This day we started 1½ hours earlier than on the previous day. From the hut we climbed 80 m steeply down the moraine's side to the Gurgler glacier. We traversed it over to the northern snout of the Kleinleiten Glacier, which falls sharply from the Schalfkogel. Now an 300 m ascent over a very steep exhausting, nasty footpath followed. It ran partly over rubble, scree or talus. In the upper part the way surprised us with ice being under the rubble, which we could not easily recognise. In addition to that the mountain face began to become dangerous by thawing ice and consequential falling rocks. Helmar and Achim were fortunately far enough away, when above us some stones got loose and tumbled down between them and us. That was a close shave! At approx. 3100 m height, on the rubble at the edge of the glacier we put on our equipment and had a short break.
We then traversed the Kleinleiten Glacier ascending southwards towards the Kleinleiten Spitze. After a while we turned left, crossed some larger crevasses and ascended westwards straight up to the Schalfkogel col. Here another short break followed. We left our backpacks at the col, in order to ascend to the Schalfkogel summit. Because the neve was too steep to climb we detoured into the rocky edge, which we ascended with mostly easy 1st degree climbing. Before we reached the summit we traversed a nearly level football-pitch wide area of rubble and after ascending a last neve edge we finally reached summit of the Schalfkogel (3540 m). Because it was yet again a marvellous day, we enjoyed the nearly cloudless 360 degree outlook up there. To the west and north we saw the other summits of the Oetztaler Alps, in the east far away we could see the Stubaiern giants. Even though most of the South Tyrol was covered with clouds, the higher summits of the Ortler group were visible at the horizon in the south too. What a panorama!
After short time started the descent. While descending we used the neve pieces because we were much faster that way. Down at the Schalfkogel col we grabbed our backpacks and climbed down the west side of the col. This part needed to be handled with care because the face was very steep and the soil was quite sandy, riddled with rocks and furthermore some were even loose. Unfortunately we did not reach the glacier northern Schalfferner, since due to the low snowfall the glacier's surface was too far down. Wolfgang threw a rope, with which we climbed 20 m down the mountain face one by one and after that further on down the upper very steep part of the glacier: We then ended up slightly above the end crevasse of the glacier so a big stride in the soft snow was necessary to avoid falling into it. That was not too easy and Achim accidentally "plumbed" the depth of the crevasse at on his attempt. (At least it was chest-deep! ; -). From this point the route was different to that drawn on the map (as I mentioned earlier). We went through the increasingly soft snow towards the SW and at approx. 3150 m we turned to the NW. 100 m further down we left the glacier to the north and we then made a 200 m arduous descent over a screeish, very slippery former side moraine of the glacier down to the Schalfferner.
We continued descending down the snow-free, soggy part of the glacier, where at its snout was the spectacle of a beautiful large glacier mouth. For a short while we continued to go down the valley on the right bank of the stream before we reached a "bridge" (two boards) to cross the roaring torrent. From there we still followed the valley downwards except for two small uphill steep stages (each 50 m). From the last one we were already able to see the Martin Busch Hütte on the opposite slope. However it was only reached after we had climbed down more than 100 m and again 200 m steep uphill. Before we really reached the hut we went 200 m along at the edge of a most impressing flume through which the melting water of the Marzell glacier was roaring down the valley. Finally we traversed the last good bridge and went again above the flume along to the hut, which we finally reached after nearly 10 hours in total. In the evening it rained a little but we hoped to have another beautiful day the next day.
This trip report is part of a whole week of high mountain hikes "DAV-Summit, The large Ötztal traverse with Wildspitze
(13. Jul. - 19. Jul. 2003)" and can be found at www.Tourplaner-Online.de
Find more trip reports, wallpapers, panoramic views etc. on that pages.
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe