Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ok, not this weekend

This weekend we wanted to do a longish multi-pitch route. We settled on spending Saturday night in the Fergenhütte and then climbing the Fergenkegel on Sunday. It's a good sounding plan because we get to stay in hut without a custodian (which we haven't done before) and the climb itself is nice and long without being too difficult. From the descriptions we read it also sounds like it's not something that loads of people do. When Andrea reserves our spots they say that 12 other people have already reserved. We hope that at least some won't show and assume that they're going to be hikers.

Saturday morning we get a late start (it's a short day) and start walking from Monbiel at around 12:30. At first we follow the road away from the (very full) parking lot, turn off onto a forest road, and then turn to ascend on another forest road. By this point we're alone. After some easy, well except for the heavy packs, climbing under the trees we do a lunch break with views in a clearing and then continue our way up along a nice path. Up, up, up we go until we get to the hut shortly before 3. Only one other couple is there (yay!) though they are climbers (hrm). We claim two beds, checkout the small (but nice) hut, put a beer in the water trough to cool for later, and have a short rest. As we're leaving for the usual reconnaissance tour a solo hiker arrives. She has apparently made a navigation mistake and is at the wrong hut, but the planned hut is more than 5 hours away, so she calls down to ensure that there's going to be a free bed.
Fergenhut and Fergenkegel in the background
The reco-tour is pretty straightforward: we follow the marked path towards the Fergenfurgga and then turn off on the obvious line towards the base of the Fergenkegel. The "tower" itself looks great! We're both very psyched since we haven't climbed something quite as tower-like before. On the way back down we follow some sheep paths to a nice view point where we hang out for a bit before heading back to the hut. At the hut we have a snack and a cool beverage, check the hut book to see what fraction of overnight guests climb the Fergenkegel (small! reassuring!), change into somewhat warmer clothes (the temp is dropping) and start to think about moving inside as the clouds that have been threatening for the past few hours are now occasionally loosing a drop of rain. As we're thinking this through another group of three, all with climbing gear, arrives. What? A couple minutes later, another group of three, also all with climbing gear, arrives. Uh oh. Shortly behind them is another group of climbers. There end up being 12 climbers in this group and they're likely planning to do the Fergenkegel (it's really the only climb in the area). Crap! Andrea confirms their planned route (Fergenkegel, of course) and we look at each other and make a very quick decision. There's a bus from the parking lot shortly before 7. It's 5 now. We quickly re-pack our stuff and head back down. Of course it starts raining as we're walking down, including some nice thunder (luckily we're head down the flank and are under trees). We move fast so that by the time we get to the fields at the bottom we have some time to wait out the last of the real rain under some trees. Back at the parking lot we have another sandwich while waiting and then get on the bus for what turns out to be an even-longer-than-anticipated trip home thanks to multiple train delays.

That was just bad luck that the big group was there, so we'll go climbing locally on Sunday and plan to do this trip another time.

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