I have no idea where the phrase "grey dawn" comes from, as it is anything but grey. We left our base camp, the Grawand Hut in Zemmgrund, at 5.00 am. The ascent through the gorge to Waxeggalm was perfect for warming up. We followed the signposted path in the direction of the summit and were privy to a heavenly play of colours. The sky went from dark blue, to violet and orange above our heads. The mountain range glimmered in hues of brown, their silhouettes becoming increasingly apparent. We were already at around 2,500 metres altitude, when the first rays of sun peaked over the mountain crest and we became aware of the incredible beauty of nature.
Breakfast in the wilderness
We had watched the sun rise and had already been walking for around 2 hours, when our hunger pangs could no longer be ignored. We took a seat on rock the sun had warmed and unpacked our rucksacks. Bread rolls, "Manner" chocolate wafers and pure spring water – the best breakfast you could ever wish for. We stayed to linger at this wonderful spot for around an hour and sunbathed, watched hikers walk past us and just enjoyed the moment - completely stress free!
Conquering the summit
We didn't want to climb to the top in blazing sunshine, so we left our breakfast spot and walked in the direction of Schönbichlerhorn. The ascent was rocky, steep, the sun glared and it was quite an effort. Be that as it may, we could not ignore the nature surrounding us and we saw fascinating fossils that looked like a snake that had crawled out of a stone. After a secure roped section, we reached the summit. Exhausted.
Relief & pride
The effort turned out to be more than worthwhile! Once at the peak, we could enjoy panoramic views. A form of paradise opens up that you have to see at least once in your lifetime! A sea of mountains lay at our feet. Open views of Hochfeiler (3,510 m), the tallest mountain in the Zillertal Alps, fascinated us, as well as the alpine ibex goats scrambling around in the rocky terrain of the Großen Möseler Mountain.
Descent to Schlegeis
After hanging around at Schönbichlerhorn Peak for around half an hour, we climbed down to Furtschaglhaus. The sun shone relentlessly as we made our way down and we arrived at Furtschaglhaus pretty tired, where we were warmly welcomed by Barbara and Hans, the tenant landlords. We replenished our flagging energy levels with an excellent goulash and enjoyed a naturally cloudy Zillertaler Radler (shandy). My legs were burning, but there was no time for tiredness, as the descent from the Furtschaglhaus to Schlegeis Reservoir had another 2 hour walk in store for us.
We arrived at Schlegeis Reservoir exhausted, and dangled our tired legs in the refreshingly cold water. To sum up, it can be said that all those with a certain level of fitness, a good head for heights, don't mind the heat and have the stamina for long hikes will discover a very special world – one of tranquility, natural beauty and spiritual energy.