28 Jul 2014

Hiking in the Pfunderer Berge

Elijah walking

Below the Lappacher Joechl

Unsettled weather

Kris hiking to the pass

Steep hike to the pass

Looking to the Weissenbachtal

At the Lappacher Joechl

Kris heads for the Chemnitzhuette

Kris, the boys and I planned a multi-day hike. The weather wasn’t amazing, but we brought umbrellas and resolved to make the best of it. I found a four or five day hike in the Pfunderer Berge, which is the southern side of the Zillertal Range. This is in Italy, sometimes hard against the Austrian border. We drove through rainy mountains, went shopping for snacks at the last decent sized town which was called Mühlen in Taufers, then made the short drive from there to Lappach. I was worried about parking, but we managed okay. The town was building a new tunnel which appeared to be very oversized next to the small array of houses and churches. It rained lightly.

We had a lot of ground to cover, and headed up a very steep trail behind the town to a narrow grassy pass 1000 meters above the town called the Lappacherjöchl. Along the way, a month got on Elijah’s hat, and he rode all the way from deep forest to high meadows above timberline.

We ate some wild strawberries, and I even nibbled on a fine looking mushroom growing nearby. No ill effects to report!

The boys did a great job on this sometimes punishing section in the forest, and they loved playing in the boulders by a little house at mid-height, just before walking a road for a little while to grassy country below the pass.

On the way to the Tristan Lake

This river was extremely white!

Near the Chemnitzhuette

We have our own room!

After-dinner bouldering

Rowan playing “Halo”

Morning, time to go!

Below the Grosser Moeseler

At the pass we were happy to have finished the elevation gain for the day. Now, we just had a long and beautiful traverse northwards to the Chemnitzerhütte, our home for the night. We passed a couple of beautiful lakes, and eventually the boys went off in front, we told them to hold dinner for us at the hut, as it was getting late!

The final slopes to the hut had some boulder scrambling and snowfields to cross. Folks were really nice at the hut, and after a great dinner, Elijah, Rowan and I went out to play in the boulders. Elijah especially enjoyed trying to do the hardest climbs.

The weather was great the next morning, and we set off across alpine country making for the southern glacial slopes below the Großer Möseler, one of the higher peaks of the region. Soon, the view before us was filled with snow and ice, but sun and babbling brooks made our immediate environment really lovely.

Below the Neveser Glacier

Rowan loved his binoculars

Napping below the Breithock

Beautiful granite footpath

A little more bouldering

Rowan practicing slabs

The Neveser See

Kris getting heavy metal

I had a strange accident, where I stepped on a rock on the side of the trail that was kind of a “trap door.” Before I knew what was happening, I was hurtling straight down in rocks and brush on the side of the trail! Luckily, I stopped after about 10 feet. Wow…that got the blood running! I recalled that only once before had I had any similar accident…it was in 2001 on an ill-fated attempt to climb Mount Challenger, when I slipped on wet heather and took a ride straight down the hill for about 15 feet. Crazy stuff!

Anyway, on this day we walked seemingly forever, but we took a lot of nice rests too. We ate snacks, napped, looked down at the beautiful lake below us (the Neves Stausee). We had to travel a bit downhill and then back up again in the last hour before reaching the Edelrauthhütte, but this was no problem.

At the hut, we settled in for dinner, noticing that it started to rain outside. We planned to head south for another day, but a look at the map revealed that it would be an exceptionally long day to reach the next hut. We decided to go down to Lappach instead, especially since the weather forecast for the next days was poor. The boys made a friend, gathering with him around a game of Minecraft.

So we hiked down and east to the Neves Stausee in the morning. The boys helped herd some errant goats south along the lake to join their friends. The dam at the end of the lake was quite impressive, then a last steep trail led down into the valley underneath the dam. We talked about what to do if the dam broke!

Snow below the Eisbruggscharte


Above the Pfeifholdertal

Heading down to the lake

The Neveser See

There is a dam there

My family

We came down to Oberlappach on the road, and 20 minutes later we were back at the car. We got some gelato and a drink, then as if on cue, the thunderclouds burst open right after we got in the car. We had outrageous rainstorms all the way back over the pass.

On the way home, we stopped to ride a summer mountain rollar coaster and do a ropes course at Oberaudorf, making for a very full day!

This was good fun. I love hiking with Kris and the boys so much.