After a short climb to the N we came to a flatter area where our way turned to the NE towards the summit Brochkogel. We climbed a steep stretch, followed by another short, less severe piece. Finally we climbed an exhausting 35° steep neve face 100 m up to the Brochkogel col. Until then we had walked mostly in the shade of the mountains but now we "entered the light". From here we could enjoy for the first time that day the marvellous view particularly to the north. We could have reached the Petersen peak from our position, just with another 50 m easy ascent, but this one was however not on our schedule because we had planned something bigger for today.
The way continued for a while much more easily because it ran almost on the level underneath the NW-face of the Brochkogel. At the broad flat glacier basin between Brochkogel and Wildspitze the view up to those two summits was simply overwhelming. On my first ascent to the Wildspitze in the year 2000 I unfortunately was not able to see much of it. Only after we had passed the N-edge of the Brochkogel the way began to rise gently toward the Wildspitze. It became steeper after the point where it unites with path from the Breslauer Hütte which runs over the Mitterkar col. From there we went approx. 30 - 40° steeply over some large crevasses up to a flatter region where we deposited the backpacks and one each of our sticks.
The last ascent to the Wildspitze summit began now. It went about 40° steeply up the SW face of the Wildspitze and was partly interspersed with blank ice and rocks. Again Helmar had some trouble because of his lack of experience of using the frontal spikes of his crampons. 20 m below the peak we passed a short, but quite exposed piece. It was necessary to pass a 10 m wide stretch only one foot wide on a 40 m high vertical wall with 1st degree climbing. I loved it, but some others of our group not at all. Finally we reached the already very well visited and not too large southern summit of the Wildspitze (3770 m). There, the past awkward ascent was compensated by a breath-taking 360° panorama. The whole of the Tyrol was our oyster because the Wildspitze is the highest tyrolian mountain and the second highest mountain of Austria. Far, far away in the SE we could see the Hohe Wilde and next to it the Schalfkogel and the Hintere Schwärze. Due S were the Similaun and Fineil Spitze. In the SW on the horizon was the Ortler group and dominant before it was the Weisskugel and the Weisssee Spitze above the enormous, flat Gepatsch glacier. Right next opposite in the W was the Vernagt glacier and above that the Brochkogel and the Hoch Vernagt Spitze. Towards the north the Kauner Grat with the Watzespitze was easily recognisable and on the right side of the Pitztal the Gegenkamm with the Hohe Geige.
After short while, mainly because it became more and more crowded on the summit, we started our descent. At the exposed rock piece and on the first very steep mountain face some of the group again had some difficulties so we descended very carefully. Wolfgang the mountain guide watched out for us very well and in this way we all reached the backpack depot again safe and sound.
We then descended by the route up through the glacier's rupture zone with the large crevasses. After we reached the north face of the Brochkogel we left the way we had come up and zigzagged downwards through other crevasses. Later we followed the trail in a bow movement downwards to the NE right to the Mitterar col. All the way down and even on the fairly even surface on the upper Taschach glacier below the Schluchtkogel we jumped over crevasses again and again or went around them. On the tour three years before we had simply marched straight ahead over this surface without recognising a considerable number of crevasses.
We soon had completed the 70 m ascent to the Mitterkar col and had our first view of the "summer skiing area" of the Pitztaler glacier. To be precise the skiing area didn't exist anymore. We only saw the snow-free surface of the glacier. Thus we shuffled at first gently down the snow-free soggy surfaces of the Mittelberg glacier following the drag lift towards the NE. At the lower end of the Grabkogel we noticed massive building activity. Big machines dug, bulldozed, and broke lines. We left this ghastly place as fast as possible and traversed the glacier to the W towards the Linker Fernerkogel. Here the last counterrose of the route began. It went about 100 m southwards up to the Braunschweiger Hütte (2759 m), which we reached after more than 11½ hours.
Because the weather was still good, we again had marvellous views over there to the Wildspitze in the N as well as to the Mittelberg glacier next to it. The ugly region of the summer skiing area is fortunately concealed from the Braunschweiger Hütte by the Grabkogel. Other building activities at the Rettenbach glacier to the east of the hut however could not be so easily ignored.. At the Rettenbach col an enormous wall had been erected, on which a large construction crane had been installed and every half minute a helicopter arrived with new concrete.
This trip report is part of a whole week of high mountain hikes and can be found at www.Tourplaner-Online.de
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