Days 36 & 37 – Preparing to return to the snowy peaks

Sunday 19th & Monday 20th August 2018

Tomorrow (Tuesday 21st) we are heading back into the mountains so there may be a pause in the blogs as I may not be able to get on line. We are due out on Friday sometime but, may stay an additional day.

Sunday was a bit of a travelling day as Gandalf transported us from Switzerland back into Austria.

Gandalf’s alter-ego – Cartoon Gandalf

Monday (today) we are having a lazy day and packing for our trip to the Taschachhaus. This hut is, once again, accessed from the Pitztal. (Remember, ‘Tal’ means valley and ‘Pitz’ means, ‘Hey, look. They named a valley after you!’)

This hut is used by the Austrian National Climbing team as a training base so, we will be in a good area for mountain fun and hugely outclassed.

We are not great climbers and our climbs will certainly not be setting the climbing world alight but, we are nothing if not keen. It is therefore fortunate that I am able to take photos that make things look a bit scary and can talk a good adventure, otherwise you may have to look elsewhere for your climbing blogs.

Our plan is to go practice some ice techniques. We have found a nice simple North Face to climb. 150m of 50 degree ice. We may not summit so I’m not going to tell you the name of the mountain just yet but, we will practice our front pointing and maybe even an Abalakov anchor or two.

FYI At the end of an ice climb, there are several descent options: walking, abseiling on fixed anchors or abseiling on abalakov anchors. The Abalakov anchor is quite possibly the most terrifying looking thing you will ever abseil from but for all it’s lack of aesthetic comfort, if done properly, it can be remarkably strong. (Did I mention the, ‘if done be properly caveat?)

Anyway, thats all to come. Keep your eyes open for the Blog later in the week (or a headline in the National newspapers).

I thoroughly recommend this book to any mountaineer. Beginners or expert

Safety Aside: Mrs P noticed that I was reading the Abalakov thread section of the above book for the 10th time. A discussion ensued resulting in Mrs P’s exclamation of, “What do you mean you’ve never actually built one before!?”

I’m not sure that my response of, “It’ll be fine because, being the lightest, you are going first.” was taken in the spirit it was meant.

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