Our first day of hiking in the northwest Stubai, the Sellrain Alps.
Today we hiked from Kütai over the Finstertaler Scharte (pass) and down to the Schweinfurter Hütte. The trails in this area were rated “Red”, so not as arduous as the black-rated Höhenweg last week.
Sunday 31 July – Schweinfurter Hütte
We met for breakfast in the restaurant at 7:30 after a good night’s sleep in our separate rooms. We made ham and cheese sandwiches from the breakfast buffet to take on the trail, and then walked over to reception in the chilly morning air (mid/upper 40s) and checked out. We rode the DreiSeenBahn, a chair lift at the ski resort up to above the Finstertal speicher (reservoir), descended down past the Dreiseen (three lakes) hut, and hiked easily up to the lake.
At the lake we were forced to climb steeply away from the lake to avoid hazards along the shoreline. It began to sprinkle very lightly, but then stopped after a few minutes. We ended up on a path close to the shore, more or less level to the south end of the lake, which made for a nice stroll.
At the south end of the lake, the trail turned and climbed steeply up the hillside. Very steeply. After about a half hour the grade eased a bit as we entered into a valley.
We continued up, following the winding trail as the uppermost section came into view. The trail became steeper again and entered a section requiring a little climbing, but there were no cables (they weren’t really needed).
Once past this section the signpost at the top became visible and we walked up to the Finstertaler Scharte.
Allan continued up the Schartenkopf, a small peak above the scharte (notch), but I decided to continue down the other side, worried I might tire and slow down (still not quite feeling 100%). The trail descended gently through the upper section, and Allan caught up with me about a half hour later, where we lunched on the sandwiches we brought from breakfast.
We hiked through easy terrain until eventually reaching the end of this gently sloping plateau, where the trail began to descend much more steeply. A short ways further we could see the hut far below.
We spent approximately an hour descending steeply toward the hut, but not so steeply that it burned out my legs. Eventually we reached the valley floor and walked a short distance over to the hut to check-in.
We were assigned to a room with 8 beds, a couple of which were lower bunks -my favorite as they easier to get in and out during the night than dorm mattresses or a top bunk. We went outside to enjoy the view and snack on a Kaiserschmarrn and apfelsaft – it was a bit chilly in the breeze however. We went inside and sat in the dining room for an hour+ before dinner and played Uno. Three german college students were assigned to sit at our table, and we chatted for a while since they spoke English well. After dinner we all played Uno and a card game named “Schnauz” (sort of like Blackjack, with a 32-card deck). We retired to our room after 10pm.