Wangelspitze: a fool’s errand


The sky clears.

A while ago I wrote a post about my successful attempt to reach the top of Wangelspitze in Mayrhofen. Now, I would like to return to the same spot to talk about my second voyage towards this summit. This attempt was not quite as successful…

On my second trip to Mayrhofen, the weather was not quite as glorious. We had quite a bit of snow, and often the clouds would hang over the mountainside all day. This gave us an entirely different view of the area, and it also provided us with some more challenging and exciting walks.

One morning we awoke to the sight of snow falling steadily outside. As a result, we decided to head to Penken again, as we are quite familiar with the routes there and it is nice and easy to get back from if we decided to head for home a little earlier than normal.

As we rode the cable car up, the clouds quickly enveloped us. I couldn’t even see the terrifying drop beneath us as it was concealed with a blanket of heavy cloud. Wet snow tapped against the windows and I could hear the wind whistling. An auspicious start!


The path up Penken

We set off on our usual route up the mountain, until we came to a sort of crossroads. A few days ago we had decided to walk to Lanersbach at this point, because we felt that walking up Wangelspitze in the snow was a stupid idea. However, today we felt seized with a need to do the Wangelspitze route again. So, with reckless abandon, off we went.

The going was pretty tough. The snow was very, very thick, and it was still snowing heavily. This made it hard to see where you were going. Sadly, it also obscured the amazing views we had witnessed the year before. Despite this, I was having a whale of a time. It was fun to pick a good route through the snow and avoid the deep drifts. It was also challenging trying to decipher where the path actually was, and attempting to keep to it.

Despite the conditions being tougher than the previous year, I found myself zooming up the mountain with much greater ease. My trusty walking poles certainly helped, but I think my confidence had grown since my last attempt, which made me more sure-footed and willing to move at a faster pace. I would never have attempted this route in the snow before.


The path leading to the summit.

The biggest problem with the snow was that it was bitterly cold. I was wearing my leggings and a pair of waterproof trousers, but my hands were icy. Unfortunately I had no good gloves on me, so my boyfriend and I had to take turns wearing his ski gloves. Learn from my mistake!

We were so, so close to the top when suddenly we rounded the side of the mountain and were met with a barrage of wind. We carried on doggedly for a little further, but the wind didn’t die down. We had also reached the narrowest bit of the path, and the snow was now up around my calves. With much hand-wringing and loud groans, we decided to turn back. Carrying on would have been stupid, no matter how much we wanted to.

By the time we were about half-way down, the weather began to clear a little. For an instant, the clouds parted and we were able to see the summit. We must have only been about 200m from the top when we decided to turn back. DAMN.


The summit

However, we had had a fantastic walk, and now that the clouds were clearing, we were able to get flashes of the amazing views around us. The snow had made the view even more spectacular, and I was glad that the weather had not been as sun-filled as before.


View from Penken

Later that week, we made another attempt at Wangelspitze while the sun was out again. We made it with ease. It’s so much easier when you can see where you’re going!

N.B. I don’t recommend doing any walks while visibility is low and the weather is bad. If you do attempt it, always know when to turn back. This was a fairly safe route and we knew where we were going, but accidents can happen. Make sure you have the right gear on you and, if in doubt, don’t go.


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