2018-03-11

Hüenerchopf (2170m)

The weather forecast predicted rain and snow in the afternoon. The avalanche situation was uncertain. Mark and I still wanted to do something outside, so we decided to snowshoe up the Hüenerchopf. It's not super steep and most of the approach is on a gentle ridge, meaning there's not much above us that could drop on our heads.

The few houses that make up Vermol.
Don't get caught in one of those fuckers.

We parked at Vermol at the end of a steep mountain road. Luckily free of snow this time. What we didn't expect, but should have, is that this route is also super popular with ski tourers. The slopes were scraped clean to the point that it almost looked like a resort with prepared runs. The upside of course was a nice and easy track for us to follow. No breaking trail this time around.

We made quick progress and overtook a few parties of ski touring people. When we passed a hut we met a local standing neck deep in a hole in the snow he dug for getting water from the creek below. He strongly suggested we head up a specific direction because the slope we were aiming for was "about to go". We followed his advice and indeed we could see a huge old slab avalanche on the approach he had warned us about. The snow was of the wet and heavy kind that would crush you before it'd suffocate you. Thanks dude.

Dramatic clouds and menacing colors in the sky. Loved it!

We gained the summit and met two guys on skis who brought their dogs up. We had vaguely hoped to be able to continue along the ridge to the nearby Madchopf. After a few tentative steps we decided it was too dicey. Windswept untracked snow and exposed terrain followed by a descent into a very avalanche prone face didn't really seem like a good idea. So we headed back down the way we came, racing the two men with their dogs and arriving at our car at the same time with them.

The entire roundtrip of 1150m and 12km took us less than 4 hours so we were already heading home at 1pm. Enough day left to enjoy some nice family time with Leonie and Anita in the afternoon ;-)

Looking back. The summit cross is just visible in the top right corner.
Luckily the ice was next to the road instead of on it...