Journey through the Alps

 

There are many marked footpaths in Eastern Austria. These include local paths as well as designated long distance trails. Any attempt to travel on foot (or ski) across this region will undoubtedly use these trails.

I based my route on the Panico ‘Super-Haute-Route’ book and it quickly became obvious that the authors had relied on the Austrian long distance trail network to plan their route.

From the valley of Rottenmann / Trieben this takes the most obvious line. It travels between the steep limestone peaks of the Ennstaler Alpen and Eisenerzer Alpen and then crosses the five limestone massifs that can be accessed by ski: Hochschwab (2277m), Veitschalpe (1981m), Schneealpe (1903m), Raxalpe (2007m), and Schneeberg (2076m).

The final section through the Vienna woods (Weinerwald) keeps to the high ground wherever possible. In a good snow year it should be possible to reach the outskirts of Vienna by ski, while travelling through some scenic landscapes.

The only part of this route that could perhaps be changed is the final 2 days of the 2017 route (A27 and A28) plus the first three days of the 2018 route (A29, A30 and A31). The route that I followed bypassed the easternmost section of the Niedre Tauern (the Schladminger Tauern) by travelling further north. There are popular summer hiking trails in the Schladminger Tauern that can be followed W-E or E-W, and there are several huts (closed in winter). These are not obvious ski mountains and it may not be possible to find a viable ski route that links Obertauern to Trieben. If it were possible to make a ski route this would remove the need for the only two full days of road walking in the ski crossing of Austria (A28 and A31), although this would probably extend the duration of the Austrian journey by several days.

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David Hamilton
High Adventure
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