Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Exercise stats, 2014

A follow-up to the exciting Exercise stats, 2013

According to heiaheia, in 2014 I...

* rowed 124 times, for a total of 1310 km (2013: 1162 / 113; 2012: 1297; 2011: 1280)
* ran 60 times, total 786 km (2013: 1095 / 85; 2012: 879; 2011: 1155)
* cycled 43 times, total 3258 km (I amalgamate each week's commuting into one entry. 2013: 3182 / 50)
* erged 28 times, total 168 km (2013: 113 / 13; 2012: 238; 2011: 381).

There are also entries for climbing and gardening and stuff.

A bit low on the running, but otherwise decent.

September 10th: Neue Regensburger to Franz Senn

Prev: September 9th: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger and Ruderhofspitze: fail. Next: Ruderhofspitze.

DSC_4695 Taking up where that left off: I returned to the hut as the light rain eased off, to meet M just coming out. So we went back in. My kit to the drying room, and we have a cafe+cake, plus some apricots and hazelnuts from the supply M brought with her. And write up.

As we sit inside the cloud comes and goes, with no clear trend. We were aiming to leave at 14:30 but don't till 15:00; book time is 4h so unless we grossly overrun we should make dinner. The hut-duck and chicken have been guardians of the toilets for quite a few years now.

Its a long - pleasant - traverse around from the hut before we start  heading up. this gets quite steep in the zig-zags, but its all good path. Top after 1:30, pause for chocolate and water briefly as its raining and we're in cloud.

To "the knobble" ~2500 m at 2:20, then a steepish descent. The path makers have done their best but there are several boulder fields this side of the pass and if you're not comfortable hopping from one slippery-when-wet boulder to another, don't come this way in rain.

The rain stops, mostly, and the cloud breaks, somewhat: at one point we have a distant view of the FS hut before the cloud returns, but it does look a long way away, and so it proves. Sometimes we can see downvalley to the Alm and the Parkplatz, but there are a couple of kms of traverse to do. The light is fading somewhat, and M says she is tiring a bit, but she is still keeping up the pace, so we arrive in 4:15, just-in-time for dinner.

So do that quick: kase brot for me and huttenrosti for M, which we share. Better quality cheese here. In various ways it seems the hut has been tarted up since last time - in 2012? One of the chaps serving recognises us, but says we "usually bring the family", which feels weird but nice.

After dinner: shower: ah! And free. Then get a glass of red wine instead of my usual coffee.

A thing from earlier: up on the Grawawandferner, I saw a hare.

This morning, my right ankle had hurt quite a bit, rubbed sore though not raw yesterday. I'd experimented with various things: double socks, plasters to cover it, raising up the insole to lift the sensitive area above the boot leather. But at the end of the day, ointment on it to ease chaffing, and care walking, and perhaps the rest, had helped it a lot. Also the "left ankle bone" pain I'd had before has gone.

On waterproofing: my theory, before coming here, was that if it rained all day I'd just stay inside for the day. That doesn't really work, especially if there are multiple wet days. What I'd replace it with, I think, would be a rucksac-raincover, and pre-pack stuff (wallet, etc.) that I carry inside in a dry bag; and stick with the rubbish-but-lightweight raincoat and accept getting a bit wet around the edges. But keeping the rucksac dry would be good, and well worth the weight of a rucksac cover.




Monday, 29 December 2014

September 9th: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger

Prev: September 8th: Sulzenau to Dresdener; prev-prev: Lubecker.
Next: September 10th: Neue Regensburger to Franz Senn.

Our room-mates rise at 6:30, but we wait till 7:15. B'fast is bought bit by bit: a slice of bread for 40 cents, for example. The sum total is about the same; I stick to tradition, M adds yoghurt. Its a fine morning, with promise of cloud later; we set off at 8:20.

(See last post for views of the hut; or this one looking down, with the hut in sun but the ski lift not in an effort to hide the latter; which was a nice concept shot but it didn't quite work).

Climbing up, just before the little lake, views back over the highlands where the lifts run to:


Then we've got over the steep bit and are at "bei der Lacke" which this morning is gloriously still under the sky:


There are pix of me too, but I look like an idiot in them all (here's proof, if you don't believe me). A little further up and we get to the col into a new side valley, which unfortunately is somewhat damaged for walking purposes by the ugly service road. Note for the future: as you come down the path, towards the road, look out for the "old path" which cuts off a small section, and is nicer, and pushes you in the right direction.


After that, its down parallel-ish to the road then a long "rising traverse" across the hillside under the Schafnock, seen here into the far distance: its a long day.


Identification: the snow-peak in the centre on the skyline is the Ruderhofspitze, of which more anon; below it is the Schafnock (S); further along is the Schafspitzle(s); the path dotted in green, as far as I can reconstruct it.

Views across to the WP, WF, Z and even Habicht in the distance. We meet hordes of people coming the other way, but no-one going our way. Here's looking back, from about the Schafspitzl or climbing up to it. The wiggly road rightish of centre is "service road valley"; the dark green mass in the centre is the Egesengrat, 2635 m.


Slowly climb up to 2780 at the Schlafspitzl, then up to where we can see up the Grawawandferner, though not much,as it is cloudy.


The final col really is at 2880 m; the Grawagraubenneider; finally we can see down into the Neue Regensburger valley.


Rest for a bit, and then head down: its 5:20(which I think I mean as hours taken, rather than time of day). This is the descent that I'd remembered as particularly icky from (looks at 2012 and 13, no) must have been 2010 when we were here with the children, and I had a day off up the W Seespitze and looked over the col at the end. However, its now fine, and only a tiny bit icky.


Go down some snow, then onto boulders, and finally onto path, which remains a good path all the way to the hut.


I get a bit irritated by M going slowly - I'd like to be in my end-of-day, stride-to-the-hut pace, and she'd rather favour her battered feet. Compromise: I hang back and play with streams and take pix, and catch her up just before the hut.

7:20 total, as against a book-time of 6 hours. We lost 20 mins with missing the way in "service valley", 20 in rests, a bit in slowness going up due to heavy packs, and ~30 mins coming down the valley. However, its worth lingering as the valley, with its river meandering gently through the march, is lovely in the afternoon light.


At the hut: small terrasse is crowded so sit inside in sun: tea, Radler and kuche. Get 2 places in zimmer 14. Rest.

Dinner: knodeln mostly, and kraut. Shower: 1 Euro for 2 minutes.

18:40: clouds close in, white outside, pouring rain and sleet.

20:00: still raining. A party comes in very wet indeed.

The accounting system used here (and in the Sulzenau) is a card on which drinks and food are pre-marked, and you tick off those you have. We paid 77 Euros for beds (2 in a shared room of 5), dinner, drinks and breakfast.

September 8th: Sulzenau to Dresdener

Next: Dresdener to Neue Regensburger.

In the morning I'd done the Lubeckerweg up the WF, while M rested.

Now we're going across to the Dresdener; book time 3h, our time 2:50. Its a bit of a trudge, up to the col and then down from the col. We've done it before, in the other direction, last year when we took the lift up to the Dresdener and discovered it closed.


I shouldn't make it sound too unappealing though. Here's the walk up the valley; and if you take the "wild wasserweg" following the stream that comes down from the Sulzenauferner you get fine views from about ~2600 m of the remains of the glacial snout. And we would have had fine views up into the mountains were it not for those pesky clouds.


Then there's the trudge up to the col, 2672 m, which is absurdly full of cairns, to the extent that M proposed that they were built to clear rubble.


On the slopes above us are particoloured goats, who always face the same direction:


Dramatic clouds on the far side cleared somewhat to reveal the view. This is the bowl leading up to the glacial summer skiing, and the guidebooks warn you how horrible all the development is. The big thing in the centre of this pic is the ski lift; somewhat beyond it and rather smaller is the hut. Actually, the "ruination" isn't too bad or particularly intrusive, contrary to how it appears in this picture.


The entrance to the hut is all the way round at the "back", and it takes us some time to work out the restaurant system, but we do and order, and worry about registering later. We end up in room 5, with two others. Showers are 1 Euro for 4 mins. The whole place is very clean and modern; the room even has a wash basin.


Friday, 19 December 2014

The Christmas things-we-did-this-year letter

Some nice people send me pix or letters of what they got up to during the year. And this is what I've made to send back. Its not very well organised. If you like, you can still read the one from 2013. Its possible, indeed likely, that I'll update it over the holidays, so do come back for another look.

Miriam and I: still working for CSR which, excitingly, is probably going to get bought by Qualcomm.
D: got good GCSEs; now in the lower 6th at the Perse doing Maths / Phys / Tech / Chem.
E: in year 8, flourishing academically, still doing clarinet and piano (she got her music colours).

I reached the venerable age of fifty. I ran the Brighton Marathon for the fourth time, in 3:43, which was effectively an equal PB; and the Amsterdam Marathon in 3:58, which was a bit rubbish. I've been climbing at Chatsworth with Howard and at Stanage with Daniel and got in a bit of mountaineering in the summer; see below. Daniel is better technically climbing than me now, but we don't talk about that. Rowing wasn't as good this year as last - but that was a hard year to match - and our up-1-down-2 in bumps wasn't really a fair return for a good crew.

Updating this after Christmas I can include the group photos. First at Mothers, where things are tradiational.


Then at M+J's, where a more modern look prevails. Note Miranda clutching her beloved Tabby in both.


Summer holidays: as a family, we went to the Pelonnonese, which was great. This is Mycenae:


Miriam and I went to the Stubai (not again) and that's at least partially written up. There are far too many gorgeous pictures of mountains to show you; here's M and me:


On a sadder note, my Uncle Henry died, and we scattered his ashes.

Lastly... do feel free to say hello in the comments; its nice to hear from people.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Book review: Lamentation

I enjoyed it. It is even, in places, exciting. But I doubt I'd re-read it.

By C. J. Sansom, in the "Shardlake" series.

Good points: interesting, long, decent story. Feels quite authentic - whatever that means; but at least there's not too much that jars. A few things do - at one point a character says "By the way," which doesn't feel right. The politics mostly feel right. The book of the title - Lamentations of a sinner - appears to actually exist.

There's a sub-plot about a bitter dispute between two siblings about ownership of a wall painting. This serves to pad out some sections of the book, but once its done, its a bit "huh" - what was it in there for? Perhaps just an interesting detail? But it felt somewhat more like filling. Maybe. Indeed the book lacks a bit of cohesion towards the end... it all rather peters out, before we finally discover whodunnit.

That reads somewhat negatively. But, as I said, I enjoyed it; its good.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Justice in M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis

For reasons I forget, I read some of M. Tullius Cicero, De Officiis. Its a classic, you know, in which Cicero expounds his conception of the best way to live, behave, and observe moral obligations.

Of the three remaining divisions, the most extensive in its application is the principle by which society and what we may call its “common bonds” are maintained. Of this again there are two divisions—justice, in which is the crowning glory of the virtues and on the basis of which men are called “good men”; and, close akin to justice, charity, which may also be called kindness or generosity. The first office of justice is to keep one man from doing harm to another, unless provoked by wrong; and the next is to lead men to use common possessions for the common interests, private property for their own... The foundation of justice, moreover, is good faith— that is, truth and fidelity to promises and agreements.
That interests me, because of the way it parallels and yet differs from Hobbes. Which is, in case you've forgotten, the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just. Hobbes would insist on the Sword, not Good Faith.

Cicero has a different emphasis to Hobbes: he is more concerned to give practical advice, often by example:

Injustice often arises also through chicanery, that is, through an over-subtle and even fraudulent construction of the law. This it is that gave rise to the now familiar saw, “More law, less justice.” Through such interpretation also a great deal of wrong is committed in transactions between state and state; thus, when a truce had been made with the enemy for thirty days, a famous general went to ravaging their fields by night, because, he said, the truce stipulated “days,” not nights. Not even our own countryman's action is to be commended, if what is told of Quintus Fabius Labeo is true—or whoever it was (for I have no authority but hearsay): appointed by the Senate to arbitrate a boundary dispute between Nola and Naples, he took up the case and interviewed both parties separately, asking them not to proceed in a covetous or grasping spirit, but to make some concession rather than claim some accession. When each party had agreed to this, there was a considerable strip of territory left between them. And so he set the boundary of each city as each had severally agreed; and the tract in between he awarded to the Roman People. Now that is swindling, not arbitration. And therefore such sharp practice is under all circumstances to be avoided.
Hobbes by contrast never uses examples, because he is interested in a general theory.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Scattering ashes

We interred Henry's ashes today. It was a rather strange ceremony, and I'll write it down. These days, as everyone says, you rarely see death or anything to do with it.

Henry had died in Milton-u-Wychwood, and hadn't left specific instructions for himself, but had previously expressed a wish to be scattered where his wife, Mickey, had been many years earlier. So, we arranged that. Or rather Rob did; with some help from Mother I think. Various things turned out to be a little bit harder than you might have thought, so it wasn't until today that we (me, Rob, Mother, Nicola) could all find a day to meet, with all the preliminaries sorted: you don't just turn up and scatter ashes (I'm speaking as though my specific case was a general one; of course I've no idea if that's true or not). Incidentally even finding Mickey's plot wasn't trivial. It turns out that her real names were Mildred May (former married name Walker, nee something double-barrelled I've forgotten). They need that to find her scattering place. Once they have that, they pre-dig a hole for you about a foot across and a bit more deep, for you to "scatter" the ashes into. They charge an insane amount of money for this: cost £75; Saturdays is £80 on top of that (staff out of hours), times available 11-3pm, according to Rob's email.

That was unexpected, and to me distinctly odd: I'd expected to throw handfuls of dust into the wind, or into the grass or the flowerbeds or something; but no. Into the hole it goes. I deliberately let a little of the dust float free: he did always have a twinkle in his eye, after all. The ashes come in a scattering-device, about a foot high, indeed it would just about have fitted into the hole they'd dug. And when you pull the release handle they start to fall out of the bottom.

I guess this is all the consequence of doing it in a cemetery, and a privately run one at that. If we'd wanted to scatter them in Ashridge woods, we could have just done so.

Beckenham Cemetery is quiet and peaceful. Today, in golden late-year light, it was lovely; we went for a walk around afterwards.

I took some pix. Some were to enable us to find the spot again, should we ever need to. If you pay (quite a lot; I think more than £1k) you can have a rose planted for you, and a permanent place thus secured. Some of those plaques you see are for that. I'm not sure about the others: were they the names of roses? I reaally can't remember.
   2014-11-29 14.13.06

Here's a more general view of the spot:

2014-11-29 14.20.06

All these pic are from my phone camera which is a bit rubbish; sorry. If you follow the links back to flickr, there are others in the set that show you where we were in relation to the overall layout.

But at my back I always hear
Time’s wing├Ęd chariot hurrying near

2014-11-29 14.55.02

And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.

2014-11-29 14.51.30

Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

2014-11-29 14.51.48

My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,

2014-11-29 14.57.37

And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;

2014-11-29 14.50.33

The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

13 Princelet Street

...or, a visit to London, to celebrate Manfred's 80th birthday. Just notes, so I can recall it later if I need. All of this was organised by Mfd+J.

Of the house: its a Landmark near Spitalfields market, which means it is full of history, and such. Had the weather been better we'd likely have wandered around the district more, but as it was it rained or loured most of the time so we ventured out only to eat - or in my case, to run. I think this was fine; had the weather been better we'd likely have felt too much obligation, been forced to wander; this was more relaxing. M+I, D+E, Si+B were in this house. Mfd+J and Ernie were in the nearby 5 Fournier Street, but I didn't see that.

This picture really doesn't tell you what the area was like. But I like it anyway, so there.

2014-11-22 16.05.14

Of the time: we went up on Friday night. We caught the Liverpool Street train from Whittlesford, then walked the 10 mins to the house. Saturday morning I went for a run - down Brick Lane, out on Commercial Road, down the riverside to Canary Wharf, then back up and around the Tower of London; see my GPS track. Saturday lunchtime we went out to restaurant Galvin la Chapelle which had the mild disadvantage of being posh enough to require me to dress. But every now and again I should do that anyway; and the food and service more than made up for the long trousers. J+K joined us for lunch and somewhat after; they left sometime during the afternoon when I'd fallen asleep. Saturday evening was bread+cheese. Sunday morning I was going to go for another run but didn't: the rain was harder, and my calves were feeling somewhat battered from yesterday, for unclear reasons. Sunday lunchtime was the Galvin again, but the less posh Bistro side. And so home, on the 4:23 train.

Sunday saw a game of Cluedo featuring E, D, Mfd, J, Ernie, Si. Miranda won, which (she would like you to know) is important. Saturday evening till late was Take 2 (which Becky claims as a family game; we start with only 5, following her rules).

Of London: I have come to feel that I ought to see it more; so this was a good chance to do so. I didn't see much; more leisure is required.

2014-11-23 15.19.54

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Book review: Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Sword (or you can try wiki's article, but its not much more helpful) is part two of the series begun in Ancillary Justice, which I very much liked. I liked this one too; though the effect wears off a bit, because there aren't many new ideas. This isn't really much of a review, because if you think you might like the book, you should read AJ first, and if you like that you'll definitely want to read this.

Many of the same elements are present, including the main character, whose lack of interest in telling male from female continues to be well drawn. In this volume, that extends to the (lightly touched upon) sex between various characters; you don't really know any of their sexes, or whether that matters.

Some way through I began to find the character's - well, the entire portrayed society's - obsession with tea a bit odd. It kinda brings out the all-stories-are-isomorphic thought, and connects the narrative back to Jane Austen or such.

The ship's crew - in the case of Breq's: the humans whose sense of fitness requires them to act as though they were ancillaries (i.e., as emotionaless unreacting pithed huamns controlled by the ship's AI) are also well drawn, and nicely fit into the story. There are quite a few bits like that, some that I noticed even if I can't now remember them, and some that I may have missed; but they all combine to make a fuller book.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Book review: Bones of the Earth

Bones of the Earth is a knock-off of Asimov's the End of Eternity. The original is better: read that, not this.

Quite how the author of Vacuum Flowers and Stations of the Tide came to write this gumpf I do't know. There are no ideas here: the paradoxes of time travel are dealt with heavily and uninspiringly; and he manages to stuff up Zeno too. Really, I should have given up at that point.

If you really really like lots of dinosaur information... then read wikipedia, not this.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Diary of an injury

On Thursday 6th November we (Chesterton RC) did our second "Core" session. On the very first exercise, after the self warm-up, I managed to injure myself. I think I'll track it so I can recall it if needed.

The exercise was standing-jumps: from stationary, you jump forward as far as you can. This wasn't measured, but I was quite keen to go as far as possible, as Paul had beaten me in the measured jumps in the first session a week earlier. So I threw myself into leaping forward and flinging my arms up. As I jumped, I felt a pain in my stomach and this persisted: I couldn't jump any more. The pain is quite localised, and appears to be in the muscles slightly to the right of my belly-button: on the edge where the belly shades into the side. They diagnosed it as a ripped abs, and that may be right, it seems to be in about the right place.

Symptoms: some exercise (pull-ups for example) are impossible. Some (inverted rows) are entirely possible. But getting down on the floor has to be done carefully to avoid using that muscle. Squats are fine. Sleeping was OK, but moving from one side to another required care.

On Friday I drove into work, and moved carefully, and all was well. Saturday I think I've got somewhat better, but its still definitely there.

A week later

Thursday 13th: things are getting better, but aren't back to perfect. I did today's Core session, skipping the jumps and the pull-ups and the dead-ants. I've had a few tiny goes on the erg - leaning back feels like its going to tear things, though that is decreasing. Legs-only works OK.

Sleeping is now fine. I don't have to move with caution. It still feels like uncontrolled sneezing would be a bad idea.

Saturday 15th: and today we had an outing in the IV. It was a decent outing, and I was OK. We didn't do firm pressure, at my request, but we did come close.

Sunday 16th: ran 16k; fine.

Part II

On Thursday the 27th I damaged my back at Core: I'm not sure exactly how. I think I straightened/ hollowed my back too much, during at 45 kg deadlift. And, foolishly, finished the set. It gave me pain for a week, diminishing; indeed its not fully right now on Saturday the 6th of December. But I did a 2k erg on Thursday, and rowed and coxed today, so I'll declare myself healed, again.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Amsterdam Man IV

TL;DR: 3:58; a bit rubbish.

Friday 17th: with E, drive to Harwich and onto ferry. To the cafe and have a drink each and read for a while before we head for bed.

Saturday 18th: off ferry and misc trains to Amsterdam. Points to watch: make sure you get off at Schiedam for Schipol for Amsterdam Zuid, otherwise you have to get trams through town from Centraal. Not that's particularly terrible anyway. Lunch at Bakers + Roasters as last year; and again it was pretty good. Meet B-J and J and their infants; B-J is also running tomorrow. After, Si and I to the expo to pick up my number, whilst Becky takes E shopping, as befits a girly. Then back to theirs for some much needed relaxation. Remember, this year, to make sure my watch is charged up.

Oh, slight oddity: this year, Paul and Sarah C-H, and Juliet, and Bailee, are also doing Amsterdam. But because they flew over as a group we haven't managed to meet it. Perhaps we'll meet on the start line?

Sunday 19th: up at 7:30; chat in kitchen with B who is kindly making me porridge again. E is still asleep - or at least, not up - in the dining room. Si takes me to the start and I hand him my coat and go in. It becomes obvious that not having arranged to meet the others means its going to be luck, cos its crowded. I knew it would be. Spend most of my pre-race time in the loo queue, of course, but do manage to find the others as I'm heading towards the start pen. So cross the start with Paul and Bailee; and for the first few km we pass and re-pass. Because I'm slow, Bailee ends up passing me at 28 km and Paul at 35.

Of the race: not satisfactory. Not just my time, but I wasn't somehow together for it. The start was too crowded, and the pace wasn't comfortable, and I couldn't settle. Later on the pace was OK but I just wasn't strong enough. And I can't even show you the GPS trace because my silly watch lost it :-(. Well, you can see the official results every 5 km, which is good enough really. Which shows no catastrophic fall-off: just not fast enough.

How do I interpret this? As a useful wake-up call I think. Throughout the summer - indeed, the year - I made too many excuses about being too busy at work to run.

Note: at about 10 km the race passes the end of Parnassusweg, about 100 m from their place. Next time ensure that E is watching.

Walk very slowly back to Parnassusweg, and collapse for a bit. Well, for quite a lot in fact. Evening: to Zuid for train, comedy of the platform being long and the trains short - watch out for that - but we get to the ferry on time. And so home, comfortably.

* Amsterdam Man (2011)
* Amsterdam Man (2012)
* Amsterdam Man (2013)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Stubai: Sunday 7th: Sulzenau: rest day

Previous: Stubai: Saturday 6th: Aperer Feuerstein in fog from Nurnberger; Nurnberger to Sulzenau
Next: Wilder Freiger by the Lubeckerweg

A quiet day. We ignore my alarm, which goes off at 7, and lie in until 7:45. Std.fruhstuck and watch the others heading off in their various busy directions. The weather isn't quite warm enough yet to sit on the terasse so we wander off towards the Grunausee, without really intending to get there. We sit at the viewpoint and play games with our shadows:

and admire the view upvalley:

(the path to the Dresdener is over a little col, the one just R of the center on the skyline) and the ziggy path up:


We lie in the sun in the heather and read. We go on to where the path crosses the river and rest / read there; I'm reading "Dracula" on the Kindle. Lunch back at the hut: the terasse is crowded so we eat in: kasebrot, and (cheese, spinach) noodles with kraut. After its quieter and we sit on the terasse: decide that tomorrow we'll off to the Dresdener in the afternoon, and in the morning I'll look at the Lubecker Weg. The Guardienne agrees that the 3h to the Mullerhutte that the sign gives only makes sense if you're going via the now-deprecated and de-cabled col. She also asserts that the Lubecker Weg is "real climbing" and I quietly ignore that.

Later to the Blaue Lacke which is still and quiet. We walk slowly as befits old folk; sit and watch the lake which, whilst very blue, isn't very photogenic. Back through the weird field of weird cairns, to dinner.


Mr Leaf and Bark Man

Mr Leaf and Bark Man has been gracing our kitchen for many years, since Daniel brought him back from school. I can't even remember which year... lets say, when he was about 10. I like his jaunty stepping out style. He's survived fairly well, though a few bits have fallen off. But now its time for renewal so here is his memorial.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Stubai: Saturday 6th: Aperer Feuerstein in fog from Nurnberger; Nurnberger to Sulzenau

Prev: Friday 5nd September: Mullerhutte to Nurnberger
Next: Sunday 7th: Sulzenau: rest day.

After the Zuckerhutl I went back from the Muller to the Nurnberger, and decided to try the Aperer Feuerstein, which is explained in full detail on the Nurnberger's website. As it says, its an interesting alternative to the path from the Bremer to the Nurnberger which I'd wimped out of a few days ago because it was cloudy and snowy and not a good day for venturing off the beaten track. But I was quite keen to look at the Feuerstein, and decided to be good by going for the Aperer first. Which made it a short day, so there was no need to get up early - ahem, but see later; I left around 8:30 with some hopes of visibility.

Before I show you the pix in order, here's an out-of-order pic of the Feuerstein group taken from the Niederl (the pass from the Nurnberger to the Sulzenau) at about 6 pm:


The skyline peaks are the Feuersteins: Westlich (3245 m, R) and Ostlich (3268 m, center). Its just about possible to see the summit cairn on the Aperer F in the full-size pix - its the greyish curvy ridge off towards the L just on the skyline; to its right is the distinctly redder pt 3038 not on the skyline, with the wide glacier to its R. The bottom of that pic - the snow patch in shadow at the R - is the top of the bowl visible in the top R of the pic below, which is taken from below as I walked up. Here's the GPS track for the circuit. I start off going down to the river as though to the Bremer, but then turn R up valley not L. I also have a slightly more informative picture from the afternoon return, when the cloud had cleared somewhat.


I'd expected the path up to the Feuerstein to be hard to find, but no. It is but a thread, but its clearly there; later I realise this is because of people going up to the Feuerstein itself. There's a rather nice path up the rather nice moraine - I like moraines. At the top of the moraine the path goes into the bowl inside the peaks on the R, then curls East and follows another moraine crest up, with the Grublferner to your R. At that point I'm in the cloud, and things become unclear.

At around 2770 m I lost the track and veered too much R wards. When I realised I'd lost it I waited for a break in the cloud - no dice - then just faintly heard a noise which turned out to be the tapping of a ski-stick on rock - it carries well, and is distinctive even at the limit of hearing. Moving in that direction I just saw a bod descending as he moved out of range, and so re-found the path.

Somewhat later at 2900 m I'd gone too far East and would have ended up at pt 3038 m, except I met two bods who pointed out the error of my ways. In clear conditions I wouldn't have gone wrong, and if I had could just have cut across to the correct path; but in the cloud I descended (following them; I could have just retraced myself on the snow) and then found the correct path up. This wasn't helped by my now-20-year-old map having a very different shape to its glaciers; I really ought to get a new one. I leave my sack at the NurnbergerScharte - there's a cairn -, 2914 m, from where its a 15 minute scramble to the summit, 2968 m:

Views are still, well, here's the view up from the pass towards pt 3038:


But the views down exist. Here's looking towards the Simmingjochl, with the Zollhutte just distinguishable. What a difference a few days make: all the snow is gone. The lakes in the pic are shown as glacier on my map; but the glacier has retreated over the years.

At this point it would be nice to rest and admire the views; but I got off late and I have miles to go before I sleep. But really this is a whole-day circuit, contrary to my blase assumptions of earlier. So, onwards. Pick a random path down the snow and to the pass. Descend. The Paradies is lovely but I've shown you that before; here's a nice still reflecty one in a little pool somewhat higher up:

And so back to the Nurnberger. I set my GPS to recharge - it has about 7 hours in it - and sit out enjoying the sunshine, the Radler, and the Apfelstrudel. Then I have to pack my rucksac, and I reflect that bringing the Macpac as well as the Spire was a mistake: the correct solution would be to be a little more brutal in my packing - fewer clothes for cure, this becomes obvious as I accumulate a bag of stuff I'm using and another, lower, of stuff I just don't use - and then I can save myself another 2 kg by leaving the big sac behind. Farewell to the kindly Guardiennes.

I've agreed to meet M at the Sulzenau. At one point I'd offered to meet her at the Alm at 5; but that's not going to happen: set off at quarter to five, having offered her 19:30 at the Sulzenau by text. From here its a shortish - 50 min - slog up (GPS track) to the Niederl. Pause to admire the bench and the views back towards the Feuersteins - at last, see top. And indeed, over the far side. I get the quasi-classic view of the Wilder Freiger reflected in the lake above the Grunausee:


And thence to the hut: 2:20 total for the crossing. Hello M.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Stubai: Friday 5nd September: Mullerhutte to Nurnberger

Yesterday: Wilder Pfaff and Zuckerhutl
Tomorrow: Saturday 6th: Aperer Feuerstein in fog from Nurnberger; Nurnberger to Sulzenau

Today dawns fair, which seems a shame as it would have been more useful yesterday.

Looking closer, I can see the Z behind the WP, but it doesn't look like itself, so to speak. After a leisurely breakfast Anna and Tobias and I head up the WF side of the glacier, at their request; they aren't quite as blase as I am about crevasses, and who knows they may be correct (My pic shows us all roped up in the mist, I'd forgotten that). However, by the time we actually get up onto the snow - you can traverse straight from the back of the hut, don't descend first via the way I came up. The GPS trace would show this except I forgot to turn it on to start with - the cloud has come up again and we can't see a thing, so crevasse avoidance is a bit random. Here's a last view of the hutte before the cloud closes in:


Up to the wetterstation, and then down the what-I-think-is-familiar path, but as usual whenever I think that there's a twist, and in this case the twist is that in the poor viz I've missed that whilst you can usually plunge down the nice snow instead of the nasty rocks, when you get to the last band before the "snow bowl" you need to make sure you don't descend too far. We do descend too far. Were I alone this would be no problem - I could just forsake the path, descend to the unnamed lovely lakes at ~2488 below the Urfallspitze, and follow the river down; a pleasant route. But A+T are going to the Sulzenauhutte and so need to get to the Seescharte, and I can't abandon them having lead them astray, so we slog back up, only about 50-100 m, well all right nearly 100 m says the GPS, cross the rock band and get back on track. And finally to the scharte where we parte:


A little lower down I get a view across to the (as far as I know un-named) lakes, the un-named ridge behind it rising up to the Hohe Wand I think:

On the way down I hear and see marmots, which is not unusual, but I also get close enough for a not-just-a-pixel photograph, which is unusual, so here it is:


And then ein Grosses Radler at the hutte, and sit out reading The King in Yellow, which is weird (the initial story is definitely weird, but good. A later one does indeed turn out to be about the siege of Paris, as I guessed. And then the book segues into romance, which is odd. There is linking, in terms of style, and of characters, but the overall transition from horror to romance is unexpected). Ah, but I can now look it up, which I couldn't then. The Guardiennes remember me and smile, which is nice. As are the hot showers.


Some Frenchmen beg my pardon and ask about the WF. They seem astonished when I suggest it may take them 6 hours. Was it OK? Yes, if you don't mind a bit of snow on the path and steep snow slopes higher up; if you take care not to get lost in the cloud, which is easy; if you're fit; and so on. Its almost impossible to give useful advice.

 Oh yes, and in the evening number one: food: six Nurnberger sausages on sauerkraut, with wine!

and number two: music:

That didn't happen every evening.