The exceptionally warm weather we have been having this week raised my hopes that the Seckauer Tauern would be snow free, allowing for some late season fun on a 10 pointer. I had had my eye on the Hochreichhart for a long time, having observed the excellent path - straight up the nose of the mountain from the valley floor - whilst activating Pletzen. There is about 1250m of ascent involved, but only 4km distance to the top:
There was a hard frost in the valley, but once on the ridge I was boiled and soon had to zip off my trousers and take off my fleece:
The quality of the light first thing in the morning was amazing. It was interesting to see Pletzen and the Sonntagskogel from this angle:
To activate them both in a day involves over 19km and 1500m of ascent. I use it for training and it is usually the last activation I do before going on a multiday tour in summer. Finally, after what seems like forever, one attains the summit ridge:
I had brought my ice axe and crampons along in the car, just in case. Thank God I left them in the car, as the going was very easy and virtually snow free. The summit is very rocky, and there would be no way to use guy lines here. Thankfully, there are a large variety of posts that one can use for fixing and antenna:
The wind was pretty cold at the top, and I was glad of my down jacket. Band conditions were good. 15m sounded wide open so I started calling there: no answer. I moved down to 20m and was soon rattling away happily at the Morse key.
ZL1TM was about, and I was not the only activator to work him today. At 579, I thought his sigs were about as strong as I’ve heard ZL in over 3 years. Yes, things are definitely looking up. Before I descended, I got some nice panoramas from the summit:
No photo can really do justice to the huge distances that it was possible to see today. I decided to descend via the valley as there are good water sources there and I had drunk rather a lot on the way up. The way down to the col, known locally as the Brandstätter Tor, is far steeper than the ridge:
There was also more snow on this side of the mountain, but nowhere was the going seriously icy. Down in the valley, sheltered from the wind, it was very warm indeed. I was soon back in short trousers and enjoying a sandwich on a rock by the stream:
It really was about as pleasant a late autumn day as one could wish for. Hochreichhart is the highest mountain I have climbed this year. When I got back to the car, it was still freezing in the bottom of the valley, and some of the morning’s frost lingered on in patches. There were even a few wisps of fog hanging in the fields as I drove home. The forecast shows winds staying light all week, so who knows, there may even be more of the same next weekend.
73 de OE6FEG