Silvretta Cross

It’s almost like the weather god tried to make up for the last month’s bad conditions. And his/her timing couldn’t have been better. We – who is Stefan, his father-in-law Ralph and me – had planned a transition through Austria’s Silvretta region within 3 days which we therefore could put into action with non-stop sunshine, almost perfect snow conditions and a low avalanche risk level.

I was also lucky to get to test one of Powder Equipment’s new Splitboard, the Split165. Powder Equipment is a small brand straight out of Konstanz, that manufactures powder skis, touring skis and snowboards on their on press for more than 30 years now. Big thanks, Werner! The board performed flawless and turned out to be quite hungry for speed. The faster, the better. It felt safe in any condition and steepness. I just ordered one for next winter ;)

The route reads as such: Park the car in Klosters, take the train to Scuol, get to the top of the its ski resort (near Fuorcla Soèr), have some downhills and climbs to reach the Kronenjoch. From there, just down to the Jamtalhütte. The second day, up the Jamtalferner to the Dreiländerspitze and down the Vermunt glacier to the Wiesbadener Hütte. On third day, up the Ochsentaler glacier, past the Piz Buin, through the Fuorcla dal Cunfin, around La Cudera, through the Verstanclator and finally all the way down the Verstancla glacier and its valley back to Klosters.

The first night at the Jamtalhütte, I wasn’t able to get a bed upfront, so I packed my Tarptent Contrail, a sleeping bag (Mountain Equipment Helium 250) and a matress (Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite) to sleep this night out in the snow. That was actually a good opportunity to test all of them on their performance in the snow. The Contrail worked fine with the help of snow pegs and my crampons underneath the small poles on the foot end (to prevent them from sinking into the snow). On the front, the poles could rest on the edges of the tents ground sheet (there are some reinforced triangles that worked just fine). The matress exceeded my expections. Despite beeing positioned just on top of the snow with only the thin tent’s ground sheet (no extra one used) it kept me completely isolated and warm. The sleeping bag however turned out to be on the edge of its limit. With air temperature beeing -8 °C and the bags extreme temperature rating of -10 °C (I have an older one, the newer seem to have a -18 °C rating, maybe they put more downs into it now. On the other hand there are different ratings from German to English language on their website .. Maybe Germans tend to freeze earlier?) it kept me alive but not comfortable. And I was wearing long johns, socks, a t-shirt, a thin fleece jacket and had my primaloft jacket wrapped around my kidneys.

Anyway, I survived, we had a good breakfast and found ourselves on top of the Dreiländerspitze (3197 m) later that day. I highly recommend that peak as it is very exposed, fun to climb and one has a great view in all directions. The downhill to the Wiesbadener Hütte afterwards has been a blast! I would they it’s been the best of all three days.

The last day took us trough the nice looking Ochsental glacier and past the famous Piz Buin (3312 m). Actually we intended to climb that one as well but we simply had not that much time left. Several hours later we had reached the final pass and dropped into a very long downhill that unfortunately ended in a valley, flat as a pancake, bathed in merci- and cloudless sun. Two hours later, we got lucky as we caught a group of people that had ordered a bus to bring them back to Klosters and we could hop on it as well. The alternative would have been walking.

Wonderful weekend, lovely area, perfect weather. Enjoy the pictures.

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