Observing the weather forecast and be ready to go! The question about the destination for a “short” 8h trip was simple for the season. When nearly every river runs dry you need the water of a glacier. “Oetz Valley”. The name stands for Austrian big water. Thoughts about this spot induce anticipations like: cold & brown water, fast & strong flow, the sound of big stones rolling over the riverbed and last but not least sand in your mouth.
Escaping of the summer heat and of the holiday traffic, I drove my two ladies through the night. Damn, this is the solution! Driving causes tiredness and speechlessness to them. I need to remember that when I am back home - silent is calculable. Revitalized by the view of the mountains the week could start, sadly with one accident, but later more.
Which f..king beach holiday can mess with this?
To get used to the water we did a nice evening run on the lower Oetz with some older boys and a young gun. It’s so much fun when the old mentor with his son is following your line. Remembering when I was 13 and glued to his stern on my first run on the slalom section in Lofer (Austria). Time always changes. Haha. Next day we did a canyoning tour in the Auerbachklamm. This was long overdue and so much fun.
The accident happened in the Pitz Valley. Like everything else in the evening the Pitzbach was also on a juicy flow. The tricky thing waited in the main section. A log above a drop. The line you wanna go was to fly through the drop with a nice boof. But that meant that you would jump directly with your face into the tree. So it felt more like a toilette to pass the obstacle. During getting in the right position Jochen didn’t noticed the rock in front of it. The result: A dislocated shoulder and the necessary to stay upright with one arm left. Shit, man! What a mission to get out and on the street to find a hospital where the shoulder could reset under general anesthetic. Get well soon, Jochen!
In the middle of the week my buddies arrived and we were ready for some more tensed action. Ok, somehow I felt a little bit uncomfortable looking to the water level of the lower Venter in the evening. The brown flow causes an unease.
Swimming is no alternative at this flow.
Standing at the top - the group thinned out. Timo and I were the only ones who were still fired up. On top we had to admit that both of us couldn’t remember the line, only some fragments were left. So we tried it on sight. It was so stressful in front that we had to rotate after the sections. The water flow was so fast, that I couldn’t avoid one of the biggest holes. With the last stroke I jumped on it and was fast enough to fight against the initiated reverse gear of the hole. Timo not. But his routine of the last Siberia trip bombed him out. Great job, dude! Exhausted but not cleverer we attempted the upper Oetz without remembering the line at high water… Déjà-vu! Idiots! Haha. After one third and being glad to miss the “bus-hole” we scouted like rookies on the left shore. At the end we were pretty lucky, because the locals Maxi and Andy picked us up and guided us down during laughing at us.
My part, but shortly after this section I lost the sight of the big hole in front of me. Sorry Timo! ;-)
The next day followed with a complete run on the Pitzbach. One of my favorites, that’s for sure. You have to wait until the late evening for a sandy run. To feel more comfortable I would advise you a local in front of you. Anyway you‘ve got no time to stop and scout in the main section at this water level. Haha.
Timo leads the clear line.
The last days followed with some more runs on the middle and lower Oetz before we started the way back home. For sure in the night, supported by the speechlessness of the ladies…
Middle Oetz – Entrance Drop
Last to say that I’m looking forward to the Sick-line week in October, not competing, but boating.
See you there!
Nookie Team Rider
Thanks to the Nookie Team keeping me dry and staying super comfortable!
Thanks to Benny Herbrügger shooting the pics!
Thanks to Jochen Lettmann for the right boat and paddel!