Thursday, January 29, 2015

Early Season Ice Review

Ice and snow this past November and December was very hard to find. My winter season started at the end of Kaunertal in western Tyrol.  i climbed and skied the north face of the Weißseespitze with a couple of friends.
The cold, snowy face of the Weißseespitze
In December, everyone was complaining about the lack of snow and ice. I went up to check out some features that I sensed held ice on the north east face of the Berchtesgadner Hochthon on the Untersberg near Salzburg. Found a nice coulior with easy ice. It also laid the foundation for an wonderful alpine climb that I could pull off last week (January 21, 2015).
Easy first ascent on Salzburg's home mountain
The day after Christmas (still no snow yet), Jennifer and I went to the Gastein valley and into the Anlauftal. Walking up the steep boulder and scree drainage, Jennifer was on a treasure hunt, uncovering lost ice climber's booty from last season
"Look what I found, think it'll work?"
The moderate ice fall "Federweis" was in pretty good shape and a nice climb of three to four pitches.
The best ice in Anlauftal on December 26th
Right of "Federweis", the impressive "Mordor" stood in in good form with thin ice on the first two easy warm up pitches. It was interesting to see the bordering climbs of "Supervisor", "Seidenrampe", Rodeo", etc., bare of the surrounding snow.

Some of Austria's most impressive ice climbs

The first significant snow fell in the north-east Alps on December 26th. A lot more snow and cold temperatures arrived (finally) on the 29th of December. As i write this at the end of January 2015, winter has fully hit the area and there is plenty of fresh powder with decent ice in the classic Salzburg area ice climbing venues. However, the lower valley ice has still not come in, and may not this season as was the same with last year.

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