Grossglockner in 4 days from BelgiumWednesday 20th of may 2009
We planned to leave Belgium at around 18h00, but my friend got delayed at work. This meant we couldn’t leave before 21h00, which was far from ideal as we had a 1000km drive ahead of us. We especially wanted to get past Munich, as morning traffic over there would almost certainly provide more delay. At 03h00, only 15km before Munich we had to stop. Both of us were exhausted. That night we slept in my car on one of the parkings around Munich.
Thursday 21st of may 2009
We got woken up by some Romanian truck drivers making a lot of noise. It was only 8h00 but we decided to get up. We cooked some breakfast, quickly brushed our teeth and were on our way again. At 14h00 we were in Kalls am Grossglockner. We’d been told there was still a lot of snow on the mountain, so we tried to find a place to rent snowshoes. Kalls seemed like a ghosttown. No one in sight. In the end I resorted to randomly ringing a doorbell. They luckily knew who to call. About half an hour later we had our snowshoes.
At 15h30 we left Lucknerhaus for the Stuedlhutte. It was about 30°C, but most parts of the way up were still covered in snow - lots of it. Soon we were soaked. At about 18h30 we reached the Stuedlhutte. The sun was still shining, but there was a lot of wind. My friend was exhausted and decided to have a drink and dinner. I decided to hike up the small hill behind the Stuedlhutte to test my snowshoes.
It was my first time using snowshoes and I found they were quite easy to get used to. Going up was easy. Going down I just used them as ski’s, which worked quite well on steep parts. The only problem I found was that they were rubbish when you walked on the same height on a steep slope.
That night in the Stuedlhutte I swore I would never sleep in a hut again. I hadn’t planned to sleep inside, but wasn’t allowed to sleep in the winterraum. As there was a hut present, my climbing partner insisted we’d sleep in it. I slept for about 2 hours. People constantly walked in and out of our room. Always leaving the light on, the door open and not doing any effort to keep the noise down. The last one got to sleep at about 2h30, the first got up at 3h00.
Friday 22nd of may 2009
We decided to stay in bed untill 9h00. Last night had exhausted both of us. At 10h00 we had breakfast outside. The weather was looking grimm. We decided to try out our snowshoes and walk across the Teischnitzkees glacier towards the Glocknerwand. When we got our gear together and came out of the Stuedlhutte, the wind had picked up and it was raining. We decided to continue anyway. The first hour things seemed to get worse and worse. We kept walking, but were discussing turning back. Luckily, the sun came through. We got out of the wet clothes and kept walking. The Teischnitzkees glacier is truly an amazing sight in winter. Huge blocks of blue ice in the middle of the white glacier and in our case: a black but atleast partially sunny sky above.
We reached the Glocknerwand and decided to walk over to the ledge where we could see the Kodnitzkees glacier. It was incredibly windy, but we had a lovely view. Most people were already of the mountain, but two small groups were still struggling up. Later we heard almost no one had made it up that day. My friend decided he’d had enough. He would cook us a late lunch while I decided to try my luck on the Stuedlgrat. I didn’t carry any ropes or anything, but decided to see how far I’d be able to go. I managed to get to a yellow table. I think it must have been about 35*0m, as I could see the Erzhog Johan hutte slightly below me.
The wind was still gaining speed and I decided to go down. The sky was getting darker again, but lunch was ready and I was hungry. We had lunch and left back for the Stuedlhutte. When we were about halfway down, a thunderstorm broke out. I was absolutely terrified as lightning was striking close to us. But after about 30 minutes we were safely back in the Stuedlhutte. Unfortunately, this weather meant another night in the noisy rooms of the Stuedlhutte.
Saturday 23rd of may 2009
Summit day! We got up at 4h15. Had breakfast at 5h00 and were on our way at 6h35. The weather was great. Clear blue skies and sunny. That night must’ve been cold. Everything was frozen solid and it seemed like a little bit of snow had fallen. Luckily we didn’t need the snowshoes as the first part from the Stuedlhutte follows a height line. We quickly reached the Kodnitzkees glacier. The first part is almost flat and we made good speed. A party of tour-skiers was behind us, but didn’t seem to be able to overtake us.
The second part of the glacier is a lot steeper. We put on our crampons and slowly started walking up. We decided not to head for the Erzhog Johan hutte on the right, but head straight up to the highest point of the slope. We slowly continued. At the highest point of the slope we traversed to the left side of the plateau on which the Erzhog Johan hutte lies. My friend, who was exhausted decided to leave his backpack. I was still feeling strong, so I decided to put his water and gloves in my backpack.
From there it gets a lot steeper. Nothing too bad until you reach Kleinglockner. You definitely need ropes there. There is a steep drop you have to climb which brings you onto a 20cm wide saddle. From there you start climbing again up to the top of the Grossglockner. We had reached the summit in winter in a little over 3 hours. Not that fast, but not that bad either. Overall a really nice trip. Maybe a bit too easy for me. I think I’ll be back to try my luck at the Glocknerwand – maybe next winter.
Some pictures can be found below, all pictures can be found: here