...having hiked to the hut in the early morning after a 9hour drive and only a few hours sleep we collapsed in a sweaty heap. Eventually we regained some composure and once again found the power of the spoken word and introduced ourselves to the hut organisers :-)
The hut is perched half way up the öugstchummuhorn on the col to Roti Chüle at 2500m, and is exactly what you'd expect from a mountain hut, warm and cosey on the inside commanding brilliant views of the surrounding landscape.
We unpacked, snacked and kitted up for a days climbing splitting into 2 teams we set off for another 40minute hike to the base of Kleines Augskummenhorn which took us across snow fields and up some steep scree slopes.
Paul and Celine took on Enzian (route B), Lin and I opted for Salamander (routeA) - or so we thought :-)
I've never climbed anything with quite so many pitches and it wasn't long b4 we were high on the crag, watching nervously the surrounding storm clouds for a sign they were headed our way.
The routes were all very well bolted, and although I took my rack I had little excuse to put it to use.
We made nearly to the top, and took this pic of Paul and Celine, you can just about see Paul (a black dot slap bang in the middle of the pic) which gives you an idea of scale.
From the top the view on the 'other side' is trouser filling, completely vertical cliffs for 100's of meters and in the valley the thunder clouds ominously hanging in the air what seemed like only meters away.
We quickly oganised ourselves and started the abseils down - at least 6 in total, but we lost count. :-)
On the way down the rain began to spatter and the sounds of thunder got louder, we passed Paul and Celine who soon after managed to top out just in the nick of time as it became clear the weather was taking a turn for the worst.
Lin and I made it down, and took shelter in a small cave and waited for P&C who got caught a little in the rain but still managed to keep it together and complete the abseils in one piece - no small feat considering the conditions.
Once reunited and the weather having brightened up, we shot off as fast as we could sliding down the snow fields and plodded back to the hut at 7pm, just in time to get fed along with 20 or so other residents.
The food was good, the wine a little too plentiful ;-)
I headed off to bed early, woozy from wine and altitude and fell into a deep deep sleep, but I DIDN'T snore ! REALLY I DIDN'T !
The next day soon after 6am everyone was up, I found myself nursing the mother of all head aches (due to the altitude/dehydration and NOTHING AT ALL to do with the copious amounts of wine I drank) combined with a rather nasty injury I sustained to my hand whilst navigating the scree slopes meant it took me a while to get going.
With the weather lookng fantastic, the girls headed off for some single pitch problems close by, whilst I basked in the early morning sun and got my head into gear.. Paul kept me company :-)
Eventually we joined the girls crossing some impressive slopes which would have been impossibly dangerous without the fixed ropes and managed to get a few routes done before lunch, at this point we headed back to the hut, snacked and headed down back to the car.
The journey home seemed to take no time at all, and before I even knew it I was back at home wondering if we'd really done it all in just a single weekend.
It was a great weekend, valuable and worthwhile of course, though I doubt we appreciate right now just how damn majestic it really was :-)
It was a brilliant introduction to Alpine routes with all the extra variables that need to be considered and it's just left me wanting much much more.