Touching the vo... oh somebody has written something like this...

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Trip Report
Austria, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Nov 30, 1999
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Touching the vo... oh somebody has written something like this...
Created On: Dec 19, 2006
Last Edited On: Dec 20, 2006

Thanks for the title

Of course my story is not so special and exciting than Joe Simpson's "Touching the void" but when it happened I didn't find it so funny. Now I just laugh at my sillyness. :-)

And a story that proves it is worth to have an insurance and if you are in trouble and if you are able to do that call a helicopter. :-) And it is not a commercial.

3rd December 2005, Saturday

I woke up at 4am and around 5:15am Monca stopped at the front of my house with her car. I put my packs into the car very quickly and we got the direction to Schneeberg, Austria. The snow forecasts were not so good to this area so we had decided we went up to the mountain where we could. The main objective was to that day to reach Fischerhütte (2046m).

We arrived to Losenheim ski-court around 10:30 and we attached our skis to our boots and started to go up. The ski-lifts was under maintenance and local fire-brigade and mountain-rescuers practiced to rescue each other from the lift if it stopped. It was 1 week to ski-season so they practiced.

Ski-court was not too exciting. The only unique thing for me was that we slided up on the court. It was my first ski-tour so it was interesting that the skin under my skis held them and didn't let them to slide down on the steep court.


About in 1 hour we reached the Edelweiss-hütte (1244m). We relaxed a little bit and drank a beer. This refuge was very nice: Brand new wooden inside cover, nice toilet and very kind staff.

After the break we started to go on the route that goes on the northern side of Schneeberg. We planned to go up on Hoyosgraben-route that is a little bit to the western direction from Fadensteig-ridge-route. It was marked with yellow to the direction of Kienthalerhütte.

The first part of this route went in the forest on a narrow track. It was a wavy track around 1300m height. After a while we could slide down a little bit. It was very strange for me with skinned skis. I never tried it until that moment. We lost about 50-70m height

We left the pine-trees and the route continued in the side of the mountain. We didn't find Hoyosgraben just slided and slided till we reached a white-green barrier. Here we could make a short interview with a kind Austrian lady: Where we should have countinued our trip if we had wanted to reach the Fischerhütte in this life. :-) Unfortunatelly we didn't see any marks because they might have been under the deep snow.

The lady kindly navigated us to a small shed where we had to turn left. She told us our target was straight from here.

The track to Kienthalerhütte

So we went away for a while until we saw the cross of yellow and green marked routes. It seemed to be good but after a few minutes we couldn't find any green mark. Damned...
It was only on 1500m height. The sun started to go down so we dropped the Fischerhütte-idea and decided to go back to Edelweisshütte. And we had decided we tried it again next day.

We detached the skins from the skis and at last we started skiing back... First time the route was not too steep but when we reached the barrier... it was cool to ski on a wide track. It was the very start of my ski-season so sometimes I had to stopped to relax because it was not easy to ski with heavy backpack. :-)

Backward route was much more faster than skiing uphill. I was fallen once because my fixed right-leg binding became to be unfixed anymore. :-) And when it happened my right leg lifted up from the ski I lost my balance and I took a look to the ground from very close. Fortunatelly I bypassed a big rock so I didn't get any problem. But it was the first sign to I didn't pay any attention.

Around 17:00 we arrived to the refuge and we got place for only 4.50 EUR (with ÖEAV membership what I didn't have). We passed the time with drinking beer and eating. :-)

4th December 2005, Sunday

7:30am... Very rich breakfast. :-)

Sunrise on Schneeberg
The track starts here to the Kienthalerhütte

We got out many things from our backpacks and about 8:45am we started. The target was Fischerhütte again.
We went on the yesterday-route and thanks for relaxing we passed it very quickly. We went across the "yesterday-turning-back-point" and of course we found the missed green marks. :-) We reached another crossing when yellow and green marked routes divided two separate routes again. We slided away on yellow to the direction of Kienthalerhütte.

Quick Austrian skier

We were a little bit higher around 1600m and we reached the level of small-pines (I don't know the name of them in English. If you know that please write it to me !!! Thanks !) We saw a lame goat on the track... Second sign ? :-) Sun was shining we had to use our sunglasses. The weather was perfect.

We serpentined among the little pines ( I still don't know their real names ... :-) ) and we found the bottom of that couloir where the marked route went to the Fischerhütte. This passage was steep at the first time and the skins couldn't hold us on the frozen snow. We always slided back. It was terrible to reach the top of this 15-20m height part. We envied the other skiers who had crampons on their skis.

Bottom of couloir

From here we could slide up again several hundred meters but after that it was steeper and steeper. So we detached the skis and went by foot. Some Austrian skiers overtook us by ski. We didn't know how they can go up on that part. Perhaps their equipments were better than ours... I still don't know.

Doesn't matter... :-)

At 13:39 we had decided anywhere we were at 14:15 we turned back. At this moment we could attach the skis again because there was not too steep. Around 14:10 I saw Fischerhütte. I knew I couldn't reach it in 5 minutes but I felt I had to go up. I reached it at 14:20. My partner - Monca - was a little bit late but 10 minutes later also reached the refuge.

Close to the Fischerhütte

We went into the winter-room and we were glad for we failed the day before because there was only one "bed" (if we can name this thing bed...) and it was a 3x3 square meters concrete bunker. If there were more pepole it could be a real slum. :-) I think this place is only for emergency. There is a heating facility that works with money. In the front of this room there is a cold corridor where you can sleep in warm sleeping bag.

Ok... we ate a little bit and around 15:00 we started to slide down on the superb quality snow. For a while...

Landscape from Fischerhütte

The accident

I reached the top entrance of the couloir... in the deep snow my ski was acting like yesterday in a left curve. My bloody right binding released again, my heel lifted up, I lost my balance and I made a real loop in the air and landed on my back. I felt it was not so good for my leg but I didn't know how big the trouble is.

I detached the skis because I felt I couldn't slide on them so I attached them to my backpack. My left knee and inside the boot my left ankle hurted. I slided down to Monca on my bottom and I told her I couldn't slide on skis...

About in 1 hour we reached the little pines (their English names I still don't know...:-) ). Going here by foot was a real tragedy because I almost dipped to my thigh in the snow. Monca suggested to get back the skis because we were very slow. So I had no choice I reattached the skis... brrr...

I slided as slowly as I could but sometimes I just couldn't hold myself so I rather tipped out and Monca helped me to stand up again. :-)

It was getting dark when we reached that place where we had turned back the day before. I couldn't wear the skis anymore so I detached them and I got a painkiller pill. It helped a little bit later and we could go quicker.

Monca was very kind and she brought my skis... Around 17:00 we arrived to that place where we had to go up to the Edelweisshütte direction. She detached her skis as well and thanks for the pills I could brought my skis. It was needed because she was getting tired.

Around 18:00 we stepped into the refuge where the housekeeper had fears for us. Monca thought that we should have slept there and next day went away.
I wanted to go down as soon as possible. I had energy but I knew I had to use it and went down to the car. So we packed our stuff and went on the track beside the ski-court. The snow was smaller here so my every step was harder and my leg was in pain.

About in 1 hour we could serpentined down beside the court and my leg started to be useless. Monca "ordered" that I left my all stuff there and she brought them to the car with two rounds. My only task was to reach the car on the icy surfaced road and set up the ice-chains onto the wheels while she collect all the equipment from the ski-court. :-)

So I took about 15km and 1200m height difference.

The result

Next day in the hospital:
Outer ankle-bone fraction without dislocation, 6 weeks in plaster :-)

After 4 weeks I cut the plaster and started my own rehabilitation program. First time just walking and swimming, 2 weeks later cycling, more 2 weeks later running.
After the plaster cutting with 45 days I climbed in High Tatra, after plaster cutting with 53 days I was skiing again... but only on very easy courts.

Now my ankle works absolutlelly proper so my program was good. :-)

Thanks for Monca for helping me to get down from the mountain !


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WalksWithBlackflies - Dec 26, 2006 4:01 pm - Voted 10/10

Small Pine Trees

In America, most call these trees Krummholz... probably the same as in Austria. Some call them "cripplebrush". Nice TR! It reminded me of last year when I hobbled on a fractured heel in Utah. Not fun.


julesblaidd - Jan 2, 2007 2:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Small Pine Trees

Thanks for your comment ! I haven't decided yet if I change the "little pine" words to Krummholz or something else. :-)

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Touching the vo... oh somebody has written something like this...

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