We woke at the Hofpürglhütte to clouds followed by rain. As this wasn’t the best for climbing we had breakfast and wombled down to the cars. We then drove to the Wolfgangsee with some creative navigation that involved us driving over a pass. Unfortunately this cost us 10 EUR for the entertainment but as we are positive people we saw the positive side and intensely enjoyed the mountain air, the winding road, the cows, and all that could be enjoyed.
We drove to Gasthof Kleefeld for lunch and did the Brustwand klettersteig, the same one that Leonie and I had done a few weeks earlier. Then it was off for a swim in the lake briefly as the sun was coming out. It was then time to look for our accommodation between Strobl and Bad Ischl. It turned out to be a very large arty apartment with room for nine people at least. It had a balcony facing onto a river and it was all quite excellent.
We set about cooking dinner and spent the evening listening to chilled out music, drinking wine, and chatting. Sam and Sebas turned up from Munich in time to enjoy the evening too.
On Wednesday night Johannes, Ari and I escaped to Munich in the Ari-mobil. We landed at Sam and Sebas’ and hung out there for the evening.
Then on Thursday the journey continued to Filzmoos in Austria. We drove from there up to a car park below the hofpürglhuette where we meet Brendan and his lady Domi. The weather was much nicer than expected and we sweated our way up the short distance to the hut (about 50 minutes).
The hut is pretty nice. Typical alpine hut. We found a spot in the mattress area and sat out on the terrace for some lunch. In typical Ari fashion, Brendan, Johannes, and I shared most of her lunch.
Then it was off for a via ferrata route that turned out to be mostly a walk with a few not strictly necessary cables near the end. It was nice though and we had patches of snow to cross which amused us and we got to kick steps with our soft shoes in the soft snow.
There was a nice view from the summit of the steigkogel and we could see back down to the hut.
Suddenly terrified that we might get back too late for our Halbpension evening meal we headed off back down. This time we made use of the patches of snow and we did some premium glissading down to the main track. The snow was suitably soft and the gradient not too steep so as to make it safe.
We were all quite successful except that Brendan decided that his shoes were then too wet and that his bare mountain feet would be more appropriate for the rest of the way back along the stony route.
We ascended a short distance back to the steiglpass before heading back down towards the hut aided by more snow.
After dinner we got a little bit of sport climbing in on a couple of the 150+ routes in the area. We headed back down to the hut at dusk shortly before 10 pm. A nice day. Life is good.
We woke to rain on our tent. We prepared breakfast in the winter room and Leonie worked her magic on the wood fired stove. Soon we had warmth. We collected water from the roof and boiled it on the stove and it was enough to cook breakfast.
We packed and got ready to leave but the rain got heavier so we decided we may as well wash and we warmed more water for it.
Eventually we did leave and we headed down into Trento where the sun began to shine and it was a good summer-feeling temperature. We geeked out for a bit with thick Italian hot chocolate after wandering around being tourists.
We then drove off in search of some climbing. Our map failed us again and the road to the Refugio turned out to be a track. This wasn’t a problem though as our legs aren’t painted on.
After about half an hour walking with a short picnic in the middle we came across a nice little crag. The climbs were maybe 15 metres high at most. Instead of just one face there was a small maze of rocks with routes on them. We also had a nice view down to Trento. We got two climbs in before a storm came in and forced us to hide under an overhanging rock.
We headed back to the car after it cleared and drove North East to the dolomites where we called it a night.
Above left: It rained the next day so we huddled in the winter room boiling cups of tea on the wood fired stove that Leonie cranked up. We boiled enough water to wash outside in the rain and then clean ourselves with a hot flannel. Above middle: We had a poke around Trento once the sun came out. Above right: We found a nice wee crag near Trento with some quite doable climbs. We did a couple of climbs and then spent quite some time hiding under an overhang avoiding torrential rain that turned up. Eventually it cleared and the sun came out again and it was warm as if nothing had happened.
Above left: Leonie does some belaying. Above right: Bad weather on the way.
Above: Hiding under a rock from the rain.
We left Canazei in the morning and drove to Trento. The plan was to do a via feratta in the hills but it turned out that I was too spastic to read the map correctly and I lead us on a long walk around the back of the via feratta arriving after 500 m of climbing at the top. So, to avoid too much disappointment we decided to descend instead of climbing the route. It turned out there were just a couple of ladders anyway and otherwise it was a ramble so we didn’t miss a whole lot.
In the evening we drove along the side of the hill to the Rifugio Maranza where we talked to the warden. To our surprise they gave us a tip about where to stay for free. Instead of walking up the hill to the Biv. Marzola Raffaele Bailoni that was apparently full, they suggested walking a shorter distance to a building where they said we would be able to stay the night. We weren’t sure what to expect but packed our gear for an over-nighter and headed off.
It turned out the building was some sort of lodge, perhaps for school camps or something similar. It was closed up except for the winter room. We sneakily pitched our tent on the grass behind the hut and tucked into some rice and cheese.
Above: The “via feratta”route in red, and where we stayed the night marked with a circle.
Above left: We set off in search of the via feratta route. Above middle: Ooops I lead us around the back to the top of the route. Above right: Still we made the most of it and climbed down the couple of ladders.
Above left: Then it turned into nothing more than a walk down to the bottom. Above right: Note to self. Learn how to read a map properly.
Above left: We headed off to Malga Nova for the night. Above right: Leonie checks if anybody is at home. We were alone and had access to the winter room.
Above: We pitched our tent out on the grass behind the hut.
We are cruising back to Christchurch after a night at Mueller Hut. It went a bit like this:
We had a good view in the morning of Mt Cook from our camp site across Lake Pukaki, which meant it wasn’t doing the rain thing around the Main Divide. We headed into Mt Cook Village and after a brief stop at DoC decided we’d risk it and head up to Mueller Hut.
The track start from the camp site near Mt Cook Village and heads up to the Sealy Tarns. There are several bazillion steps and it’s steep enough to make you work hard. Once we had conquered the steps it was on to the poled route to the ridge. This was also nice and steep. Once we reached the ridge we were exposed to the strong wind blasting across the tops. The walk along the ridge takes about 15 minutes and once we had plodded through the snow we sheltered in the hut.
We spent the rest of the day trying to decide whether to stay the night or walk back down again to avoid the bad weather that was predicted. William and I went for a quick prance up to Mt Ollivier where we could see down to Mt Cook Village and out to Lake Pukaki.
Mueller Hut sleeps 28 people and is a large red iron clad creation. It is well anchored with many iron pilings and doesn’t look like it could be blown away as was the case with one of the old alpine huts (whose name I can’t remember). That’s a good thing. Hut tickets can be purchased from DoC and were $36 in 2014. The hut has a volunteer warden and a guitar named Charlotte. Unfortunately there wasn’t a chance to play with Charlotte but William did instigate table traverses in the evening. We had left it long enough that the decision to stay had been made for us.
This was good as after it stormed in the night the weather wasn’t too shabby when we got up in the morning and started walking out. It snowed just a little bit on the ridge. And rained only a little further down. We escaped back to Christchurch where we cooked Anita a Birthday dinner.
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Above: A nice wee map of our walk to Mueller Hut (that’s if www.topomap.co.nz still lives).
Above left: Simon, William, and I camped the night at Lake Pukaki after I met them in Twizel after Gina’s tramping trip with her Wellingtonians. We found nice spot on a hilly bit and pitched our tent out of the wind. It wasn’t too far away from where Leonie and I had camped a year ago. Above right: The weather was finally looking ok and I raced down to the water in the morning to get this quick snap of Mt Cook.
Above left: Mt Cook didn’t look too bad through the super zoom on my DSLR either… Above right: We headed into Mt Cook Village, checked what the story was with DoC, and despite the predictions of high winds and bad weather on Sunday we decided to go for it. We began the climb of many steps.
Continue reading Mueller Hut Jan 2014