The Adlersruhe Huette, 3434 meters on the final ridge to the summit of the Grossglockner!
Grossglockner 3,798 meters!
A September 13/14, 2001 Trip Report. Will we get some good weather?
|We could see
the summit of the Grossglockner, 3798 meters, from the trailhead at the Lucknerhaus above
the little village of Kals. There were many cars at the trailhead and even a couple busses
full of seniors out for a hike through the beautiful green alm to one of the Huettes for
the day. Doerte and I were anxious to get on the mountain since the weather had finally
The trail wastes no time in ascending the huge green alpine valley to the Lucknerhuette. It was a challenge staying ahead of the fastest seniors. They were not just out for a stroll, but a four- hour, 1000-meter hike up to the Huette for soup, beer, and cheer. I hope I can be in as good a shape when I am in that group.
By noon we reached the new Stuedlhuette located on the ridge between two valleys, at 2801 meters. The views up to the Glaciers, the view way down to the lush valleys, and the sound of rushing water was almost too much for the senses to handle. Doerte and I never tired of the views. We rested for our summit attempt in the morning. The clouds increased as the day wore on.
Climbers began to return to the Huette. As many as thirty climbers attempted the summit and all but the late starters made it. At the summit visibility was very limited and the winds were high. The climbers reported the route in good shape.
The "Ordinary Route" (eastern ascent) to the summit involves a crossing of the Kodnitzkees Glacier, and some fifth class rock to get to the Adlersruhe Huette, 3434 meters. From there it is another two hours across the Glocknerleitl Glacier to the Kleinglockner, 3783 meters, then down and over to the Gross Glockner, 3793 meters, the highest mountain in Austria.
The Grossglockner compares in scope and difficulty to Mount Rainier. High elevation, glacial travel, and some technical rock thrown in to the mix. One famous route, the Pallavicinirinne, goes straight up the mountain at 55 degrees. There are over routes that lead to the summit of the Grossglockner.
The Grossglockner summit was first reached on July 28, 1800 by the brothers Klotz, and some carpenters which were part of an expedition of 62 people who left from Heiligenblut. The expedition included the Brothers Klotz as leaders, as well as a priest, porters, carpenters, botanists, and students.
As usual we had the mountain climbers dinner, Bergsteigeressen. This is only offered to members of the Austrian Alpine Club. Doerte and I are members, United Kingdom branch. We met six climbers who had just summited. They made many toasts with liter beers, had rounds of shots, and sang many songs as pretty as any barbershop quartet. They were all from the city of Wolfsburg, former employees of Volkswagen, and all about 70 years of age. Certainly the badest climbers on the mountain! In the meantime the twenty somethings were fast asleep in their chairs.
Doerte and I arranged to have our Teewasser at 7 am so we could get an early start up to the Adlersruhe Huette. The sun did not rise, but it gradually got light. The visibility was almost zero. No one else was going up the mountain, only down!
We put on our winter gear, and started up the faint route to the glacier. At the glacier we roped up and continued through the whiteout and new snow toward the Adlersruhe Huette. I could hardly see Doerte 15 meters ahead at the end of the rope! There was a foot of new snow, but we could still make out the route. Wands would have been a nice touch.
Halfway across the glacier and an hour below the Adlersruhe Huette we decided to turn around. The conditions were only getting worse. There were no other parties on the glacier!
Back at the Stuedlhuette employees were glad we abandoned our summit attempt. There was no else at the Huette. Doerte and I were a day late. We hiked back down through the snow and rain to the car. The trailhead was deserted. Evidently, most people wit until a weather window appears. This is what we have always done on Mount Rainier for example.
Still, the Gross Glockner is a stunning, big mountain, offering incredible views from all high routes. There are many mountains in the area over 3,000 meters. Sonnenwelleck, 3,261m, Johannisberg, 3,460m, and Fuscherkarkopf, 3,331m, and others would all be fantastic, worthy destinations in the Austrian Alps.
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