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Crossing the Alps via E5 from Braunschweiger Hut to Martin-Busch-Hut.

This morning I am awakened by my watch on my wrist, because I had set the alarm to wake up shortly after sunrise. I simply wanted to dismantle my tent early so that I do not come into a possible conflict with the hut host, who is possibly not thrilled by the fact that I camped directly with him around the corner. Apart from that, I wanted to be generally earlier awake, in order to be able to use the day better and, so that I do not arrive too late at my goal, in order to be able to write in the evening still in peace. Outside the tent I hear already again the first hiking poles on the rocks and the sound of debris by the loose tread of passers-by. The flow of the large melting Ötztal glacier above me can hardly be ignored. In the distance above me also sounds a strange rumbling and I am initially irritated, where this noise could come from. With such noises one should immediately become alert in the mountains, because rock falls are no rarity in the crumbling Alps, but rather the rule and can end quite fatally. I look up at the glacier to see if there has been a major rock or icefall. Looking closer, I see two excavators working on the glacier, possibly already preparing the ground for the coming ski season.

I pack up my gear and occasionally wave back to the climbers who spot me that morning and gesture a "good morning" from a distance.

After all my equipment is stowed in my backpack, I heave the heavy package onto my shoulders and set off on another ascent up to the Pitztaler Jöchl. On my way up, I meet Jan and Flo, with whom I had already sat together at dinner in the hut the night before. We had a good chat on the way up, which made the climb seem very entertaining. It was a beautiful, rocky, somewhat sloping passage, which led in good gradient continuously up to the yoke.

It feels good to move your body first thing in the morning and get your circulation going. It has something very calming and elemental, sometimes almost meditative, and you just think about the next step and the beautiful surroundings around you. You don't waste any thought on existential fears, worries, resentments or other failings. You are just calm and content with yourself and enjoy the warm sun and the fresh wind on your skin and face.

On the left side of the flank we slowly but surely climb up to the Pitztaler Jöchl.

A look back shows the large glacier fields and glacier tongues as they reach into the valley and move through the rock over millions of years, eroding as they go. The next winter, everything here is again snow-white and covered meters high with the cold element. And so this process repeats itself for many millennia, much longer than we exist and long before our vanishingly small worries already existed.

About 135 million years ago, at the beginning of the Cretaceous period, the complex, multi-stage formation process of the Alps started. Simply described, the Atlantic Ocean opened wider and wider, causing the African continent to move the Adriatic Plate northward further and further into Europe. This movement took place an estimated 35 million years ago. As a result, this beautiful formation that we can marvel at today was formed. The process was largely completed about 5 million years ago, but continues to this day, as the plates are still moving in this direction, but not quite as fast.

Up there, a warm, golden morning sun awaited us, welcoming us for this new day ahead.

From here you cross another slightly exposed rocky passage until you reach the highest point.

Shortly before this yoke I meet a somewhat anxious young woman who is a little worried about this passage and is mentally preparing herself for this hurdle. I speak to her courage and explain to her that from experience things always look worse from a distance than they are in the end and that it is usually our head that makes the obstacle seem much more difficult.

My backpack and the heavy weight? I hardly feel it anymore. I'm just looking forward to this climb!

A little caution is required and you should concentrate if you are walking along here and are not particularly sure-footed.

And who would have thought it? She was right behind me at the end of this exposed section and mastered the passage without any problems.

Some places are secured with chains and wire ropes to provide more safety.

Only a few more meters, then the first ascent for this morning is done.

Of course, as always, I'll take you with me the last few meters up on the saddle so you can understand a little bit how it feels!

And over the saddle! I am curious what sight awaits us there!

Arriving at the highest point, I am presented with a strange and bizarre sight as I look down into the next valley.

I catch sight of a brand new, huge, concreted and asphalted complex of roads, parking lots and a gigantic lift facility in the unreal, rocky and partly still glaciated landscape.

And next to it, nevertheless, rough, beautiful and wild rock formations.

The sun has a very special color this morning, creating an indescribable atmosphere. You can definitely tell that summer is over and autumn is just around the corner!

A short look back to the Braunschweiger hut and the small "pond" where I spent the night.

And forever the clouds move beautifully over the peaks, while standing in the sunlight cast their shadows down into the valley. It never gets boring and I love every one of these sights.

We are at 2961m above sea level this morning. By the way, did I mention that this clock is just absolute madness?

This is probably the Sölden ski resort on the glacier of the same name. Artificial catch basins and bizarre-looking water reservoirs were created here by a prime example of geoforming. To do this, millions of cubic meters of material must have had to be moved. I also like to ski, of course, but what kind of gigantic madness we humans are partly engaged in and thus sustainably damage our nature, as well as the environment, simply to earn even more money, is partly incomprehensible to me. Well then, let's descend to this structure. Right at the beginning of the descent it jams at a steep, rope-secured passage, which can be overcome for most crossers only with this assistance and individually one after the other.

Afterwards, we descend a few meters in single file through rock and scree until we finally arrive at this strange structure.

From here, you usually take a short five-minute bus ride through a long rock tunnel over to the other gigantic ski complex.

The tunnel may not be crossed on foot. Alternatively, you can cross this passage by hiking above the tunnel along the Seiterkar to the Seiter Jöchl.

After a short, not very respectable climb, we leave the ski area and find ourselves on the great and very long descent route down into the Ötztal valley to Vent.

Flo, Jan, Hannah, Nicklas and me as we set off to leave the ski area. We've all met so many times now on this hike and have had conversations and exchanged thoughts with each other over and over again that a certain familiarity or sense of community has almost developed between us E5 Alpenüberquerers. This is probably only natural when you get up together every day for almost a week, have breakfast, share the same efforts and privations and sit together in the evening at dinner. Meeting in the washrooms and finally going to bed more or less at the same time.

So we all descend together slowly but surely to Vent and enjoy shared conversations, experiences, perceptions and ideas. Nicklas asks me, for example, what I think of hiking poles, since I use poles on this hike and he himself does not really get along with his poles, however, or feels no added value for himself in using them. I tell him that I find the use, depending on the situation quite useful, but I am a fan of walking on the rock and with light luggage without hiking poles to train their own balance, joints and tendons. However, it is ultimately a very situational and individual decision that everyone must make for themselves.

Hannah, Nicklas and I play a funny game during the descent, or rather a podcast format, where you are asked extremely bizarre questions and everyone has to answer these questions according to their opinion. It helps tremendously to get to know each other better, to understand each other, it's extremely funny and makes the descent seem very entertaining. We certainly had our fun with it.

After a while I feel a huge hole in my stomach and realize that I am extremely hungry. Fortunately, Jan gave me two more of his granola bars, because I was pretty hungry by now and just had nothing left. Without him I would have had to descend hungry to the valley.

It is a very beautiful, extended descent with many turns and occasional climbs, which thus give the trail a very special character and always offer unique sights.

I feel the urge in me to increase the pace, because the descent is usually easier for me and feels more pleasant for me personally. So I tighten the backpack to my body and shoot down the trail.