Monday, 12 July 2010

Schüsselkarspitze, 24th May 2010

Michael Stanton approaching the Schüsselkarspitze

After a month of May during which it seemed to have rained almost every day we finally got a good weather forecast for the weekend of the Pfingsten (Whitsun) holiday. After such a long period of forced inactivity I was keen to get up into the real mountains again, and so suggested, unwisely as it turned out, the Schüsselkarspitze for another attempt on the Meßner/Sint.

My attempt on the first pitch of the Meßner/Sint

I had walked up the Puitztal on my own a month earlier, and lower down there was now less snow. However, on the summit ridge of the Schüsselkarspitze there was a lot of new snow which had not been there then, and great black streaks of water covered the entire face as the sun melted this snow.

An avalanche coming down the middle of the south face

Armed with slightly better information than on my previous attempt we found the start straight away. However, our attempt was to end half way up the first pitch at the first difficulties, which were soaked with melt water. Cabbage-sized snowballs fell through the air from the ridge above as I climbed, landing some distance out from the foot of the face and burying themselves in the snow field. I climbed back down again, and it took little discussion for us to decide to abandon our attempt there and then. This was probably a wise descision: as we descended in the warmth of the late morning sun the central face was swept by several avalanches.

Descending through old avalanche debris

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