My STAY with BENNO – 2200m high – Take off point – Rietz
Griesskogel Peak (just above Rietz) lies at 2884m high and is probably my most favourite climb to do. It is right from Rietz, it is challenging, it is long, it is fun, I get to run the first hour on mountain road, then climb, great crazy run down, but the very best part of this is the visit with BENNO on the way down. It was always great conversation, a few boisterous laughs, a couple shots of ZIRBE schnapps…and then I would be on my way…with a new found energy or lack of from the schnapps and the sitting in a warm hut. I loved it and would not miss it. Benno tended the sheep’s Hut for the summer, herding the sheep that are owned by farmers in the village. Benno has been down this every summer for around 25years. He knows the mountains, the trails the rocks , the sheep inside out and could probably climb blindfolded and know his way. I remember getting caught in the hail running down the mountain and I ran straight in the Benno’s Hut and hung out for a good couple hours before I could continue on. There was definitely something special there. I
told him I must stay here for a night …I would love it! And of course I was always invited. It’s his simpleness and love of the mountains I love…his great laugh and his warm hospitality to bring anybody in. But there was something else there too… I never wanted to miss a visit.
On Aug 27
at 5:30pm I started up the mountain towards the hut, super jacked and so excited to go. It was warm out ,SKY was absolute clear. I was still a little wired from my Segafredo Espresso stop but I think my energy was high because I knew where I was going. After 21/2 hours…I made it to the hut…with other visitors there and Sammy (his best friend dog) sniffing through my bag of goodies. I had stuffed my pack full of goodies from the bakery for them to indulge in. Gabi, his daughter, arrived a bit later…we sat up until at least 11:30, laughing, listening to oldie tunes on the old time radio, learning Rietzer Dialect (love that) sentences and just simply enjoying the moment. It’s so comfortable there even to sit around the table…not saying anything…
Klaus, Kimmsch miar brauchn Zirbeln – Klaus come on up, we need another bottle of Zirbe Schnapps!
Yes I finished it off!
At 6am, Benno was up and ready to go to do his 3 hr Sheep round up…Gabi and I sat and had breakfast and relaxed for a good while. I was ready to fly up to Griesskogel..since now it was only a bit over an hour away. Once I arrived…I stayed at the peak for over an hour just lying…then came down halfway and lay for another hour..then came back down to Benno and decided to do another peak. I did not want to go down…..after the second peak, which had a ton of full body climbing…and I had to make my own way down..I was exhausted, hungry and ready to go back down. That one chocolate Balisto just didn’t cut it, all the way up and down.
Aug 29th was a very sad day indeed, as I received a phone call from Klaus, as I
was sitting at Segafredo in Innsbruck. He was the bearer of bad news….Benno
fell 90m from the mountain and had died instantly. This was the big day of
herding all the sheep and bringing them back down the mountain. I was shocked
and very sad…as I was just with him..this man knew the mountains inside out, was
super fit and strong. A sheep had gotten away of the trail in a steep section… so Benno climbed up to get him…the section of grass he had slipped on and fell …many others were there including his wonderful daughter Gabi…all witnessing. As the helicopter flew over Rietz into the mountain right above, Klaus instantly grabbed his cell phone and made a call to Benno….he had this feeling. 30min later the helicopter landed on the soccer field in Rietz with Benno and Gabi inside. Klaus, my good friend and a dear long time friend of Benno was there to witness.
‘Another one of our ORIGINALs gone’ Klaus says…He was such a unique, wonderful man and even having lived a good life…it is very sad to lose him. His energy and spirit will live on in the mountains above Rietz. Even though I only knew him for a year…I felt like I knew him for a long time… My Griesskogel Climbs will never be the same anymore without Benno’s visit. To me his is a Rietzer ICON.
Your message shall be emphasized to live SIMPLY doing what you love to do and do it everyday…so each day carries riches in the simplest of things…open your heart and your home to everyone and you will live a rich life….Benno died tragically yet he was doing what he loved to do. I feel him smiling up above having left so contented and at peace.
SWITZERLAND at it’s BEST!
4 Days of rambling in the Alps! The HIGHLIGHTs
Inferno Halb Marathon – Always a bugger of a race! Being a half marathon and around 2100m of climbing up…but I LOVE IT! It was a super HOT day but I love that too. Felt crappy for first
10km..then I hunkered down and said Karrie c’mon..you have been doing this for a long time…Focus in and run hard…and it worked…the second half felt much stronger and managed to shave off 4 min from last years time.
The next day…MAGICAL CLIMB to BLUEMSIALPHUTTE – 81/2 hours of climbing..
Loved this climb as I started later in the day…weather a DREAM…stopped by the Rotstockhutte to visit with friends Cornelia and Claudio…topped up with soup and bread and then I was off…another 5 hours to go at least. So here I was just about to climb the toughest part of the trek starting at 8pm…all steep baby! But wow not a cloud in the sky and WARM…this was truly AWESOME! Had passed a couple people setting up their mattresses to lay out in the open under the stars for the night! After 90min of hard breathing and fatigued legs ..it was getting dark and I did not see the HUT…It sat at 2800m…I had to be getting there soon! I passed by many animals who just stared at me..wondering what the heck I was doing up here at this time! And then…aaaahhhhh THE STAIRS…a crazy amount of super steep stairs, high up on the mountain…I had to be close….and I was….It was now dark, I was done and the light of the HUT sparkled in the night just ahead. I let out a big AHHHHHHHHHH Yes! The place was full as I walked in getting astonished looks from people consumed in consversation, cards and a few drinks. I got a WELCOME HOT TEA…stirred up my shake for dinner (as they were not serving it anymore) and soon to bed. I had sworn that I would never sleep on a huge shared mattress room again..with people lined up liked sardines…but somehow I was in that situation again. I don’t like the breathing in your face thing too much…but this time…it was OK…out of 10 people in our room…no one snored (ASTONISHING!). I didn’t get heavy breathing in my face..and a great deep sleep I had. I excitedly got out of bed (couldn’t wait for breakie) waking up at 2800m, I wanted to walk outside to absolute quiet, warm air and a pinky haze over the mountain range …was sooo cool.
The descent down to Ochinensee – was quick as I hopped along from rock to rock, excited to get into that lake and have my shower I missed yesterday. This lake was to die for, soooo blue and clear…I couldn’t resist a little SKINNY DIP in this ….VOILA! An hour later I was in Kandersteg sitting at a café, sipping my double espresso macchiato, waiting for the train. I had the pleasure of meeting this super
cool, gorgeous Hippy like 57 year old woman by the train named NIMISHA who just
loved my orange shoes…a short time together, deep conversation…good connection,
these are the sweet little gifts in life. OK I was ready to get back to
Innsbruck ( I miss it)…back to Lauterbrunnen, pick up my stuff and off I went.
LOVE LONG TRAIN TRAVEL…
So on my List of stuff, I got a few ticked off…stay in the SWISS SAC Hut…very high up..,, skinny dip in a glacier lake and the next thing is stay overnight at the
Sheep’s Hut high above Rietz with Benno
Winding down for TRANSALPINE
ROCKIN, ROLLIN and RUNNIN in the SLOVENIAN ALPS!
Hip Hoppin from Bled to Triglav, to Ljubliana to Planina Vogar and Laz…
As I reflect on my week in Slovenia this
is what comes to mind….
I have formed a trip for Livin Adventure in Julian Alps for 2013!
Unique place – Mountain trails a bit of the beaten track…had to take taxi to do my TRIGLAV climb
Mt. Triglav – Slovenia’s Tallest mountain - a long training day and had to use ropes and iron rods (Via Ferrata) to get to top…steep and challenging! The wind just about blew my glasses off! Coming down is always a blast…was late coming back down in to valley…but Taxi Mike was there to rescue me!
Ljubliana definitely had a funky appeal I liked…ended up in one shop for two hours (Indian made clothes…love those)…went café hopping…(none I found were that great! Stayed in Hostel Celica that used to be an old Jailhouse! Definitely one day in the city is enough for KG!
I was going to head back home and then something inside said check out Lake Bohinj…so straight there I went…well this led me to another DREAM SPOT with great people. I raced up the Mountain to get to this Farmhouse that I found a flyer on….sleeping in Hay in the barn…sitting by the fire…hanging with the Hosts…Loved the sound of that…Well it turned out to be amazing – Milka and Matthias were the BEST and I felt right at home as I dumped my Backpack in the Barn and said AHHHHH. Milka also had this amazing ROCKET FUEL Turkish style coffee that I loved …..This coffee in combination with I will say ‘THE BEST SLEEP I HAVE EVER HAD” (slept a solid, deep 7 hours…and that just doesn’t happen) had me going non stop running and climbing in the mountains all day…with energy to spare…The next day I was this Billy Goat on caffeine as well….that’s FUN! Matthias gave me the key to his cabin in the next mountain village 2 hours further up the mountain in village LAZ…What a magical place. About 12 rustic mountain cottages comprise this little village. The plans of just passing through, turned out to be 3 hours hanging out here – cheese making tour, milk tasting and hanging out with Blaz Cacic, a Slovenian journalist who was there interviewing the people and
writing a story on the MAGIC of this village. So I decided to stay an extra
night, go back to same village the next day and do the climbs I intended to do
(but got stuck in rain and thunder)
My time in Slovenia ended with a 6am Rocket Fuel Breakie and a sprint down the mountain to catch the bus! I had to sprint...with a big pack! My legs were cooked!
See you next year Slovenia…
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