Thunder helps descending...

Thunder helps descending...

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 47.06638°N / 11.11954°E
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 20, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Via Ferrata
Seasons Season: Summer

Last weekend I had a beautiful stay at Franz Senn-hut. I' ve been there with a friend of mine to climb some nearby mountains. We took a train from Munich to Innsbruck on friday morning. After joining the bus to Mutterbergalm, our excitement grew while the bus entered the Stubai valley and the first glaciers were visible. After arriving in Neustift-Milders, we put our rucksacks on our backs and started to ascent to the hut. It seamed that the trail along the Oberbergtal has no end. The heat of the afternoon sun did the rest to make the ascent very exhausting. Four hours later we arrived at the hut. Later we heard that there is some sort of taxi service from Neustift to Oberissalm about 1.5h from the hut...

Franz Senn hutFranz Senn-hut

The next day's goal was the ascent of Innere Sommerwand (3122m/10243ft), an easy glacier climb. This should be our warm up, because we haven' t been on a glacier for one year. It was a beautiful climb over a glacier in poor conditions. Already at 9am water was flowing down the glacier at its surface and the lower parts of the glacier were only ice. On the upper parts only about 5cm of snow covered it. After summiting, we inteded to climb Mittlere Kräulspitze (3303m/10837ft), but because of unstable weather conditions we changed our minds and started to descent. On our way back to the hut we summited Vorder Sommerwand (2677m/8783ft) instead of Kräulspitze.

Clouds at Franz Senn hutBeautiful clouds...

Back at the hut we had nice conversations with several people and finished the day sitting in front of the hut watching the clouds. There were impressive formations while the clouds raced from south to north. We watched this wind (called Föhn) breaking down during the evening. It was totally amazing for me, because I haven' t seen this before. The clouds which raced all day long became slower and slower and after about only 30min they stopped and stayed at there place. We studied the weather forecast, which didn' t look so good and got to bed early, because our next day' s trip would be hard...

Alpeiner FernerAlpeiner Ferner

Early next morning I stood up and looked out of the window. I saw completely nothing but a gray wall. Quiet unsure what to do we decided to get up and slowly prepared to leave. After having breakfast we saw that there are no clouds above the fog and this started our engines. At about 7:30 we left the hut and hiked towards Alpeiner Ferner. Our plan was to summit Vorderer Wilder Turm (3177m/10424ft), Hinterer Wilder Turm (3294m/10808ft) and Wildes Hinterbergl (3288m/10788ft). Because of the weather forecast (rain and thunderstorms in the evening), we watched the sky carefully, but everything was fine and no dangerous clouds were around...


After we roped on at Verborgen-Berg Ferner I saw some big clouds around, but they didn' t look dangerous. A little more dangerous was the fact, that I' ve forgotten my glacier glasses. Because of the fog around us I couldn' t look well through my normal sun glasses. Finally I applied some paper on the sides of my glasses and then everything was alright again. Then we started to ascent the glacier and got up to Turmscharte between the two Wilder Turm summits.

On the summit of Vorderer Wilder TurmOn the summit...

Our first summit that day should have been Vorderer Wilder Turm, but as we reached the tiny via ferratta leading up the summit block, we saw that there is no possibility reaching the first hold. It is 3m above the ground!!! We think that the glacier was bigger when the hold was set. After trying several things to somehow get up to the summit, we decided to say that 5m below the summit is fine and started to have a break. During this break we watched the weather and saw huge clouds moving in. Therefore we decided turn around and started to descent to the hut at about 2pm

The last photoThe last photo below Turmscharte

Below Turmscharte I took some photos and I didn' t know that these shots would be the only ones until we reached the hut (as well as I didn' t know how fast this would be...). During the descent on the glacier we had a white out, but it was easy to follow our tracks. Shortly after we left the glacier I heard a little thunder. Because of the fact that I haven' t seen any lightning I assumed the thunderstorm is still a good distance away. We started to increase our speed in order to get down to the hut before the thunderstorm arrives. A few minutes later we heard another thunder, but this time it was loud and sounded near. We were still at about 3000m/9843ft with no possibility to hide...

So we did the only thing that was left: RUNNING! Cheered by thunder and thoughts of lightning striking into our ice axes we did the fastest descent we' ve ever done. We had to cover about 900m/2953ft of altitude difference and 6km distance. After about the half of the distance rain set in and our run got quite dangerous. We ran parts, which were exposed to lightning and the rest was nearly jogging...

Webcam shotThe webcam image

Before I left Munich I gave my father a link to the webcam of Franz Senn-hut. Occasionally my father looked at the webcam and saved an image with two people arriving at the hut: us! The time of the webcam-shot made it possible to get our descent time from my last photo taken at 1:30pm below Turmscharte: 1h 48min !!! Additionally I have to say that we didn' t hurry up until the first thunder so we covered most of the distance and altitude difference in about 1h...

Needless to say how tasty the beer at the hut has been...


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-2 of 2

lisae - Aug 24, 2006 9:15 pm - Voted 10/10

Great Photos

I really like what I call 'dramatic sky' pictures. So much more interesting than pictures with blue, sunny skies.

Lukas Kunze

Lukas Kunze - Aug 25, 2006 2:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Photos

Thanks lisae! What I like most are 50/50 photos with the sun partially or totally behind clouds...

Viewing: 1-2 of 2



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Alpeiner BergeTrip Reports