Schneeberg 28.5.2010

Roger and Ann Hiley from the English Lake-District are here for a visit, following my invitation. The weather is rather wet and it is raining every day. You could say, they have brought English weather over here, but in their home Cumbria (Northwest of England), it has not been raining for the last weeks. However, they are used to wet weather and don´t mind. So it occured, that we chose a tour on Schneeberg with the rack railway combined with a gentle walk to the summit Klosterwappen and the Fischer hut for the only day with a bit better forcast, although the summit is wrapped in clouds and I had the opinion that it was not an optimal day for such a high summit. However, what we could not see from afar, was, that the clouds are not everywhere ...

Roger and Ann in the Schneebergbahn; still the train is standing in the station as yet.

First the trip goes through grassland, now even more green than in other years.

The stop at Baumgartner, where there has to be a short halt to enable the people to buy the traditional "Buchteln". Because of excessive reservations by the members of a vintage car meeting, there are two trains at 10 a.m., both finding room here.

Arrived at the summit plateau of Schneeberg, we are welcomed by fog. However, after walking short way around Waxriegel, there is free view to the summit ...

 ... with the radar station on Klosterwappen (2.076 m), he highest summit of Nether Austria ...

 ... and Fischerhuette on the Kaiserstein (2.061 m), the second (northeastern) summit of Schneeberg.

Having lewft the hollow of the small Schneeberg plateau, we have a free view to the south to Semmering with its skiing slopes on Hirschenkogel

The summit much closer now, and the sun has come out.

Fischerhuette is closer too.

Panoramic view over the Schneeberg plateau. Even now you can see the persistent clouds over the northeastern escarpments to the left - Breite Ries Those seem to be the clouds that we have seen from afar. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.

More and more I have to admit: Despite the many clouds it is a marvellous day!

Come on, we´ve nearly finished yet!

Clouds all over, ...

 ... so that you sometimes cannot see the valley (here it is Hoellental).

Rax is well visible though.

Done! Roger and Ann under the summit cross of Klosterwappen.

Roger has discovered a displaced lightning conducter and tries to fix it.

The highest dancer in Nether Austria.

Still clouds, ever changing.

They only rarely reach us.

View to the south.

Now we continue to ...

 ... Fischerhuette

Clouds over the Schneeberg plateau ...

 ... behind Klosterwappen ...

 ... and over Kuhschneeberg (another smaller plateau attached to Schneeberg to the west, being much deeper, thus not visible).

Up here, there seems to be a constant window of clouds making up for nearly continuous sunshine.

The extremely sparse vegetation with only a few violets but thousands of pink dwarf primroses (Primula minima), a bit distorted by last week´s new snow.

Sun protection is needed!

The clouds are pertinaceously keeping at the rocky northeastern escarpments of Schneeberg, whereas ...

 ... the Plateau stays free.

At the edge of the escarpments at Kaiserstein the fog scenery looks like ...

 ... the picture of a smoking volcano.

View to Klosterwappen.

Fischerhuette, first small parts of it built up in 1885 when there was no rack railway!

Fog is constantly hanging over the northeastern rocky escarpments.

View to Klosterwappen.

Changing clouds.

Fischerhuette and Klosterwappen, as seen from Kaiserstein.

It seems, that  Thermals rising up over the plateau, despite high humidity, do not permit cloud forming due to higher temperatures, whereas air descending down over the escarpments soon leads to temperature fall and, consequently, condensation of water to form the couds. This seems to be a stable process at the moment.

We now descend from the summit, crossing the big snow cornice.

The clouds are towering, and the first thunderstorms seem to be inevitable.

Still however the flora is admired and pictures are taken.

One of the rare views down - this time to Pfenningbach, with Hohe Wand behind.

Auricula (Primula auricula)

Alpine crowfoot

Alpine snowbell, as always near a patch of snow These are the first flowers after the snow has molten.

Cowslips (Primula veris), even up here..

We arrive at 3:30 p.m. at the beautiful new summit station of the Schneebergbahn, and 5 minutes afterwards it starts to rain - no problem for us, because we call in for a cuppa at the Schneeberg hotel attached to the station to wait for the departure of our train 1 hour later. On our drive home to Winzendorf, we experienced a thunderstorm with heavy rain and lots of water on the roads.

Click here to see Roger´s pictures of the day