All images ©2020, Jeff Tucker
The little village of Sulden sits in a valley below the Ortler, at 3905 meters, the highest peak in the Eastern Alps.
Greater Metropolitan Sulden. I can see my hotel room from here.
The Tabarettahütte, a restaurant/refugio with a great view from its terrace.
The view from the Tabaretthütte back down towards the Vinschgau.
The Zebru and Ortler trying to hide in the clouds.
The Ortler disgorges an enormous amount of scree, making for difficult footing on trails like the one that cuts straight across the center of this shot.
The glacial origins of the Stieralm are betrayed by its shape.
One of the hazards of picnicking in the Stieralm - curious onlookers.
The Ortler, seen from the Furkelhütte (2200 meters) above Trafoi, at the beginning of the long climb to the Stilfserjoch (2760 meters).
In the meadow left of center, the Furkelhütte. In the valley below, Gomagoi, and beyond, the Vinschgau and the mountains of the Austrian Nordtirol.
Climbing up to the Stilfserjoch, the views keep getting better.
Higher and higher.
Nearing the pass, and the remains of this winter's snows are all around us.
In the distance (pushing the lens to its limit), a group of hikers crosses a snow field, one that we'll be tackling in an hour or so.
Our first glimpse of the seemingly impossible road that takes cars and trucks over the Stilfserjoch.
Even in this rugged terrain, the wildflowers are everywhere.
Very near the top, and the thin line of the trail can be seen crossing a snow field, right of center.
Looking back down the valley.
Thankfully, there's a good walking trail trampled down across meter-deep snows.
From the pass, looking down at the road, a favorite among motorcyclists.
After an all-morning climb, the Stilfserjoch.
The church in Sulden.
The heavy snows of this past winter are still producing impressive mountain streams, well into late July.
On a non-hiking day, I punk out and take a lift to Kanzel.
From the lift, the view to the head of the valley, beyond Sulden, where the road truly ends.
Seen from Kanzel, the Königspitze and Zebru dominate the valley. Like the Ortler, the Königspitze dumps a prodigous amount of scree down its slopes.
The Moon over the Zebru.
Looking back along the trail that will take us to the Hintergrathütte, at the end of a 500-meter climb.
An unexpected sight - yaks. No, they're not native.
The Hintergrathütte, at 2661 meters.
A yak attempting to hide in the snow.
The Zebru and Ortler, seen from the terrace of the Hintergrathütte.
The Königspitze (3859 meters).
The descent from the Hintergrathütte towards Langenstein (left of center), Sulden in the valley below.
Feeling stronger, we tackled an 800-meter climb from Sulden to the Düsseldorferhütte. Here, at about the one-third mark, we see the Ortler on the opposite side of the valley.
From a stream-crossed meadow just below the Düsseldorferhütte, the Königspitze, Zebru, and Ortler pose for their portrait. Next stop, Vent, Austria....