtaking to ride, but it was a lot of fun! it’s always great to have such a long descent, feeling far away from civilisation (which you actually aren’t, also there are usually plenty of people riding the edelgriess to. when we rode it, there were only 3 other people. when we were at the parking lot again, we saw about 7 people walking across the traverse, so we were kinda lucky).

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climbing the ladder.

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rosmarie-stollen and the view at the end of it.

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the traverse.

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starting the ride down edelgriess (to the left).

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we happily succeeded.

 

a word on fear of heights and anxiety issues.

what made this adventure so special, is my fear of heights (or more precise: fear of falling). i want to talk about this issue a bit now, because i feel that it’s still a taboo and that’s a problem, because it makes people with anxiety issues feel like they’re out of the norm, or not as capable (read: good) as others. so, i will try to talk about my issues openly, to show others that you can improve and achieve things you once thought were impossible.

i get scared on a lot of occasions, be it steep traverses when hiking with the splitboard, climbing parts, exposed sections… i guess, many people who are scared of heights would just not bother to try stuff like that, which is understandable to me on one hand. on the other hand, there’s my hunger for challenge, for learning and getting better. i don’t want to be limited by my fear.
and of course there are many great descents that are only reachable with a bit of climbing involved. and i want to ride those!

the funny thing is, that i’m not scared when i’ve got my board strapped onto my feet. i’ve mastered steep slopes or very steep parts of faces without being bothered much. of course, i also feel slightly nervous, but in those situations, my nervousness only helps me to stay focussed, it doesn’t make my palms damp, it doesn’t make me shiver and i don’t panic. without my board, nervousness turns into panic quickly, which makes it hard to plan smart moves.

i enjoy bouldering, rock climbing and via ferratas, which are all activities where i have to go out of my comfort zone at least now and then to get better. during this winter season, i have slowly worked my way up. by the end of the season, my confidence was big enough to give the 20 meter ladder and the traverse a shot. yes, i did use my via ferrata set to belay myself. yes, it took me quite a long time to reach the target. yes, i was scared sometimes and had moments where i felt that i wouldn’t be able to reach the target. but i still made it! do i still seek improvement? yes. maybe sometime in the future i will be able to climb up a 20 meter ladder without getting scared. but at the same time, i’m proud of myself for overcoming my fear. and i wish to encourage others, that overcoming fears and obstacles in ones life is possible. no matter, if it’s a fear of heights or anxiety when you’re on the bus.

sometimes you might need professional help, sometimes a friends help will be enough, sometimes you will be able to help yourself. the most important factor is a positive attitude towards your own capabilities. and if you can’t yet honestly feel that way, fake it till you make it.
others might be doing better, but you can be successful in your own zone and that’s a huge step forward!


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plannerknot.

just a short, relaxed tour along the ridge from the chairlift via plannereck to the plannerknot.
perfect for a sunny, warm day, waiting for the clouds to come over and hopefully bring fresh snow for the last days of our winter season. we will be leaving the alps on saturday. sniff.

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looking back. over my shoulder. i can see… the plannereck.

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lord helmchen gets ready for the ride down.

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view from plannerknot to the plannerseekarspitze.

plannerknot_04

the view down to the planner valley.

p.s.: this was my 51st day snowboarding / freeriding / touring this season. i am beyond happy that i really managed to squeeze the most out of this season ❤


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3 days at the guttenberghaus winter shelter room.

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on tuesday, the 25th of february, we were already excited in the morning, because we were going to hike up to the guttenberghaus (at 2146 meters) and stay in the winter shelter room for 2 nights. we had planned our trip a few days earlier and with the good weather forecast, we knew it was time to realise our plan. we started packing on monday night, deciding how much food we should bring and what else could be crucial to have with us up on the mountain, besides our usual company, the avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. we made sure to take some sweets with us, to cheer us up and give us energy, our sleeping bags and something to read.

we picked up the key for the hut in ramsau, parked our car at the parking lot near the feistererhof and started our ascent. the sun was blazing down and as it was pretty windless, the easy hike up to the hut made us sweat. we were in a great mood and looked forward to our time at the hut. we walked at a slow pace to take in the beautiful scenery and arrived at the hut after about 3 hours.

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yo-ho, up to the guttenberghaus we go!

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roman navigating.

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pointing out a fountain.

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the skintrack upwards.

when we got there, we were curious to see the interior of the hut. we unlocked the door and were pleasantly surprised – we found a stove (that we already knew about), a comfortable bunk bed for 4 people, a table with a seating bench and even a ceiling light, powered by solar electricity. next to the hut was a small outhouse, so all basic needs were covered 😉

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roman starting the fire.

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the guttenberghaus (only opened in summer).

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our resort.

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daw footprints.

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letting my board thaw up in the sun.

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the view from the shelter.

roman started to make fire, while i went outside again to collect snow to melt. we found a pan to cook in and made ourselves some soup. after dinner, we talked about our opportunities for the next day and went to bed very early.

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hut life.

the night was a bit turbulent, i woke up often and later on the stove went out, so it was rather cold inside the hut. roman got up to start the fire up again and from then on, it was cozy and we managed to get in some more sleep before the alarm went off at 7am. we snoozed for a few more minutes and then left the bed. we had breakfast (bread with hazelnut spread & tea to refill our batteries ;)), gave ourselfs a quick catlick and then got ready for the tour of the day – a hike up to the summit of eselstein, at 2556 meters.

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time for a delicious breakfast.

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looking up to the eselstein.

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on our way to the summit.

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the view onto the dachstein plateau (am stein).

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looking back to our skintrack.

the conditions were a slightly difficult, the snow had a firm crust on it and it was slippery to walk. we were glad that we had brought our crampons and used them to make the ascent a bit easier. our route went from the guttenberghaus to the feisterscharte and then up to the summit of the eselstein. from the feisterscharte on, we had a great view onto the enormous dachstein plateau (am stein), and a few chamois had an awesome view onto us. on top of the eselstein, we enjoyed a great panoramic view of the eastern alps.

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the view from the eselstein.

the ride down went surprisingly well, as we had encountered lots of rocks on our hike up. unexpectedly, our boards didn’t get harmed.

we arrived at the hut at about 2pm and then had a relaxed afternoon, looking down on ramsau and schladming and watching daws cruising around up in the air.
in the evening, we once again checked out the possibilities for the upcoming day and decided to go up to the gruberscharte and maybe continue to the edelgrießhöhe and descent through the edelgrieß.

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roman trying to chop wood – the axe was blunt.

after another bunk bed night, we got up at 7am. it was time for us to clean up the hut and leave it in a tidy condition. we extinguished the fire, made the beds, opened the windows to vent and swept the floor. at 9am, we put our backpacks on, stuck the skins onto our splitboard skis and had a last look at the small hut. we said goodbye to the birds and off we went. we were a bit exhausted, so we decided to just traverse a bit in direction of the gruberscharte and then ride down into the gruberkar directly.

the ascent was a tad straining, since the snow crust had not yet melted and there was a lot of old avalanche debris lying around. it was challenging to navigate through all the rocks and a stream creek, but we made it down safely, without harming ourselves or our boards.

after returning the key, it was time for a nice pizza down in schladming. mission completed!

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good night!