Rastkogel and thunderstorms

Some pretty cows that were just waiting for someone looking for a photo opportunity.

 Last Sunday morning dawned fine and clear, though the forecast was for thunderstorms later.  The plan was to walk from Hochfügen, up the toboggan track to Sidanjoch and then on to Rastkogel – an estimated total of about 22km and 1300m of ascent.
It started well and we were making good time.  There were a few clouds around but nothing threatening.  Then, all within about 30 minutes big black clouds formed behind Rastkogel.  We speeded up as we were a little wary of the weather though we kept going.  Until, at about 150m below the summit, we decided the clouds were too close, the storm was imminent and it would be very foolish to be standing on the top of the highest local peak in a thunderstorm.
We turned tail and ran, jogged and speed-walked (the steepest parts!) back down the mountain.  We had spotted a small hut on the way up, where we thought we could shelter, but, if we didn’t get that far before the storm hit, then there were a few big boulders that may have offered a bit of a roof.  As it was, we were about 300m from the hut when the rain started in earnest.  In that distance we got drenched, but although the hut was locked, we managed a reasonably pleasant picnic, sitting on the porch, under the roof, warmed by a poncho, watching the rain and hailstones and listening to the thunder rolling around the mountains.
After the worst of it had past, we had a discussion about whether to try again for the summit or call it a day and head back down.  As we couldn’t see in the direction of where the weather was coming from we decided we should head down as we weren’t sure if another storm was on the way.

Almost back at Sidanjoch looking down towards Hochfügen with the storm in Zillertal in the background

 Actually, the storm passed and the weather cleared.  By the time we got back to the car there was a lovely, clear, blue sky.

Almost back at Sidanjoch looking up towards Rastkogel.
Blue sky after the storm.
Raskogelhütte, with the storm in the distance in Zillertal and beyond.