Fluchtkogel from the Hochjochhospitz and descent to the Vernagt Hütte

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Trip Report
Tyrol, Austria, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 17, 2003
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Created On: Oct 4, 2005
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The Brandenburger HausThe previous day showed that the glaciers became soft very quickly in the warm weather so the evening before we decided to start earlier this day. From the hut we first climbed steeply up a slope to the N { 902} about 200 m. Ascent to the FluchtkogelWe now were on the Delorette way on which we ascended less steeply towards the Kesselwand. Under the western slope of the Hintere Guslar Spitze the route then again became steeper and ran in parts quite exposed over to the eastern edge of the glacier, which we entered at about 3050 m height.

We put on our equipment and first went with ropes up the gentle incline of the glacier. To our left (west) on the southern foothill of the Dahmann Spitze above the Kesselwand col we recognised the Brandenburger Haus (3272 m) which is otherwise completely surrounded by glaciers. Innumerable bars on the Kesselwand glacier showed the way to that hut. Our way however led us further on to the N across a little steep stage up to the Oberes Guslar col. Here we left our backpacks and set out for the Fluchtkogel summit. The trail started at a gentle incline, but soon became steeper and steeper. Before we a crossed a crest at approx. 3420 m height and the way became remarkably steeper and the neve was replaced by ice. We had to use the frontal spikes of our crampons to get over it. Afterward this most of the climb was accomplished and the trail went nearly on the level to the east. A last slight rise followed and the last stretch was a 100 m walkway on the level over to the real summit.

Panoramic view on the Fluchtkogl summit

Up there we had a longer break for resting and looking around. Although the sky on this day was partly covered with very dark clouds, fortunately it did not rain and also the view was again exceptional. In the SW was the dominating, huge summit of Weisskugel with the Brandenburger Haus in front of it. Behind it were the peaks of the Sesvenna group and closer the Weisssee Spitze which looked very flat from where we were. In the north, right opposite the Hochvernagt Spitze and a little more to the east was our next day's destination, the Wildspitze, whose summit however was wrapped in clouds.

Descet from the FluchtkogelAfter some time we descended again to the backpack depot at the Obere Guslar col. During the descent at the previously mentioned blank ice piece Helmar had some difficulties because of lack of experience in using his crampons. We held him on a tight rope and so that he did it slowly, but without hurting himself. The summit is easy to reach and not surprisingly parties of hikers had arrived at the col so we were glad that we have had had the summit almost to ourselves.

The route down first steeply crossed some larger crevasses on the Guslar glacier. Here single hikers came to meet us. They were climbing up the glacier totally unsecured despite danger of the crevasses. Greater recklessness would be hard to find! The trail over the glacier became for a while a little flatter so as to run down another steep stage and finally reach the snow-free part. Descent from the FluchtkogelWe left the glacier near a rain gauge at 2980 m height. From there the way ran well-marked at first partly over talus, and then down the former side moraine of the Guslar Glacier around the mountain foot of the Hintergrasl Spitze. After nearly eight hours we reached the Vernagt Hütte (2755 m), but this time, thank God, without a considerable counterrose. Two hours later it rained again, hard: This did not disturb us, because we were already in the cosy, warm hut. The hosts were nice and the hut again typical, except that the space in the rooms was a rather cramped. On the other hand the sanitary area was big and very clean, but showers were not available.

The Vernagt HütteThe hut which had it's 100th anniversary in the year 2001, has been used since about the 1950s as a base for a systematic research of the Vernagt glacier. This glacier is certainly the most analysed glacier of the Alps. There are reports that reach back to the 17th century about devastating floods particularly in the Vent valley and the Oetztal. The reasons for these repeated disasters were the following: Until the 19th century the Vernagt glacier expanded time and again and blocking the other glaciers in the Rofen valley. Sometimes an enormous ice lake formed, "in which huge icebergs were swimming". The day before in the Rofen valley we could see that the old side moraines were more than 100 m high. So one can imagine how much water and ice this might have been. When the dam broke, the large ice lake would suddenly pour into the valley and thus cause the heavy inundations that now and then were even detectable in the city of Innsbruck which is 50 km far away. More about the research of the Vernagt glacier can be found in the Panorama magazine of the German Alpine Association at "Panorama 1 2001 Reportage: Gletscherforschung Vernagtferner" (but only in German).

This trip report is part of a whole week of high mountain hikes and can be found at www.Tourplaner-Online.de

Find more trip reports, wallpapers, panoramic views etc. on that pages.


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Fluchtkogel from the Hochjochhospitz and descent to the Vernagt Hütte

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