The Last Summit

Before the mountains of the Alps were dusted with white powder this year, Lutz Eichholz and I decided we wanted to do another big peak. In order for this to happen, it had to be soon. So we quickly made a plan, called up the most courageous and wild Austrians we know, Gerald Rosenkranz and David Weichenberger, and asked them to come along.

A couple of days later, we met at a lonely train station near Innsbruck just before it got dark. I soon realized I had forgotten to bring any riding pants. Luckily, rule number one of Lutz Eichholz is: “Always bring a swim suit.” (Number two is: “Never bring a mattress”). I have never been happier to wear baggy swim shorts. We spread out everything we brought on the street, discussed what we needed to bring and stuffed it all into our big hiking packs. Then we turned on our head lamps and started climbing up a narrow gorge in the dark. When we had found a good spot to set camp, we soon noticed our stove didn’t work, had semi-warm Gnocchi for dinner, quickly set up our tents and hammocks and fell asleep listening to tales of the brave adventures of Lutz.

The next morning, with tiny eyes and wild hair, we were taken aback by the beauty of the place.

The weather man said there would be a thunderstorm in the afternoon, so we hurried upwards.

When we saw some evil-looking clouds coming towards us, we decided it would be smarter to turn around than to try and reach the summit at any cost. The trails, however, proved to be excellent.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Gerald Rosenkranz Photo: Stephanie Dietze

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: Stephanie Dietze

The next day was sunny and promising. Lutz had brought a whole backpack full of CLIF bars and felt strong and healthy all day.

Acutally, we all felt rather strong and ready to climb a summit.

There it was.

We climbed higher and higher…

…until we finally reached the top. We felt happy and jolly and celebrated with some thickly cut bread.

Unfortunately, there was no pool to try out Lutz’s swim shorts.

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But we had quite a hike ahead of us and no time to waste anyhow.

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The route led us over the steepest and most exposed ridge I have ever been on.

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Our local mountain man David was much quicker than we were, so he took over the camera and ran ahead.

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See that steep field of scree in the back? Yup, that’s where we planned on descending.

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And we actually did.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: David Weichenberger

As it was getting dark, we hurried down the mountain, half riding, half surfing.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

And after twelve hours of adventure, we arrived back at David’s place in the dark. What a weekend. What a crew. Now come on, snow. Get it on.

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