Krönten (3108m)

Ralf had prior commitments for Sunday so we left the office Friday late afternoon in order to squeeze in a mountaineering quicky on Saturday. Shortening the ascend to the Leutschach hut (2208m) by using the cable car up to the Arnisee (1370m) we arrived at the hut just before it got dark. The hut was pleasantly deserted - four teenagers playing cards were the only other guests.

Bristen (3073m)
Provisions for the hike.

We had a comfortably late start at 6:30 the next morning. The sun was just coming up. Wonderful atmosphere. Serene quiet in a frozen world. There had been about thirty centimeters of fresh snow during the past week. Mostly melted away where the sun can reach, but still deep and powdery in the shade. We were the first to break trail through the virgin snow. It was only once we reached the summit ridge of the Krönten that we could see other people. We later met them at the summit proper. A bunch of mountain guides with a class from an international private school on a four day excursion. Imagine that! I'm so envious. Class under an open sky. Learning about mountaineering to boot. I definitely attended the wrong school!

Bristen. My next objective?

Applying half frozen sun screen when you are cold to begin with it not much fun. So I hadn't used any when we started in the morning. Sitting on the summit in the bright sun at one hour before noon I finally got it out. A lesson in physics. The small bottle had been closed at home and I first opened it at an altitude of more than 3100 meters. The difference in air pressure made the liquid sputter out of the bottle on its own and snake up into the air. Fun to look at ;-)

First sun hitting the mountains.

We retraced our steps back down and circled the entire mountain back to the hut. This was slowly getting crowded for the weekend. We sat in the sun on the terrace for a while and watched hikers emerge from the clouds below us. We were idly wondering how long it'd take us to get back down to the cable car. I posited we could make it in an hour. This was overheard by a group of hikers who very much doubted this. Challenge accepted. If you know me, you also know I'm a sucker for this type of provocation. In the end it took us an hour and ten minutes.

Another perfect outing. Thanks Ralf!

~2000m up and down
Working our way up the Sasspass.
We just came down that steep scree from the pass. Need to climb back over it on our way back ;-(
Ralf leading the way to the Kröntenlücke.
Locking back down whence we came.
On the ridge.
The class scrambling around on the summit tower.
On the ridge. Gross Spannort in the back (left). I attended a mountaineering course in the Spannort hut but didn't get to climb the mountain yet.
Beautiful 360° vista!
The Kröntenhut way below. We've been there before for climbing but got rained out.
Rappelling off the summit tower.
Downclimbing through the Kröntenlücke back onto the glacier.
Wichelhorn. Thomas and I climbed it last year.
Winter is coming!
Our hut and the strikingly colored Nidersee.
Clouds moving up from the valleys.
Looking back to the Sasspass. Wichelhorn on the left, the snowy couloir is the pass.
Descending into the foggy world of the lowlanders.

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