2013-03-06

Biet (1965m) Snowshoe Hike

Another picture perfect winter day on Sunday. Linus, Gintare, Sasa, Henrik and me decided to give Biet (1965m) another go. Last time the snow was so deep we had to content ourselves with the much more modest Stock (1600m). This time around the avalanche danger was pretty much non-existent (if one can ever say that) and the trail already well broken in. The snow cover was much less deep than last time and you could mostly walk on a frozen crust without sinking in very much. So we had an easy cruise to the summit. It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference the weather and conditions make. One and the same mountain can turn from an easy Sunday stroll into an impossible toil - or the other way around.

A new friend.

There wasn't a single cloud in the sky and despite starting out with sunscreen level 30 and later upgrading to 50 during the trip I got sunburned and turned myself into a proper Redneck. The weather forecast said it should be around freezing yet we were still hiking in t-shirts in the sun.

View towards Stock and Sihlsee.
Fidisberg (1919m)

While we were alone most of the way up we had the usual "summit convergence" phenomenon and met a bunch of people near the summit. Most were ski touring. One guy in particular skied off from the summit cross, laying down easy and quick turns. It looked like this wasn't challenging him enough and indeed he stopped just above a cliff and contemplated skiing down that. While I was still wondering whether I should get out my camera or call REGA (the helicopter rescue service) he already made it down. Yikes!

The gang on the summit of Biet (1965m).

Going down towards the ski resort of Weglosen we stopped at the Druesberghütte and had some beers. The place was crowded with people renting sleds and other funky devices (Snow Skates? Schneebocks?) and having a mighty good time. Sitting on the terrace we watched paragliders spiraling around in the blue sky.

Linus decided to slide down on his butt - much to our amusement!

Since the trail was heavily frequented by all the people on skis and sleds who were both much faster than us and made us jump out of the way all the time, we decided to take short cuts through the deep snow, cutting the switchbacks in a straight line. A lot of fun. This worked well until we reached the final stretch of the road. Apparently no one else had taken the shortcut here before. Linus checked his GPS and gave the all clear. So I charged ahead. I started wondering why the parking lot, which was still some two to three hundred vertical meters below me, seemed to be just a small step away. The "Finnish Shortcut" would have sent me right over the edge of a cliff! Backtracking up to the road through deep snow on a steep slope may have been the most strenuous part of this day's trip. I'll get back to Linus for that!

Tricky shortcut down the mogul slope.
Paragliders in front of the cliff Linus wanted to send us over.
Snowcat bringing the toys back up.

Arriving at the base we could see that the cliff we had just been standing on was vertical to overhanging and looked very suitable for climbing and ice climbing with lots of ice hanging off its face.
Despite this being a ski area there are only 5 buses a day and we had just missed one by mere minutes. Almost 1.5 hours of waiting. There are two restaurants/bars. We check them both out but they allow smoking and the air inside is just unbreathable. Also, they are playing ridiculously bad apres ski party music. Thus we unanimously agree and prefer to sit outside at the bus stop rather than suffocating in the bar.

Gintare
Linus
Henrik
Sasa
Me

~15km, ~1150m up, ~1050m down