This trip was organized very quickly! A friend of mine called me asking if we want to join him to the Austrian Alps. Our basic questions: Where exactly? What time? What equipment? … And it was coming!
Description of the hiking trail and photo area
We arrived by car to the Mandarfen mountain resort (1,682 m.a.s.l.), located at the rear of the Pitztal valley. This place served us as a starting point. The whole planned circuit of the hiking trail was about 15 km. We had an elevation of 1,700 m. up and down, sleeping in an emergency “5 * hotel”, beautiful and technically challenging ridge and amazing view of the mountains with surrounding glaciers and of course endless possibilities to mountain landscape photography.
Hiking trail to the ridge
The journey to our “accommodation” and the most important checkpoint has begun. From the car park in Mandarfen we set off through the local meadows to the east towards the summit of Wassertalkogel (3,247 m.n.m.). Right at the beginning of the way to the summit of Wassertalkogel, there was an elevation of about 1,600 m. Although the climb itself was physically challenging, this suffering was compensated by perfect view of the mountain landscape. The camera was ready, the light was not ideal, but even so I enjoyed traveling and taking pictures of the mountain landscape. And I was not definitely the only one!
After a short break we continued on, towards the ridge where the hiking trail Wanderweg 911 – Geigenkamm wes stretched. Here we got a little wet and we were looking forward to our accommodation in Rheinland-Pfalz Biwak.
I looked into the distance and saw something … “Sputnik”? No, it was our “hotel”, a beautiful emergency bivouac.
We took off our backpacks and finally took a rest. Most of us were surprised by altitude sickness. No wonder after the sprint uphill. With a decent headache, I pulled the camera out of my backpack and did not know what to shoot first! Shooting without a tripod in low light conditions is a bit “painful”. Photographing the landscape was difficult, but on the other hand, improvised and even more interesting. I tested the limitations of image stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, as well as my manual camera control skills. See the results for yourself!
Mittelbergferner, Hangenderferner, Karlesferner glaciers
The next day we continued our trip towards the glaciers. This mountain area is one of the most interesting in whole Austria. You will also find there the largest expanse of glaciers in the Austrian Alps. The journey along the ridge was quite technical challenge.
Adrenaline level was rising! The technically challenging part is over, in the distance we can see the Braunschweiger Hütte mountain hut.
It is noon, the sun warms the ground. Next to the mountain hut we saw a small artificial lake, which we could not miss! The feeling of plunging in super cool water with great views of mountain peaks and massive glaciers is unforgettable!
The last passage of our journey led from the Braunschweiger Hütte mountain hut through the Pitztal valley, towards the Mandarfen mountain resort. Through the valley stretches the mountain river Pitze,, which springs directly below the massive glacier Mittelbergferner.
In the valley you will find several informative dashboards that describe the local mountain landscape at different periods. Emphasis is placed primarily on glaciers area changing, which are gradually decreasing over time.
Rescue of glaciers in Pitztal-Ötztal region
The Austrian Mountain Association – Österreichischer Alpenverein responds to the current situation in this area and seeks to at least partially prevent the loss of glaciers in the Pitztal-Ötztal region. Together with other landscape and nature conservation agencies, the Österreichischer Alpenverein seeks to limit the expansion of ski areas and other significant interventions in nature. I am glad that the photographs of the local landscape taken by me have been used in the official documents for the above mentioned saving of this beautiful landscape.
It is very likely that when you visit this region, you or your children will never experience such unique views of the local mountain peaks!
May be useful
The most convenient transport is by car. You can park your car in the Mandarfen mountain resort.
Alternatively, you can stay in mountain huts or in an emergency bivouac. However, there is a possibility of full bivouac capacity. First come, first sleep!
There is a lot of water in the valley, but be aware that streams do not flow on the mountain ridges. As an alternative, you can melt the snow, which you can find in some parts of the hiking trail even in summer.
The best season for hiking
In case you are going to the mountains without winter equipment, the recommended period for visiting the region is July or August. Otherwise, depending on your preferences and skills.