Sunday, January 11, 2015

Austria in the Winter-Rain

Rain is what we got this week instead of ice and snow. 
Mid-winter and warm fohn-weather is what welcomed us.

Ah, well, we can’t change the weather so we just went drytooling. Diebsöfen was the place to be. Until today. It rained so much that the little sweet river underneath the cliff changed into a fierce and loud river. The rock itself became a lovely waterfall...but not a frozen one...
So rest-day it is.

Excited I was last Wednesday when we finally got to our mid-stop in Germany. Ettringen.
I was showed a small drytooling area at the Basalt climbing area close to Kloblenz. But when arriving at the site it seemed people decided it could be freeclimbed. Chalk marks everywhere. So very, very, not-done to try anything with iceaxes anylonger. Time to head on. 

We are on our way to Bad Gastein but the ice isn’t there yet. We decided to make a short stop at Diebsöfen (St. Johann in Tirol)
The hike up took us quite a bit longer then expected. The snow was uneven and sometimes more then waist-deep. We regretted not taking our ski’s. 

At the cave we found a roof full of little icicles dripping, it looked beautiful. The M12 and M13 is what we came for. We hung around a bit but didn’t really find the right motivation. 
Too slow, too cold, too lazy. But hey, we climbed! 

The second day went a lot better. We decided to warm up in the M12 called ‘Fear and Loathing’. Not a very good idea. The route turned out the exist out of crumbly unclear holds. It took forever to find the right way up.
Dennis’ second ascent of the day went much better then the first. He climbed it!
My turn. A lot slower, but climbed it too!
Most icicles were already gone due to the super warm weather and snow and ice kept on falling off the cliff. 

On our way back we met an older lady. We got into a small talk and decided to walk on together.
Maybe we walked a little too fast or maybe she was just really excited about the topic.
She was walking back from the farm up the hill with a small closed bucket of milk.
Fresh milk she told us. She was proud to tell us she walked here every second or third day to get the fresh milk. It tasted so much better then the milk from the supermarket.
I agreed. My uncle and grandmother had a farm just minutes away from my home. We were there almost every day and also were sent by my mum to get milk every second day.
That milk was so much better then any milk I could get.
When I started studying I was too far away to get any milk from the farm and not much later my uncle had to give up the farm.
Too small to grow with the big farms, not the right location. Now there will be a whole new area of houses on the area that used to be my childhood playground.
The lady went on that the scale of the modern farms is not something that pleases her.
I told her about the first-born-milk called Biest in Dutch (in Austrian German it’s also called biest it turned out). She didn’t drink that, it was the milk for the calf, not for her.
She jokingly went on about how there used to be a bull at every farm to get the cows with a calf, but now there’s just a human. She laughed and grabbed my arm, and softly said ‘poor cows, they don’t know what they’re missing’. More seriously she also said she sees that cows are more like a product, not like an animal anymore. They’re being used and disposed like a senseless product. She finds it a sad development.
I agree.

The heating in the campervan is working great making evenings comfortable and cosy.
We weren’t too worried about the rain until we looked out of our window the next morning. Trucks and diggers were fixing the road just next to where we were parked.
Quite a flood had changed the road into an ugly mud-stream effecting houses on the way.
The water up at the cliff wasn’t less. Time for a restday.
What we thought would be just one restday became two restdays. We never expected today to be as rainy as yesterday!
Two days of rain turned all into a muddy, soggy environment. All the existing ice in the region had disappeared (even higher up in the mountains it had rained). 
Skiing also seemed impossible. What used to be a little snow-layer two days ago had turned into an ugly brown mud-slide. 
In town ski-teachers walked around, looking rather helpless...

Though, the weather seems better for tomorrow. More snow, colder temperatures, better conditions. Maybe we can give Diebsöfen a second change or when there’s not too much avalanche danger we’ll get higher up :)

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