This morning we again had clear skies but at 20°C it was still very warm. From the hut we first climbed 50 m steeply, but then we continued gently rising towards the valley's end. Below the Sayplatten the way again became steeper and led us to the SW. We crossed the totally snow-free mingy remains of the Tisen glacier and passed the place where the mummy of the "Similaun Man" from the "Hauslab Joch" (British, "Frozen Fritz", American "Iceman") was discovered in 1991 by a German couple. This bronze-age man was injured by an arrow and presumably caught by a blizzard whilst trying to reach South Tyrol by crossing the col about 3300 years BC.
His discovery was an archaeological sensation, because not only the nearly unscathed body was found, but also most of his clothes, weapons and other artefacts. Since 1998 he has been on display in a museum at Meran. 70m south of the discovery point the Italians have erected a monument.
Shortly before reaching the col we climbed a small steep stage to the N and then went further on up to the "Hauslab Joch". Here we had a short break and then left our backpacks to climb the Fineil Spitze. We put on the equipment and got going. The ascent ran cross the Hochjoch glacier at first to the SW and then in an s-movement westwards to the foot of the NO edge of the Fineil Spitze. We left our crampons and sticks there at the first rocks and climbed the edge mostly with beautifully easy 1st degree climbing up to the summit. Up there we enjoyed nearly half an hour enjoying the view in the sun. Again we had a 360 degree panorama to all the other high mountains of the area as well as deep into the South Tyrol. The descent down the edge and on to the Hauslab Joch ran nearly on the route of the way up.
We did not really rest at the col but started the descent. It ran through the increasingly soft snow down the right side of the Hochjoch glacier southwards below the Hauslab Kogel towards the NW-edge of the Saykogel. While we traversed the glacier I did not recognise any crevasses in the neve, but I'm convinced there were some. We left the glacier at 3050 m height and soon met the route coming down from the Saykogel. We continued downwards, sometimes steeply and frequently crossing streams. The Hochjoch glacier's stream was crossed to the NW by a solid iron bridge. After a short stretch the way sloped 120 m steeply down into the valley of the Hintereis glacier's stream. Before we reached the hut we, as on to the previous day, had to get over a 100 m high counterrose.
The Hochjoch Hospitz, which celebrated its 75 anniversary in September 2002 is a very typical hut. The landlord Wimmler and his family were very friendly and we were accommodated comfortably in double rooms. However just the washroom was rather small with just four places at the "Rush hour", but we successfully organised ourselves with the others. At night it rained again, but this time more than on the previous evening. Particularly of note was the breakfast buffet the next morning. It was very rich and varied. They even offered sheep cheese and olives. Considering that that the hut is only supplied by helicopter they have my compliments! More can be found on the Hochjoch Hospitz in the Panorama magazine of the German Alpine Association (German only).
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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