Planned, but no luckIn 2004, my first attempt to climb the Fineilspitze was no success. We crossed the Hochjochferner to reach the Hauslabjoch, the saddle at the base of the NE ridge, in near white out conditions, and decided to skip the ascent.
Unplanned works out better
A few years later, we weren't even planning to climb it, but again the weather interfered, and this time the Fineilspitze was our alternative plan. As it turned out, it proved to be the best day of our week in the Ötztal Alps!
We started early from the Schöne Aussicht Hütte, just on the Italian side of the border. We had been the only guests in the hut, partly because it was late in the season of course, but mainly because the weather on the previous days had forced almost all climbers down into the valleys. We were eager, despite the weather, so we went up to the hut, despite the pour weather, hoping for improvement.
Early in the morning, it was very cold - which made for excellent conditions on the glacier. After crossing the Hochjochferner, we reached the rocky SSE ridge just as the sun was about to get over the mountain. It warmed us up nicely, even if it was still freezing. We climbed the ridge on crampons, because of the rime and snow on the ridge.
On the summit, the views were magnificent. We were all alone. No trails on the glaciers, except ours, and in the crisp air we clearly saw the high mountains of the Ötztal as well as distant peaks all around us.
After a brief rest on the cold summit, we descended the NE ridge to the Hauslabjoch. It was warmer and less windy there, making it a better place for a stop.
From there, it was easy - mostly, anyway. All downhill, until the very last, where a steep hiking trail leads up to the Hochjoch Hospiz, ascending 120m right at the end. A final test for tired legs.
Panorama from the Hauslabjoch. From left to right: Hauslabkogel (3403m), Mutmalspitze (3528m), Hintere Schwärze (3628m), Marzellspitzen (3540m) and Similaun (3606m).
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