Last weekend I had a good weekend in the Tuxer Alps, snow shoeing. Saturday was a brilliantly sunny day but with a very stron Föhn wind blowing up from the south. It led to some very impressive cloud formations which were blown along at a tremendous speed. I took these shots whilst climbing the Vennspitze (2390m) which is above Paduan.
During Saturday night it started to snow which lasted well into Sunday. Changes in weather just completely change the atmosphere of a place. The last shot, taken on Sunday is looking down onto a small hamlet near Lippenhof. By the way this area is near the Brenner Pass which leads over into Italy.
Last week I was staying up at the Lizumer Hut in the Tuxer Alps for three days. We´ve had a very poor winter for snow so far, and, although this looks pretty white, the snow depth was very shallow. The strong winds of late had blown a fair amount of snow into the lee side gullies, which actually caused some localised avalanche danger (in fact I triggered a small one).
There was enough snow to make snow shoes more than worth while but ski-mountaineering would only have resulted in wrecked skis! I took this up on the summit of Torspitze (2663m) on Wednesday morning. It was a chilly day, -12c. at the hut, but when we climbed up into the sun, despite the light wind, I was thankful of my sun blocker! The view from the summit was wonderful. The sky was very active, with both high cloud and lower cloud rushing in, covering and then revealing the mountains near us. So, despite the lousy snow conditions, it was a great three days and a good shake down cruise for 2016.
The tour draws to a close, I took this shot quite low down in the valley about 45minutes from the car park at Lager Walchen. It had been a fantastic day and a satisfying end to my first snow-shoe tour of 2014. Satisfying for a couple of reasons; the first being that the weather had turned out so fine. The second being that this was only the second time that I have used snow-shoes, previously I was ski-mountaineering, and was relieved to find that I didn´t really miss the skies that much! I´ve stopped the ski-mountaineering because of old injuries that just wont lie down, and my thinking is that snow-shoes would be gentler with the bits of my undercarriage that are showing signs of wear – and I was right!!
This shot is a bit cheesy, I have to admit! But shooting in RAW always offers surprises – the exposure latitude allowed me to open up the shadows and also to get something from the sky too.
I think only wild places can show such weather contrasts! The last two days had seen storms, high winds and snow, the third clear skies and sun! We had a wonderful day snow-shoeing through the mountains. Although this shot might give the impression that there is loads of snow, the conditions are still poor, and after the strong winds and snow, the avalanche risk was quite high, so we picked our route with care.
The first week-end away of the new year! I was in the Lizumer Alps in Tirol, Austria for three days for a bit of snow-shoeing. We drove in on Saturday to be met by strong föhn winds. That evening it started to snow – and continued the next day. But we had to get out of the hut and managed a good day out despite the snow storm. I took this shot down near the hut. It snowed until well into the night. The next morning dawned crystal clear, but more of that in my next post!