FATMAP difficulty grade
This was a symbolic day for us, having travelled for now over a thousand kilometres, over several years, as we were to be entering Austria, our country where eventually we would finish our Transalp journey, in Vienna, several years later.
On one level a week a year seems like agonisingly slow progress, but on the other hand we each cherish these weeks together, very much looking forward to the next week-long adventure, for the remaining 51 week of the year. Not all days are amazing though, it's all part of the journey, some pieces of the jigsaw better than others.
This day started like so many, with a leg loosener, walking a few km up the road to get to the snow.
It wasn't entirely clear the best route onto the glacier.
A guided party nearby did a good job of showing us which way not to go, so we quickly leapfrogged them onto the skiers L bank of the glacier.
We had been tempted to go the opposite side, via an obvious footpath to a hut, but that wouldn't have linked and we'd have lost hours. The glacier was benign and pretty well filled in, but the snow was dirty and high friction, bad for the skins, following the Saharan sand event of a few days earlier.
This didn't particularly matter on the way up, but the ski down was bad, then it got absolutely appalling- my picture shows this pretty clearly! Nonetheless progress was good, and after the lost guided party we saw nobody in the wilderness, and it was great to be in Austria at a very lovely hut, in decent time.