Young Members’ Tour organised by the Austrian Alpine Club UK branch
What’s this about?
I graduated from university in 2015. By mid-2016 I had quit my first job with the aim of cycling to Switzerland and back (as well as escaping a career I really wasn’t enjoying). When I tell the story, I tend to make it sound like I ran out the office, threw away the heels, stuffed a load of kit into panniers and cycled straight off into the sunset. This is, however Romantic, rather misleading. I actually had a bit of summer before we started pedalling. By which I mean a poorly mis-timed series of trips back to back, meaning I had about two days at home before disappearing for three months.
I had applied to be part of the AAC(UK)’s Young Members’ Tour before I even knew I would be quitting my job. I’d never been to the Alps at all before and was really keen to learn about safe glacier travel, trip planning and how the hut system worked. By this stage, I’d been to the Dolomites and Maritime Alps in summer but nothing high and snowy. The aim of the trip was to be taught by local guides, as well as meet some other people our age in the club.
We spent a week or so in the Stubai Alps on the Austrian – Italian border. I have lots of notes from the trip somewhere, but it never actually made it onto the blog. Mostly because of the mad rush of packing for the bike trip and then immediately disappearing without internet connection for three months. But roughly:
- We started from Innsbruck and took a coach to the mountains.
- We started from a big hut then walked over a pass full of stone towers to the next hut.
- We stayed in a hut with a via ferrata out the back for a couple of nights.
- The first day we did some introduction to glacier travel, being roped together, placing ice screws etc… which quickly descended into ice climbing off the side of a glacier. My crampons were too loose and I ended up getting hauled up.
- The weather was worse than expected so we did the basics of trip planning and crevasse rescue inside the hut
- Next day we crossed a glacier or two, did via ferrata in the snow and popped over into Italy for another (Muller?) Hut.
- From here we climbed the nearby peak the next day and didn’t do crevasse rescue practice because our guides wanted to drip schnapps.
- On our last day we had a pretty full day over to some other peaks and then down out of the mountains.