7. September 2015
climbing: 600 meters
descending: 1800 meters
Preparing for the summit
Our last day of the alpine crossing should be the highlight. We wanted to summit the Similaun at an elevation of 3606 meters. The climb started right next to the Similaun hut and we already had a distant look to the summit on the day before.
Our guide Edi kept a close eye on the weather and to be honestit didn’t look very good when we went to bed the night before. But as soon as the morning came and we started to prepare our climb the sky was clear enough.
Summiting the Similaun includes hiking over a glacier. Therefore we had to use crampons and ropes. The Alpine School had also organized two more mountain guides to bring us safely up and down the mountain. Slowly we started hiking towards the glacier, where we would gear up with our crampons and connect us with a rope.
Hiking over the Similaun glacier
It was my first hike with crampons and ropes. A great experience! I always felt safe tight to the best of mountain guides and to my fellow hiking buddies. We split up in two groups and hiked the first section on long ropes. The ropes are for security in case someone breaks into a crevasse. Indeed one of our group members told us that she fell into a crevasse on a former mountain tour. She was tough being out there again!
When we hiked over a big snowfield the sun came out and the snowchrystals were shining like diamonds. The view over the alpine mountains was great and I felt a moment of complete happiness!
After a while the climb got more rocky and the guides shortened the ropelength between us to increase security. Only a few more steps and we would rech the summit!
Reaching the summit of the Similaun at 3606m
With 3606m the Similaun was at that time the highest mountain for me. Only one year later I would stand about 800meters higher on Mt. Whitney. Comparing the two mountains I still think summiting the Similaun was a bit more special. Maybe because of the snow and the great group I was with.
When we reached the summit our guides shook our hands. “Berg heil!” is the typical greeting of the region when you get to a summit. One of our guide even pulled out a bottle of Schnaps to celebrate our big achievement. It was very windy on the summit but we stayed a while to enjoy the stunning views over the European Alps. It felt like standing on top of the world – even though I know it’s higher 😉
After all the obligatory summit photos we roped up again and descended down to the Similaun. We should have a short rest before our steep decend into the valley continued.
The last decend
Our last decend was a steep one and not too easy in the first section. But it flattened off once we got closer to the Vernagt lake and the “Tisenhof” – our end station of the tour. With mixed feelings we all lined up for our last group photo.
From the “Tisenhof” we took a bus to Meran where we had time in the afternoon for a look around and to celebrate an awesome tour and great experiences.
Finally, crossing the European Alps was an unforgettable experience for me. I got to know a bunch of great people and we are still friends! The landscape and alpine nature was just breathtaking and summiting the Similaun was a highlight and great achievement. On this tour I collected lots of memories I will never forget and hopefully I will be able to return to another hiking adventure in the Alps very soon.
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