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Großer Osser (1,293 m) - Velký Ostrý - winter camping with my beloved spouse…

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Good things come to those who wait... or so they say. Time for revenge tastes best when served cold, or one of those proverbs... well, sit and read a guide on how to arrange a few days of silence at home with your wifie…


Some of you may already know that my wife has been bugging me for years, claiming I'm spoiled and don't want to go camping with her. So, I finally fulfilled her wish... in February...


During the week, grandma calls us and offers to take care of both kids over the weekend... "Wait, you mean Lucy too (our 2-year-old blond tornado, next to our 5-year-old blond tornado, both?! Really?!)? So, we could have a weekend just the two of us after two years?"...


Wow, news of the century, and we immediately start planning a free weekend, as the opportunity to take my wife to the mountains came much faster than I had ever hoped for...

A landscape photo of the cross at the top of the snowy mountain Osser at sunset. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD - photographer Michal Stehlik.

Her eyes are shining with excitement... my eyes are shining with excitement... we both feel we are thinking the same thing...


Me: "Sure, we'll climb Großer Osser mountain together and we'll sleep right there in the tent, just as you've always wished… it will be absolutely amazing!


Wife: "II wished for it in the summer, you lunatic, now I want a spa, dinner and to catch up on sleep for the past 5 years… that will be absolutely amazing!"


Well, one would think we get along so well, and then this situation...


So, for a while, I pretend that her version is playable, but occasionally, subtly, I suggest that it should be really nice and that I need to take some photos for Tamron and 3LT, so we should really go…

Gradually, I add that I will prepare everything and promise guaranteed beautiful weather...


And after two beautiful days of complete silence (don't get me wrong, it was nice, hehe), Renata casually mentions that grandma supposedly has a small camping stove...


So, the war axe is thus buried, and I just nostalgically recall the silence of the previous days and slowly start packing...


Now a little something for other "lunatics" who would also like to try this too:


It should be around -6ºC, so we should manage fine with our Husky Dinis sleeping bags (they are down and weigh just under a kilogram). We have Yate Extreme Lite sleeping pads, but in case they burst, they also have extra filling inside. Our tent is the Husky Sawaj Ultra 2. It's not exactly expedition equipment; I bought it for situations where I might have to or want to sleep outside in the Dolomites in autumn when hunting for stars at Tre Cime, but -6ºC is not exactly freezing and last weekend I found a sheltered spot (at least it seemed so)…


The day before we leave, my father-in-law calls to ask if I have a shovel... I joke that I don't intend to kill Renata, let alone bury her, but he counters that we need to dig around the tent... I have my own thoughts, but considering that he has already slept a lot in tents in the cold (I envy you with your Bajkal trip, grandpa!), I go and buy a foldable shovel on Saturday morning... “Oh, great, you have it? Oh, it weighs 1.5kg... thanks, but no thanks...


Well, I'll just somehow carve it out with my hands at worst… and anyway, the spot was quite flat, so I'm not going to stress about it, right? However, the forecast is getting worse and worse, from yesterday there should be additional 40 cm of new fresh snow and brutal winds…


I certainly won't tell my wife, right… especially since she's kind of started to look forward to it…


Just in case, we're packing two more sleeping pads (regular roll-up ones from Decathlon), with the thought that it's really going to be cold from ground… and I go shopping for some food… Renata is a nutritional therapist (which is something between a dictator and a dictator... yes, I know I used the same term twice, that's just how it is... no sugar, no snacks, no joy in life... hehe, I'm just teasing her... she gulped down that dried chicken paprika I bought like a raspberry… no, we won't tell your clients Renatka, no… xD)…


On our way to Großer Osser Summit


And here we go... In Klatovy, it's 4.5ºC, but in Hamry, it's already approaching zero... the snow looks more like ice with mud, but that was also the case last Sunday, and it was great up there...


And indeed... we follow the blue trail from Hamry, and after barely a kilometer, we leave the icy patches behind and start sinking into powder snow…

Nutrition therapist Renča Stehlíková is joyfully posing amidst snow drifts in the mountains, under a clear winter sky. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD - photographer Michal Stehlik.

At the stone marked with 1000 meters above sea level, it's a fairy tale... there's easily over a meter of snow, and we sink into it up to our “middle legs” (well, I do). Above us, clouds chase the sun, and frostbite on the trees hasn't thawed yet... this will be an amazing place for photos! I start to set up my tripod and I don't know what to photograph first... the wind is starting to pick up and in a flash, it steals my hiking pole and throws it about 30 meters down... I'm not going to leave my beautiful LEKI pole here... but I will wade for it tomorrow... the golden hour is slowly approaching and we still have about 20 minutes to the summit…

The sunset on Grosser Osser is perhaps even more beautiful than the sunrise... the light beautifully paints the rocks, and one can find countless compositions here... I generally enjoy Grosser Osser because, unlike our other Bohemian Forest peaks, you get the feeling of being in the small Alps here, as it offers stunning views of the surroundings...


The only flaw is the incredible wind... I've never experienced a calm day here and today it's really brutal, because a cold front is pushing and it's very noticeable...

A breathtaking red sunset illuminates the vast mountain range, turning the skies into a warm palette of red and orange hues. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron Tamron 150-500mm F/5 - 6.7 Di III VC VXD lens - photographer Michal Stehlik.

Nevertheless, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing... Over the past few years, I've found several brands I can really rely on. Highpoint Protector is an incredible armor, and when combined with Tilak Euphoria and merino wool, it hasn't let me freeze anywhere so far.


I always wear Vallerret gloves. This time, I got the new Markhof Pro V3, and while I was hiding in my thumb and index finger, they were warm, but as the sun set and the wind kept on hitting me, I focused mainly on photography and left my fingertips exposed... and then I spent 5 minutes with my right hand between my legs to revive my thumb and index finger back to the life... let it be a lesson that in such brutal conditions, one must simply tuck those fingers back into the gloves... once I warmed up my hand, the gloves kept me warm wonderfully again… however, next time, I'll take the warmer Skadi Zipper, which are mittens with smaller glove as an inserts (see the last review…).

A dramatic mountain sunrise as the sun breaks through heavy dark clouds, casting an ethereal light over the rugged landscape. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 - photographer Michal Stehlik.

Can’t say my wife loves being frozen as much as I do, so she waited for me freezing in the shelter (…love you baby)… dinner, sauna, wellness... ehm… the tough life of a photographer's wife...


It's half-past five, the light show is over, and we are slowly starting to set up the tent... but there are two issues... firstly, there's half a meter more snow than last week, so the flat frozen spot I spotted a week ago is no longer there (yes grandpa, you were right about the shovel! Well, as always…) and secondly, there's a brutally, but brutally icy wind blowing...

Landscape picture of frozen rocks in the mountains during the blue hour. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 - photographer Michal Stehlik.

However, there should be a shelter on the German side, so we're heading straight there as the temperature drops quite swiftly... and there is a sleeping hut here, hooray... but it's full, oh no hooray… dinner, sauna, wellness... eh, eh… my wife gives me a piercing look, so we quickly head back below the summit and we jump into the tent...


Well, there's a mountain hut, but was closed that day… however, with the rocks of Grosser Osser it provides some protection, so there definitely won't be any wind... definitely not... oh boy…


Quickly setting up the tent, taking a picture of the nutritional sadist loading up Maggi Chicken Paprika for later potential blackmail purposes, and finally get warmed up in sleeping bags as it's starting to blow here more and more. We dismiss memories of our "young" years, since considering how much we are shaking, we don't need any more unnecessary movements outside of the sleeping bags… if you know what I mean…

Landscape photo of a Husky-branded tent on the peak of frozen and snowy mountains during the blue hour. Taken with Sony A7 IV and Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 - photographer Michal Stehlik.

It's eight o'clock, we are totally exhausted, but we smile, and we finally start feeling a little warm. The sleeping bags and the double layer of mats worked great, even though it's -9ºC outside (real -9ºC, but due to the icy wind, it feels more like -100ºC). The only thing we feel (or stop feeling) are the toes... they are facing the "vestibule," where the wind blows through our feet... but we solve this by building barricades from jackets, sweaters, socks, and everything we can get our hands on... problem solved and we slowly drift off...


However, until we are woken up by bags slamming on our heads and tent walls slapping against our buttocks... like these are brutal gusts... and snap again... and again... my wife is starting to get a little scared, wondering if a tree will fall on us... I reassure her that I intentionally chose this spot and that there's no danger, but deep inside, I'm not far from dirtying my pants... that wind was really insane...

Well... in the end, we didn't freeze, and we survived one of the biggest storms of this winter quite unharmed, inside the tent under Grosser Osser summit (apologies to all environmentalists, but nature certainly didn't suffer because of us, and as usual, we took away the mess that was already there - I simply don't understand why people don't clean up after themselves...). I can't say we slept great, as it felt like sleeping on a boat... but in the end, we were quite warm, despite the blizzard and the temperatures far below freezing...


We'll definitely repeat it... just not right away, but when we manage to get some decent sleep after at least a few more years because the brain only remembers the good memories, and we actually really enjoyed it...


In the end, I managed to wade through to retrieve my hiking pole, which almost made Renata burst into laughter, as it took a while to wade through the drifts between spruces... so the trip was survived without any loss, and our relationship is a bit strengthened instead of ending in divorce =)


Take care and until next time!


MS



GEAR:

Camera: Sony A7 IV

Drone: Mavic Air 2s

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