Where is the third?
Satellite view of the Dreiländerspitze.
Coming from the right, we traversed the Jamtal glacier north of the east ridge to reach the Obere Ochsenscharte, the saddle just at the top of the view. From there we turned south by southwest, up the Vermunt glacier to the west ridge, which we then followed to the summit.
The Silvretta group is a small, glaciated area on the border of Austria and Switzerland. That is to say, it is still glaciated in 2013, but most of the glaciers are not all that big anymore so if you want to see them, don't wait too long...
One fine day brought us to the the Dreiländerspitze. Since "Drei Länder" is German for "Three countries", this name means "Peak of three countries". A bit confusing perhaps, since it's on the border of Austria and Switzerland, but the nearest other country, Liechtenstein, is far, far away to the northwest.
However, it all makes sense if you know that the German word "Land", of which "Länder" is the plural, not only means country, but also denotes an administrative region similar to what other countries might call states or provinces. And now there are indeed three "Länder": the Austrian ones of Vorarlberg
, and the Swiss one of Graubünden
- even if the Swiss, who speak German too in this part, don't call this area a "Land" but a "Kanton". Very confusing, all these different countries, languages, dialects and so on...
As we climbed, we didn't think about the name. We were just enjoying ourselves - especially when, right before getting to the summit, we unexpectedly found that there first was a steep drop, perhaps some 5 meters or so, and after that it was a very airy ridge to the tantalizingly close summit. But although unexpected, it wasn't beyond us, and so we carefully continued and somehow found a place for all five of us on the small summit.
Enjoy the pictures!
The rocks on the left are the east and north ridges of the Dreiländerspitze, the summit of which isn't visible. Our plan is to climb the easier west ridge, and to get there we first have to go to the Obere Ochsenscharte, the saddle in the ridge not far ahead of us. We'll drop our packs there and climb light.
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