Alps are finally IN

Story by Matej Holub 

Photo by David "Vory" Sodomka

After quite a long winter, we all have been eagerly awaiting first snow melt. Our car was loaded with 5 ZET Directors ready to travel wherever the water might be. Weather was a big help this weekend therefore we were invited with great water levels on Brandenberger Ache on Saturday morning.

Brandenberger Ache consists of many sections. We decided that the best option is to start all the way on the top on Kaiserklamm and paddle all the way down to Kramsach. Kaiserklamm is pretty narrow gorge about 1km long with multiple smaller drops and lot of boils trying to mess up your line. After this section river calms down for a bit. However you better stay focus since another gorge awaits. Probably the hardest section is called Tiefenbachklamm with its famous rapid called Strahl (“sunbeam”). This section is about 4km long with lots of great rapids and funny spots.

Few of us decided to give it a go on the Strahl rapid since the water level was just right to ride over a rock on the left side avoiding hole in the middle. After Tiefenbachklamm river calms down again with few class III rapids to finish up this whole piece of whitewater. Since it really didn’t take us that long to make it down, we decided to drive up again and paddle whole section again. Only this time we had few swimmers on last drop of Kaiserklamm which I definitely advise not to underestimate since left wall looks rather sketchy.

We finished up a day at around 5pm which gave us time to decide what to paddle on Sunday. It looked like water levels are dropping a bit, therefore we moved to Saalach and its Teafelslucht section which is also sometimes called Lofer since its location.

On Sunday we woke up to beautiful weather with mountains full of snow and pretty high water level (60 cubics ) on Saalach. Teafelslucht is well-known for its sieve rocks, which you try to stay far away from. Whole run is pretty short, but we took it safe and scouted most of the bigger rapids. It was interesting to see this river on high flow since I’ve only paddled it when it was low. It was great to paddle this section with no big issues and no scary lines. However be really careful on this section since it has many unfriendly spots.

After an hour long run we were at the take out discussing what to do next. Some wanted to paddle another lap on Saalach, but since Lammer river was on the way home we moved there to finish up this weekend. Lammer gorge is definitely not long section but incredibly scenic one. You put in and after 5 minutes you’re out of the gorge, but those 5 minutes are well worth doing over and over. We ended up paddling 3 laps and enjoy big boils in eddies, sticky holes and just fun. Personally this was most fun section of whole weekend especially when you’re catching crazy eddies next to walls and fighting against boils.  

Overall it was great first weekend in Austrian Alps for us. Mountains are still full of snow and warmer weather will bring in more goods soon so stay tuned for more pictures and reports.