The Oetz River

By Jurgen Nickles

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The river Oetz is a glacier fed river with many different sections. Depending on the water level, you will find some big water sections in the summer months and steep-creek style boating in autumn and winter. The Wellerbruecke section is typical low water run on the Oetz, and it's difficulty increases dramatically with the water level.

A boater tackles the huge drops on the Oetz.

At low water, as shown in the pictures, it is a pool and drop style river. At higher flows only a few experts, (not me), meet the challange. Many of the big boulders have large undercuts and scouting is mandatory. The section is pretty short but continuous. The put in is at the road bridge in Habichen, below the "Achstuerze". After a few meters warmup the gradient increases and the Oetz starts rumbling down. The main part is reached right before a small footbridge - the "Wellerbruecke". Over a slab you jump 3 meters down and continue into a slot. Wheeeha!

After that, you find a few more cataracts and falls and pretty soon you reach the take out at a wooden bridge with car park in Oetz village. From there starts a footpath along the river to the Wellerbruecke, so scouting is very easy.

The pictures show the Oetz at low water on a cold November weekend. Paddlers are Tom Baudisch (Y), Martin Hoffmann (Blunt) and Juergen Nickles (Topo). The photos were taken by Martin Bauer and Peppi Leinhard.

Here are some more good pictures of Jurgen, this time in Costa Rica.