Vent, Austria
July 2014
Vent, like Sulden, is a quiet little village that's very near the end of the road.
Still lots of meltwater coming down from the surrounding peaks.
The beginning of a long, rising traverse (translation: not steep, but uphill all morning) through the Venter Tal.
The Venter Ache cuts a particularly deep gorge through the valley.
The remains of a small spring avalanche threaten to dam the river.
The gorge of the Venter Ache remains very narrow for most of its length.
Early in the hike, a friendly young shepherd adopted us, and stayed with us all the way to the top.
A strategically placed bridge across a tributary of the Venter Ache. Rugged territory.
Our destination, the Hochjoch Hospiz, 500 meters higher than our starting point, comes into view, silhouetted against a gray sky.
The Hochjoch Hospiz, at 2413 meters.
As we approach the hut, we're passed by a large group of hikers, heading down. It's good that they're leaving - a group that size can overwhelm the kitchen of a small place like the Hospiz, and we've got lunch on our minds.
Just beyond the Hochjoch Hospiz, the terrain becomes even more forbidding. We're not heading any further, however.
On the opposite side of the valley, a rumble and a cloud of dust draw our attention to a small rock slide. The pile at the bottom indicates that this has been an unstable slope for quite a while.
As we approach Rofen, on the outskirts of Vent, the weather brightens.
After a week of spectacular weather in Sulden, we knew our luck couldn't last. Vent provided a couple of very nice days, a few gloomy days like this one (heavy clouds, but not actually raining), and a couple of complete washouts. The view from Ramolalm.
On a nicer day, we climbed 750 meters from a spot above Zwieselstein to Karstall. Here, the view from about halfway up.
The view from Karstall, with Sölden (not to be confused with Sulden) in the valley below.
At Lenzenalm, a nice mountain café terrace on which to have our lunch.
On our last day in Vent, we headed for Obergurgl, and took a relatively easy trail up to the Schönwieshütte. Forbidding yet beautiful territory, but by the time we had finished our lunch, it was raining steadily, and we beat a hasty retreat. Next stop, a solo journey to Zermatt....