Sarstein - crossing 13.6.2015

A very hot day is forcast, with thunderstorms in the afternoon. Crossing the Sarstein will take at minimum 8 hours walking only. So, I opt for a very early start at 5 a.m., directly from the hotel Wasnerin.

It is light already, but ...

... even Dachstein is still not in sunshine.

I walk along the plateau where our hotel is situated. This is the view to lake Grundl (hidden behind the houses) and Totes Gebirge. Trisselwand (1.754 m) to the left with the cone shaped Tressenstein (1.201 m) in front.

This is "the" mountain: Kleiner Sarstein (1.877 m) and Schwarzkogel (1.800 m), both I won´t climb. My route leads up into the indentation between the two.

Half way up, the terrain is very steep now. Lake Grundl in the background.

View to Sandling (1.717 m) to the left and Loser (1.837 m) and Hochanger (1.838 m) to the right. There is a toll road to the mountain pasture and the skiing ground up there.

Residual snow.

Dwarf - Alpine roses (Rhodothamnus chamaecistus) flowrishing besides the path.

Climbing up the high valley ...

View back Grundlsee. Globeflowers (Trollius europaeus) in the foreground.

Lake Grundl and Totes Gebirge.

Spring gentian (Gentiana verna)

Sarstein - Alm.

View down to Bad Goisern. To the left, the outflow of Lake Hallstatt.

Sarsteinalm. Far left on the horizon is the Schafberg, which we saw on our drive yesterday.

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) is growing like big pads.

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Beneath a rock a common European viper in its black variant, hissing threateningly when I approach its resting place.

Clusius gentian (Gentiana clusii)

Clusius gentian (Gentiana clusii) and Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Clusius gentian (Gentiana clusii) and Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Shortly beneath the summit I get my first view to the Dachstein massive, which is rather close to this place.

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Moss campion (Silene acaulis) is growing here in big pads.

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Moss campion (Silene acaulis)

Moss campion (Silene acaulis)

Moss campion (Silene acaulis)

Clusius gentian (Gentiana clusii)

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

From the summit a wonderful view to Bad Aussee and lake Grundl. Regrettably, there is a diffuse, high cloud layer, and the gray dust is caused by Saharan Air Layer drawing up to central Europe at the moment.

360 degree panoramic picture from the very summit of Sarstein (1.975 m), a bit offside the summit cross at the edge of the small summit plateau. Click here or into the picture for a larger display

I have found an annotated Panorama taken from the summit of the nearby Ausseer Zinken. Another annotated panorama can be found at

Zoomng in on the Dachstein (2.995 m) with the Hallstätter Glacier.

Our hotel Wasnerin can be seen well from the summit - it is the building with the two semi-circular parts with the pool in the centre.

Grundlsee and Totes Gebirge. Behind the Gößlwand at the head of the lake a small bit of the lake Toplitz can be seen.

Zooming in to the summit cross. I only met a few people today ...

 ... one of which agreed to make this picture with my camera.

The Gosau ridge with the Bischofsmütze ("bishop´s hat", 2.458 m) far left.

Sarstein and the Dachstein massive.

Residual snow cornice on the summit ridge. Far right on the horizon is the Grimming (2.351 m) in front of the Enns valley. Far left on the horizon is the Traunstein (1.691 m), which I climbed in 2009.

Alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris).

A flock of sheep near the summit.

I talk to them, and a few are rather trusting.

This one lets me fondle it and is so trusting, that it is following me. To prevent separating it from the flock, I have to shove it back and persuade it to better stay up here.

Now walking along the Sarstein ridge.

Now and then I get a view down to the Lake Hallstatt. The valley behind leads up to the village of Gosau. Near the exit of the valley, the so called "Gosauzwang", is a narrow bridge crossing the valley, carrying the pipeline for the liquid brine from the Hallstatt salt quarry to Ebensee in a distance of 34 m (built in between 1595 and 1607). Originally, the pipline was built down the valley and up again, as a culvert. But, the wooden pipes couldn´t be tightened properly, so, in 1757, it was decided to build a bridge for the pipeline.


View back to the Sarstein summit.

More and more Alpine dwarf pines make up for the landscape of the Sarstein ridge.

Plassen (1.953 m) in the foreground, to the left behind are the snow covered mountains of the Hohe Tauern, more than 3.000 m high.

Boggy area on the Sarstein ridge, which is rather flat in places.

Breathtaking sights down in between. Eislochkogel (1.830 m) and Ausseer Zinken (1.854 m) in front, as the Northeastern-most part of the Dachstein massive.

Lake Grundl and Totes Gebirge.

The end of the ridge. Now for the descent to Obertraun. Wonderful large dots of heart-leaved globe daisy (Globularia cordifolia)

This is the end of the ridge. Behind is the deep valley of the Koppentraun with the head of the Lake Hallstatt. Here you go down 1.200 m. A strenuous descent.

Before, however, ...

 ... a prolonged rest ...

 ... at the tiny Sarstein hut, which is open to the public on this Saturday. Sausages and two drinks are very much appreciated.

This is the wonderful view to the Dachstein from the table in front of the hut.

The dairyman leeds me a short unmarked path to an even better view point, where you not only see the Dachstein, but also Hallstatt ...

 ... and nearly the whole lake Hallstatt. Click here or into the picture for a larger display.

Having started the strenuous 1.100 m - descent down the sunny and hot slope to Obertraun.

First clouds are towering over the Dachstein.

Lake Hallstatt and Plassen (1.953 m).

Lake Hallstatt, with Bad Goisern in the background.

Lakew Hallstatt, Bad Goisern in the background. Bad Ischl in the distance.

It has rained for a short while, which was appreciated for cooling down a bit. At last out of the forest and Obertran in sight, after 9 1/2 hours.
As the next train to Bad Aussee will go in approximately an hour, I call for a Taxi, which brings me to the railway station of Bad Aussee as being a walker´s bus (together with three more guests) and afterwards switches to be a taxi driving only me up to the hotel.

14.6.2015: After having checked out of our hotel at noon, we drive up the short wy to an idyllic small lake which I saw only bypassing on my walk in the morning: Lake Sommersberg, a small peaty lake above Bad Aussee.

People swimming despite the overcast sky. Panoramic picture of lake Sommersberg, taken from the bathers´ nosepiece. Click here or into the picture for a larger display.

Sarstein with the beginning of yesterday´s route.

Lily pads

Wet grassland besides the lake.