Over the last years we found a lot of runs, we wanted to try. But in the first years we lacked the courage and in the last years we never had the right snow conditions. And so these runs added up to a little bucket list. And finally, with winter 2017/2018 we got a chance to cross some of them out: there was plenty of snow, stable north faces and enough confidence in ourselves. We started with the Madrisella couloir in mid January.
Madrisella is a 2.466 m high mountain in the Silvretta Alps, located in the Silvretta Montafon ski resort in Austria. The hike part of the tour is not that hard, about 1,5 to 2,5 hours and 450 meters difference in altitude. Starting point is the summit station of the Burg t-bar. Getting a day pass of the Silvretta Montafon resort is necessary, if you don’t want to hike up the additional 1.200 meters.
For the descent, you can choose from three different runs: north-west smack-dab through the basin in the middle (>35 degree), south-west in a large curve (great with corn snow, >30 degrees) and north, the fall-line (or better-not-fall-line) couloir (>40 degrees). All three end up at the base station of the Nova chair-lift.
When we reached the summit of the t-bar station we took a left and stopped after 100 meters on the right to put our skins on. We hiked up on the right side throught the avalanche gallery around the corner. Then we climbed across a cornice in the saddle (size differs each winter) and took the steep hike up on the left hand side. After this it was just an easy walk along the edge. 😉 Even though I’m not a member in the ridge-walking fanclub, I always immensely enjoy the gorgeous views from this one! There are countless peaks on the horizon, and also the summit cross of the Madrisella in sight. Sometimes the path on the ridge lead us downhill, not much, just enough to make it nice and awkward with skins on. On the last part upwards some people like to take the way straight up to the cross (make sure to have crampons in springtime). We always use another one: first cross a slope left hand side and then get up to the cross. There’s a detailed card on the Montafon Tourism website.
On the top we promptly started searching for the couloir drop-in. I looked it up on the cards from my Outdoor Active app before, but all the terrain was marked red (>40 degrees) and it didn’t seemed skiable. Standing on top it was pretty obvious where we had to go. I took some turns to the north-west until I reached the drop-in and looked into the abyss. And holy steepness, I so had to take a deep calming breath before I jumped in. That one definetely looked steeper than anything I had ever skied before. I even let the boys go first. Just to check the situation, you know. But seeing everything was all right, I couldn’t wait any longer. The snow on top was perfect, so my turns through the narrow couloir were nice and easy. Well, easy until my thights started to burn like hell around halfway down. Now I get why the guys in the old movies always wheeze so hard (#blizzardsofaahhhs). A little further down the snow got really hard and crunchy. That was no longer fun, but it didn’t matter at all, cause I made it to this point, so I’ll make the rest too. I looked all the way up, grinned like crazy at my friends and just kept going. I was high on endorphines, an incredible feeling. My mind was completely empty, only thinking in „Aahhs“ and Oohhs“. Such a rush. On the bottom in the Nova valley we made our way trough the big boulders and over the stream where we traversed back to the lift station via the Schwarzköpfle route. The bench next to the Schwarzköpfle lift-station is a nice place to take a short break. So we happily dropped ourselves on it, had a sandwich, stared at the line we just did and calmed down.
If anybody is interested: I skied that with a tech-binding without any problems. My King-Pin did all right. #rulethemountain
Notice: I take it as a given, that you have the avy skills and gear for skitouring. Never go without. Also, please make sure to book a professional mountain guide, if you don’t know the terrain.
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