Schneealpe 10.7.2010

For the recent few weeks, I had the idea to revisit Schneealpe after about 40 years. The time of the garden barbecues has ceased a bit, so I can take a day off for an extended mountain walk. Herwig Gießwein accompanied me for this stunning, but extremely exhausting tour. We have an early start at 5:53 a.m. from Hinternasswald (711 m) and first ascend in western direction to Kreuzsattel and Ameiswiese (1330 m). From there we descend into the dale of the "Cold Muerz", to begin our reascent turning left near the hunting lodge of Edelbacher (about 970 m), then ascending through the lovely dale of the Kleinboden beckwith its wonderful head named Melkboden, further ascending on Windberg, with 1903 m the highest summit of the Schneealpe massive. After half an hour´s break, we cross tghe Schneealpe plateau, without entering the homonymeous hut, till Ameisbuehelalm, where we have another 20 minutes´ break. Then followed the exhausting descent via Karlboendle and Gamskogel back to Hinternasswald, where we arrived at 5:21 p.m, after 11 1/2 hours. It was a cloudless, hot midsummer day with up to 33°C in Winzendorf, but at our start it had a comfortable 9 °C, with about 20 °C on the summit and "only" 26 °C when we were back in Hinternasswald.

We meet at 5:20 a.m. in Gloggnitz, to continue the drive with only one car. View from the parking ground at the open air bath to  ...

 ... Wartenstein castle.

Hinternasswald. Still parts of the dale in shadow, ...

 ... with sun only further up.

Most time we are walking in shadow still.

View to the ridge that leads down to Kreuzsattel from Ameisbuehel.

 ... and once more. The sunny areas are approaching.

Out into the sun. Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), which we have seen earlier when walking in the shadow.

Big-flowered foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora)

Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)

View back so we are that high already? Rax in the background.

Ameisbichl (1.828 m), comprising the northeastern end of the Schneealpe plateau. We shall walk down the ridge to its left in the afternoon.

Clusius - Gemswurz (Doronicum clusii subsp. clusii)

Common spotted orchid (dactylorhiza fuchsii)

Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris)

Valerian (Valeriana sp., I think V. officinalis or V. montana)

Spiked rampion (Phyteuma spicatum)         and                                         Alpine lattuce (Cicerbita alpina)

Ameiswiese ("Aunt meadow"), a wet grassland with ...

Cotton grass (Eriophorum latifolium), ...

 ... Common bistort (Polygonum bistorta) ...

 ... Mountain ragwort (Senecio subalpinus) ...

Canada Hawkweed (Hieracium umbellatum) in a large group

Cotton grass

Mountain ragwort (Senecio subalpinus) ...

 ...with a  Hoverfly (Syrphida) as a visitor ... approaching...                        ... and monitoring the situation.

Grauer Alpendost (Adenostyles alliariae)

Globe flowered orchid (Traunsteinera globosa)

An umbellifera, I would suggest it to be Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris).

We now are alking down into the dale of the "Cold Muerz". A view to the left reveals Donnerwand (1.799 m) - the valley in front depicts our further route.

Still descending however, ...

 ... till we can see into the valley. In the background Glaskogel (1.746 m).

Finally arrived in the valley, near the hunting lodge of Edelbacher. Storms and heavy showers have done much harm to this landscape redently

Now we start up into the side valley; Goat´s beard (Aruncus dioicus) near the path - thanks to Robert Hansmann for identification.

A rare situation in limestone mountains: a flowing beck even a bit higher up.

Click here to see the video

The stream bed  frequently changes its appearance.

Spiked rampion (Phyteuma spicatum) and Round headed rampion (Phyteuma orbiculare)

Turk´s cap lily (Lilium martagon)

 ... and with a hoverfly (Syrphida) as a visitor

Romantic valley

Mountain Cornflower (Centaurea montana, Cyanus montanus) inside the forest.

A hawksbeard, I suppose it to be Rough hawksbeard (Crepis biennis)

Once more Mountain ragwort (Senecio subalpinus)

Escarpments of the Donnerwand are towering up to the right..

View up the valley. The head is behind a curve to the left.

Short spurred fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia odoratissima)

Rock walls also to the left

A rare event in limestone regions, usually only seen in crystalline rock areas: a small beck flowing down the slope.

Milchweisser Mannsschild (Androsace lactea)

Once more we are crossing the beck, thus collecting much more ascents and descents than calculated.

Picturesque flower grassland - we are approaching the head of the valley.   The larches ae still light green after that wet-cold spring weather this year.

Donnerwand ...                                                                                        ... and Glaskogel

Up here lots of globe flowers

and "Alpine thrift" - Alpen - Grasnelken (Armeria alpina) - we are approaching the vegetation of the Schneealpe plateau.

At the Melkboden, the head of our valley. 270 degrees panoramic picture - click here or into the picture for a larger version

Globe flowers in front of Donnerwand

Globe flowers (Trollius europaeus)

False helleborine (Veratrum album)

To the left of us is Mitterbergschneid (1.863 m)

Donnerwand behind Melkboden. Now begins the last, ...

 ... steep ascent to the Schneealpe plateau.

Common rockrose (Helianthemum grandiflorum) unterwegs

The view is widening, giving room to see Oetscher (1.893 m) in the background to the left. Right behind Donnerwand is Goeller (1766 m).

Common Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. alpestris)

Spring gentian (Gentiana verna) in large amounts.

At least: the Schneealpe plateau, a large, flat, hilly area situated between 1.700 and 1.900 m.

Oetscher, with Gemeindealpe to its left, showing ski slopes.

"Alpine thrift" (Armeria alpina), in huge amounts on the plateau.

Alpine Forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris)

Colorful grassland on the last short ascent to ...

 ... Windberg (1.903 m) - after 6 hours of 1.550 m ascent, 400 m descent and countless short photo breaks, at last the goal is reached.

360° - panorama from Windberg summit - click here or into the picture for a larger version.

Western part of the panorama - click here or into the picture for a larger version.

Hochschwab massive

Flower meadows on the smooth slope to northwest - Oetscher in the background.

Verticillate Lousewort (Pedicularis verticillata)

Alpen - Suessklee (Hedysarum hedysaroides)

Clusius - Gemswurz (Doronicum clusii subsp. clusii)

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala)

Flowers everywhere

View from Windberg over the Schneealpe plateau to the lodge of Schneealpenhaus (in the distance, on the hill) and Michlbauerhuette (the many barns and buildings in the foreground). On the horizon behind is Stuhleck with its skiing slopes.

Small-white orchid (Pseudorchis albida)

Alpine pink (Dianthus alpinus)

Frog orchid (Coeloglossum viride).

We now walk for about an hour across the Schneealpe plateau. View into the Dirtler gorge. In the background is Gippel (1669 m), from this side only seen a forested ridge.

Windberg over the Schneealpe plateau. Several areas are yellow from the distance - caused by thousands of Alpine vetch (see above).

Some locals on the way to Ameisbuehelalm (Lurgbauerhuette).

Hurry up to the well! In the background is Schneealpenhaus.

View into the Reichenschall gorge.

View over the Schneealpe plateau, far behind is Windberg. Only five minutes to the Lurgbauer hut.

Reichenschall gorge, with Goeller in the background.

After half an hour´s rest with eating and drinking we continue with the descent. View to Schneeberg ...

 ... and to its western "satellite" Kuhschneeberg ("Cow" - Schneeberg).

Clusius gentian (Gentiana clusii)

The highest summit of Rax, Heukuppe (2007 m) ...

 ... and with all the rest of the Rax massive.

Turk´s cap lily (Lilium martagon), with Rax and Heukuppe (2.007 m) behind.

The steep descent from Ameisbuehel begins


Großer Strahlensame ("Alpen Leimkraut", Heliosperma alpestre)

In the extreme flat light inside the forest the large leaves of Grauer Alpendost (Adenostyles alliariae)

Mountain ragwort (Senecio subalpinus) near Karl - Alm

Back in Hinternasswald - a last view through Reißtal gorge to Gamseck (1.857 m), which is close to Heukuppe.