On Sunday Linus, Sasa and I went to Balzers in Liechtenstein to climb the Mittlerspitz (1899m) and Rotspitz (2127m). Weather was overcast and gray, just like it had been all month thus far. The trail is beautiful with a nice, constant slope, passing through varied forests, steep cliffs and deep gullies cut into the mountain by creeks. Just when we thought we wouldn't need our snowshoes we started a long traverse through a coniferous forest. Curiously the snow on and under the trees was already gone, but the space between the trees, and thus our trail, was still covered in a meter of snow. This had the effect of making us taller and hitting all the branches you'd normally pass under. Bushwhacking in snowshoes - a first for me ;-)
We reached the summit cross on the Mittlerspitz (1899m) in dense fog. To get to the Rotspitz the summer trail traverses just below the ridge. That's what we did. It kept getting steeper and steeper. I was leading and cutting steps for the others because I was the only one who brought his ice ax. Suddenly I heard rumbling behind me and turned around to see Sasa tumble down the slope. There was nothing Linus or I could do but watch in horror as Sasa, seemingly in slow motion, kept going downhill. Sometimes head and face first.
Luckily he came to a stop on his own. Aside from some cuts and bruises (and a rush of Adrenaline) nothing bad came of the incident. We were all a bit spooked though. I tried going on for a while, but the slope only got worse, so we decided to turn around and bail. At this point it was already late in the day, the snow was getting worse and worse and progress was very slow. So we would have gotten into the dark anyways. Retracing our steps, descending straight down a slope that caused us much sweat and swearing on the way up, was tons of fun on the way down. We tried various techniques from running over skating to sliding on our bums (Linus!).
~17km, ~1600m up and down