The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 25 July 2014

Lunch Atop Krähe

When we sat lunching on top of Ahornspitze on Wednesday, we looked over towards a path which zig-zagged its way up the very steep hillside opposite and I declared that I liked the look of that path. In fact, so much did I want to walk up it, that I was even prepared to go on the cable-car-from-hell again to make it possible. You can just about make out the switch-backs in this small photo, I think, as it heads up to the gap between the two rocky outcrops on the ridge:


Presenting ourselves at the ticket-office just a few minutes after opening time, we were soon sharing the car with plenty of paragliders. There were no weather doubts this time – this was a very fine day indeed.

After ten minutes at the viewing platform, during which time the paragliders all lined themselves up ready to go…


…we concluded that conditions weren’t yet right for anyone to go running off the side of the cliff, so on we went, towards our objective for the day.

The walk was superb and, whilst there was plenty of blue sky, the weather was so kind as to keep the sun hidden behind a thick cloud as we made our way up the steep bits. Had it been beating down on us, that would have been a mightily uncomfortable climb, but with us in the shade, it was merely a bit hot and sticky.

Looking back we could clearly see the two peaks we had climbed on Wednesday. I’ve identified them below with arrows (although that left-hand arrow only wants for a cross-bar to make it into an anchor; the perils of drawing arrows freehand with a touchpad mouse!)


Once we popped out at the top of the switch-backs (in between the two rocky lumps in the foreground of the above snap), it was just a nightmarishly steep stony path (think stepping on a plate of ball-bearings on every third step) and a couple or three simple scrambly sections to get us up to the top.

There, Mick hugged the cross to save him falling down the few hundred feet of sheer drop which lay about two feet to its north:


It was a fine spot for lunch, with uncountable lumps in front (to the south) of us, as far as the eye could see (although this is a hazy bit of photographic evidence):


Three circuits of our summit were made by a glider whilst we were lunching. The third so close that I was rather alarmed. Mick was highly amused by my alarm, particularly as he captured my gibbering on video. (Such a shame that I haven’t got enough internet to be able to upload it…)

As lovely as this area is, this particular set of hills doesn’t lend itself to circular walks without taking on days far longer than we are fancying at the moment, so rather than continuing along the lovely looking ridge to the next summit, we reluctantly turned and retraced our steps (the plates-of-ball-bearings path being far worse in descent).

By the time we got back to the viewing platform by the cable car station, the paragliders weren’t just queuing, but jumping too. We watched a couple of take-offs, before we wended our way downwards:


Two and a half hours, the signpost by the cable car station said of the path back down to the car park where we had left Colin. I acknowledge that we fair trundled down that last 3000’ of descent, but even so, I had to question whether that timing was designed to make people think they had better buy a ticket to get down, rather than walking. We were back down in an hour and five minutes.

The stats for the day were 11.4 miles walked, with 2800’ of ascent (and 5800’ of descent; hopefully the knees will forgive us soon).

In common with Wednesday, there were plenty of people on the main path, but we saw no-one once we had left that path to make our way up the switch-backs to Krähe, nor did anyone join us on the summit (even if the glider did come close!), where the log book has only been signed four times in the last week; only two people were met on our way down. It seems that the summits aren’t the most popular places to be.

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