Our third day of hiking in the Stubai alps, from the Bremer Hut, over the Simmingjochl pass, and on to the Nürnberger Hut.
Today we hiked over a 9,000ft (2,800m) pass to the next hut on a shorter segment of the Stubai Höhenweg, also rated “Black”.
Tuesday 26 July – Nürnberger Hütte
Today started with breakfast in the dining room downstairs: yogurt, muesli, and cornflakes, plus a slice of ham and cheese. I felt better this morning and ate well, so we decided to continue on to the Nürnberger hut since the distance is only three and a half miles with only 1,400 feet of elevation gain, and it didn’t appear it was going to rain today. I figured worst case it would take us 6 hours, double the estimated time of 3 hours. We packed, purchased lunches, and set out at around 9:30. We said goodbye to Merlin who said he was going down to Gshnitzl to meet family.
Low clouds obscured the views and set a moody atmosphere as we departed the hut. The trail meandered over terrain that shouldn’t have been too difficult, but it was very rocky and the rocks were wet from all the overnight rain. After around a half mile, the trail began to climb more steeply. I was able to keep moving, but slowed by obstacles that Allan simply stepped over. My legs were still tired from yesterday, and I am realizing that my energy level is still below normal.
Views remained mostly obscured by the clouds, but they occasionally parted enough for a glacier to peek through. We heard loud cracking noises followed by the sound of large rockfall tumbling down the mountainside across from us – we felt safe given that we were ascending up the other side of the valley. Around here Merlin caught up to us. Said he was bored at the hut and wanted to get out and hike. He hiked with us for a short bit and then took off ahead up the trail.
We continued up as the trail became even steeper, and then up a gully toward the top. Further up we reached fixed cables that would support us though technical and super steep terrain toward the top. I was moving slow, but mostly enjoying the climb. We popped out just below an old border control hut at the top of the Simmingjochl.
We stopped here for lunch. The sandwiches from the hut were very dry – just bread, meat, and cheese with no condiments. Probably healthier, but I could choke down only half of one. I was feeling chilled in the breeze in a perspiration soaked t-shirt, so I put on my jacket and began to warm up. We could see the Nürnberger Hütte perched on a mountainside on the other side of a valley.
After lunch we started down toward the Nürnberger hut – it was not as steep on this side – did not require hands. But a little further down we encountered another cable-supported section where we had to down-climb.
We then came to a section which might have been the nicest we encountered since the trail to the Innsbrucker hut, an actual trail that we could just walk down for a while. The trail entered a high valley with a slow-moving stream through meadows.
At the mouth of this valley the trail dropped down to another meadow, aptly named Paradies (Paradise), and then to where we could see across the valley and the Nürnberger hut again.
At this point we are only a mile away. The trail descended again, steeply at times with cables, which made for slow going (for me). The trail eventually descended down to a torrential river, the Langentalbach, where we crossed over a small bridge to the other side to begin our ascent to the hut.
The trail climbed steeply up the other side of the valley, with technical sections requiring climbing, which was exhausting for me in my current state. We kept moving due to threat of rain and eventually reached a junction where we turned toward the hut. But here again the trail climbed before leveling and then finally descending. It was so cloudy that I couldn’t see the hut until I was very close, where I descended onto the terrace and entered the hut.
Allan had gone ahead earlier near the trail junction, and checked us in. Our room had four bunk beds (two stacks of two beds) but other people had already taken the lower beds so we were stuck with the upper bunks. We showered, did laundry, hung up our clothes to dry, then went down to the dining room for dinner – a delicious beef roast with a brown sauce and cranberries, and spatzle. I was able to eat all of the meats, but not all of the spatzl and vegetables – still not feeling right. We both were nodding off a little at the table, but it was too early and still light out, so we couldn’t turn in for the evening. We went back to the dining room to chat with Merlin and the German couple we saw every night. But we couldn’t really converse/socialize because we were so tired. We pulled out maps to decide what to do tomorrow. My legs were so tired and sore that climbing up and down the stairs between our room and the dining room was more difficult than it should have been.
I alternated between hot and cold all night (probably feverish), adjusting my bedding hourly. I did not check the time, and was able to fall back asleep each time.