on monday, i took the day off work to have the chance for some spring splitboarding and new experiences.
we went down south across lower austria to reach the border of styria and parked our car near the small town of niederalpl. no one else was around, and we took off to a lonely tour up the rodel, a wellknown skitouring route, often-times flooded with people.
the normal route leads over a small ladder and then up to the veitsch, but we turned right before that ladder to reach the bottom of the east facing walls of the großer wildkamm, as we had a different mission in mind.
we changed from splitboard to crampons, mounted the boards on our packs, put our helmets on and then started the hike up the wide couloir.
i have participated in a course on how to use crampons and ice axe correctly (rock and the ice camp by Die Bergstation), but so far had never used my crampons during a real tour.
i had quite some respect mixed with a slight feeling of fear when we approached the start of the hike, but i immediately noticed again how well crampons hold onto a hard, slightly icy surface. roman went first and broke the trail for me. i was very thankful for that, this way, i didn’t have to focus on much else than following his steps and maybe looking up from time to time to avoid being hit by snow or rocks falling down. no need to scout the best line to climb, i knew i could trust him. this was a huge relief for me, because i can blend out my fear of heights better when i have something to stupidely focus on.
the steeper parts were actually easier to climb, because the footsteps are supported by more snow underneath and you can rest your legs a little. it gets tough to climb for about 45 minutes solely standing on your toes.
exhaustion kicked in when we were about half way up, but hearing that we had already made it to the upper half of the climb motivated me enough to keep pushing it.
we had to traverse to the right to get out of the couloir and i was nearly done with my nerves there. i was fueled by the thought that we’d be on top of the mountain in a few minutes and quickly made my way to the right.
when we reached the flatter part near the summit, i was overwhelmingly happy, surrounded by a feeling of safeness, thankfulness and pride. it was only a few steps more to the summit, so we left our equiment there for the last meters.
as we stood on the summit, i was so emotional i couldn’t prevent a few tears from running down.
we made an entry in the summit book (and found an old entry from the G and roman, “wos brauch i tirol” ;)) and then quickly went back to our little ski depot, where we took off the crampons, had a little bite to eat and something to drink and put our boards back into ride mode.
roman drew the first line and then i followed. the snow was perfect – not too hard anymore and not yet too soft and slow.
it was an awesome cruise down. i even tried a bit of McNab’s riding technique advice (great article, read it here), finishing one turn completely before starting the next one and it really made my turns more balanced and soft.
from the bottom of the couloir on, the snow was very warm already, making it a lot more exhausting to ride, but we had fun nonetheless. the last bit through the forest was a tad bit strenuous, but i still enjoyed it with every pore.
maybe this was our last splitboarding trip this year. maybe not. anyhow, it was a perfect day, crossing over the border of my comfort zone a bit and still feeling confident.
i’m very happy that i was able to achieve something i had never done before. it feels good to see signs of development and improvement.
thanks Roman for being my guide!