Dolomittenrundfahrt Lienz 2019

Hmmm, what to say? Last year was much better.

Leonie and I drove to Lienz on Friday evening. On Saturday we did a couple of klettersteige, and on Sunday we did the Dolomittenrundfahrt. I was pretty happy and a bit surprised how the race went last year. I got 23rd place in my category. This year it was a little different. Let’s start with some nice pictures of the klettersteige.

Cris (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)

Above: Leonie and I went and did a couple of klettersteige before the race. Here I am at the start of the Pirknerklamm.

Climbing along the river 3 (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)

Above: The route was nice, just above the river.

Cris and Leonie (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)Leonie climbing up (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)

Above left: The route was officially closed due to damage after flooding or something but we decided to check it out anyway thinking we would turn around if it was dubious. Above right: Leonie finds bits like this a bit spooky but she did well.

Cris waving (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)Leoine and waterfall (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)

Above left: Definitely a nice route up the river. Above right: We had to climb out of the klamm at the end of the first section past a big waterfall.

Leonie jumping across the river (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)Leonie climbing (Pirknerklamm Klettersteig)Cris and church

Above left: The second was more open. Leonie tries to keep her feet dry on the river crossing. Above middle: The second section was scenic like the first. Above right: We tried another klettersteig after the first near a small town.

We both started in the elite block again. Last year the race went from zero to full speed at the gun. This year they neutralised the start a little and the pace wasn’t so extreme. We still had a police escort at the front but no police helicopter this time.

There was a crash in the bunch in front of me not long after the start but I managed to avoid getting tangled up amongst the cyclists and continued. I wanted to get a good bunch so rode up near to the front at the beginning of the first climb and cycled as hard as I could. This worked quite well for about half of the ascent and I passed many people. It didn’t work so well for the second half and a few people passed me and many people got away up the road.

At the top of the climb I hooked onto the back of a bunch and stuck with them for quite a while but I wasn’t feeling particularly springy and fresh and I realised I wasn’t going to be able to hang about with them for the entire race.

I kept up for a bit along the rolling course but then slipped back to another bunch. This continued for much of the race until I had slipped a long way back down the field. I was feeling even less springy by now. The climbing is essentially over around 80km and around the time we reached the valley back to Lienz a bigger bunch caught up again and I hung on to that. We made a good pace down the valley. I didn’t bother sprinting at the finish.

Unlike last year I didn’t go back to get my camera as I was pretty sure Leonie wouldn’t be far away. In fact, during the race I was expecting her to come flying by in one of the bunches. I was right, she rolled across the finish line about 10 minutes later. Far too close behind me for comfort! Probably she’ll be faster than me next year.

We took some posy photos at the finish line and complained a bit how we both had bad races. We headed back to the camp site and got ready to laze until Leonie found out that she had got 3rd place in her category. Hmmm…

Leonie at the prize giving (Dolomitenrundfahrt)

Above: Leonie at the prize giving.

Leonie on the podium (Dolomitenrundfahrt)

Above: Leonie did extremely well getting 3rd place in her category.

Leonie and her prize (Dolomitenrundfahrt)

Above: Leonie posing with her trophy.

After the prize giving we did some premium lazing.



Exploring Karwendel

Leonie drove to Lindau on Wednesday night. The original plan had been to go to the Brenta dolomites and re-enact the nice little trip we had there in 2016 but the weather was not playing nice so instead we made a new plan. The new plan was to go to trusty Ticino where the sun always shines. However, when we checked the weather forecast on Thursday morning the sun was not shining. Oh no, trusty Ticino had failed us. As the sun was shining in the Rheintal we drove to Götzis and did the via Örfla klettersteig leaving out the D section at the end. Then, as that wasn’t enough, we drove to Gargellen and did the Ronggwasserfall klettersteig there. Leonie powered through and didn’t need to be belayed like the first time we did it. This was good as I didn’t bring my rope. We stayed at her flat in Innsbruck/Hatting for the night.

Heading off to the via OerflaWalking to the start of the via OerflaOn the klettersteig (via Oerfla klettersteig)On the klettersteig 2 (via Oerfla klettersteig)

1) We headed off to do the via Örfla klettersteig. The sun was out and peeping into the ravine on the walk in. Leonie took a moment to bask in it.

2) The route goes up a narrow valley before taking a left and following a river.

3) The klettersteig is easy except for the last section which is graded D. You can avoid it though by escaping out of the ravine to the left.

4) We did some posing as usual.

Autumn coloursLeonie in the ravine (Gargellen Klettersteige)Leonie on the Rongg-Wasserfall klettersteig (Gargellen Klettersteige)Dinner time (Hating)

1) There were plenty of autumn looking colours about.

2) We drove to Gargellen in the afternoon and did the Rongg-Wasserfall Klettersteig.

3) Leonie didn’t have an issue with the height like she did a few years ago when we first did this one.

4) We had dinner at Leonie’s flat in Hatting.

On Friday we struggled to make up our minds what to do but ended up driving to Mittenwald and taking the gondola up into the mountains (Germany’s second highest cable car no less). We did the Mittenwalder klettersteig. It started in snow but that soon vanished and we spent a few hours wandering along the ridge. It was a mix of Grade A and B but quite nice. It was quite windy up so high. We got out of the forest in drizzle and walked back to the car in the dark before driving back to Hatting for the night.

Careful in the snow (Exploring Karwendel)Us on the Mittenwalder Klettersteig (Exploring Karwendel)

1) We did the Mittenwalder Klettersteig. The first part was under a dusting of snow.

2) Narrow in parts.

On Saturday we woke up to much grey but the webcams in the hills were saying blue sky so we headed to Hofer for some delicious goodies including the very tasty Hofer Nutbread. Then we drove to Hochzirl. Despite only planning an overnight trip my tramping pack was full. We headed off in the mist but after an hour or so of walking we left the mist into sunshine. Sunshine… We reached the Sollstein Haus after a bit under 3 hours of walking. The hut was closed for the season but the winter room was open. It’s a little building near the hut with a sign saying “winterraum” so you don’t get confused. It sleeps six but would be even more comfortable with four. There was plenty of food left in the hut. Probably we could have walked up without bringing any ourselves. There’s a small table, a bench, and a wood-fired stove. There are a few pots and plates. You could happily light the fire and cook on the stove-top. I had brought my MSR cooker though as we weren’t sure there would be wood and after all who trusts that old fangled technology anyway.

We ate lunch and later went to check out the little klettersteig near the hut. There’s an interesting wee climbing area also and the klettersteig loops around this so that you can set up top ropes. Leonie decided it wasn’t for her and I decided my crocs would be just perfect for the D section, which they were. It didn’t feel like a D section…

We shared the hut with a couple of mountain bikers in the evening and they got the fire going while we cooked a curry outside and watched the sunset.

Walking up to Solsteinhaus (Exploring Karwendel)Nice view (Exploring Karwendel)Cris waves from above (Exploring Karwendel)Autumn colours from near the hut (Exploring Karwendel)Nice sunset in the evening from the Solsteinhaus (Exploring Karwendel)Sunset from Solsteinhaus (Exploring Karwendel)Inside the winterraum(Exploring Karwendel)

1) On Sunday we risked it and walked up through the fog to the Solsteinhaus.

2) We ascended above the fog as we climbed and had a great view down into the valley.

3) I did a short sport klettersteig near the hut.

4) Autumn colours near the hut.

5) A nice sunset looking down into the valley.

6) More nice sunset.

7) We stayed in the small cozy winter room that was unlocked.

On Sunday we headed up to the Erlspitze via the Zirler Klettersteig. This involved walking up to the Eppzirler Scharte. The route up was steep and eroded. From the saddle we could see down into the valley behind and also to the start of the klettersteig. The route was easy, a mix of A and B sections but it was still quite interesting. The erosion has lead to lots of rock towers forming. Well, something caused them to form. I’m not a geologist. About 3/4 of the way through there is a D section that I did and Leonie skipped, walking around it. Then a few more easy bits and we were at the summit. We walked back down the normal route to the hut, made lunch was consumed and then we walked down to the car.

I caught the early train back to Lindau on Monday morning ending a nice few days of exploring.

In the mountains (Exploring Karwendel)Us in the mountains (Exploring Karwendel)At the summit of  Erlspitze (Exploring Karwendel)View down the valley (Exploring Karwendel)View down the valley again (Exploring Karwendel)

1) The following day we did the Zirler Klettersteig up above the hut.

2) More posing was necessary.

3) And some more posing at the summit.

4) Leonie looks down the valley.

5) Autumn colours on the descent.

Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle

I caught the train to Vandans in the morning arriving about 11 am. From there I jogged/walked into the hills towards the Lindauer Hütte. The plan was to do get some exercise but at the same time do a klettersteig. The via ferrata in question was the  Gauerblickhöhle klettersteig. The topo looked very funky showing the route going through a mountain so I was keen to try it out. Instead of going all the way to the Lindauer Hütte I left the path earlier and headed directly towards the klettersteig. It began to climb, in parts steeply, until I reached a junction and could see the start of the route ahead. I put my harness, helmet, and headlamp on where the fixed cable began. There was still some snow built up on the side of the mountain and I had a great view down towards the hut and out to the Drei Türme and the Drusenfluh. I began climbing. Nothing too difficult. I reached the large entrance to the tunnel after not long. It was cold inside, 8 degrees according to a thermometer hanging on the rocky wall. It was also pitch black so with head lamp on I started through the cavern. The route went up for maybe 20 m and then descended perhaps 50 m before emerging back into the sunshine. From there the fixed rope continued steeply up for another 15 minutes, perhaps, and then it over.

I stopped for lunch and looked over towards the mountain “Sulzfluh”. It was an easy walk up to the summit but I decided not to ascend it and instead headed another way. I ran over a large rocky plateau of lime stone with big sink holes towards the Tilisunahütte. There I had a drink before heading back via Schwarzhornsattel arriving back at the Latschau Stausee some hours later. I checked the train timetable and realised I’d have to run fast. I managed to get back down to Vandans just in time and caught the train back to Lindau.

The whole trip took around 8 hours and was about 30km long.

Running to the start of the Klettersteig (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)Snow at the start (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)

Above left: I caught the train to Vadans and set off into the hills at a jog/walk. Above right: There was still some snow at the start of the route.

The entrance to the tunnel (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)View out from the cave (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)

Above left: The route has an interesting tunnel that is perhaps a couple of hundred metres long. Above right: There is no climbing within the tunnel but there is still a rope to follow.

Inside the tunnel (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)Me in the tunnel (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)

Above left: Rope in the tunnel. Above right: I had my trusty head lamp to see the way.

A cow (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)View back down into the valley (Klettersteig Gauerblickhöhle)

Above left: An Austrian cow. My my. Above right: I ran to the Tilisunahütte and then back down into the valley to Vandans where I caught the train back to Lindau.