Monday, November 16, 2015

Marschenkopf Memories



In March 2015 a group of friends and I skinned up past the Stuibenkopf hut through the clouds to the Marschenkopf in the hills above Garmisch.  This was a tough tour for me as the skin track was iced over and I didn't yet have any crampons for my splitboard.  To top it off the toe strap on my Voile Light Rail binding snapped as I was strapping in for the first time of the day.  Fortunately one of my friends loaned me a Voile ski strap to secure the binding for tour.

Field repair of busted binding
To get to the trailhead you had to take the Alpspitz gondola to the top and ski down into the valley on the backside nearly to the bottom of the tow rope.  The trail started in the trees and was an undulating narrow track that gradually ascended, often only wide enough for a single skier at a time.

Once you broke through the trees you made a right hand turn into a high pasture glade which was formed into the large mounds of a mogul field. At the top of the glade in a relatively flat area the Stuibenkopf hut overlooked the fogged in valley.

Focusing very hard to stay on the side slope track
After a quick break at the hut for some snacks and water we continued up thru hard crusted open snow fields towards the cloud veiled peaks.  The double-wide skin track was easy to follow and in great condition until it started to traverse the slope.  Then the tracks lost their downhill side margins and both skiers and splitboarders (myself) began to slip out of the grooves and flail and punch through the crusted snow below.  Self arresting with trekking poles minimized the slides and I had to inch myself over some of the slippery sloped humps.
Me lagging behind on the icy skin track
View from the top

I was glad when I could just ski straight uphill as the skins gripped well as long as they had an extended contact surface.  Eventually we made it to the top of the Marschenkopf to great views of gray clouds above and below us and nearly untracked wide open white slopes.


Stripping skins & preparing for the descent
Unfortunately, the slopes seemed untracked because it was hard to bite through the thick crusty snow surface and when you did you usually flipped.  There were pockets of good snow and boarding with this group of friends was fun even though the conditions were less than ideal.



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