Hiking in Styria: wild waters and quiet forests


The river is an unpredictable river, and always has to tell you how to do it you just. In the spring and autumn, the foams are often faced with anger. Then she whipped ravines of their water masses due to close. Then she thinks she can move mountains with your strength, and with tears but only a few stones. In summer, the Enns is languishes in your river bed. She whimpers and whines, and because of this listen to in the villages, the inhabitants of the Steiermark their small world, the “Gesäuse”.

it is Rare for a mountain river manages to be the name of the patron Saint of a Region. Usually the man adores the mountains and praise, and sings of their summit. Not so in the realm of the Enns. Plan top, Roßkuppe and haindlkar tower, all more than 2000 meters high, you need to stand back. Here the water indicates the sound.


Untamed: The river winds through the mountains, noise is still heard in the mountains

©Thomas Straub

On many hikes through the Northern limestone Alps, you have this whisper in the ear. The Soundtrack is rarely disturbed, because it is quite alone in his Ways. This has to do mainly with the location of the Gesäuse, which was declared in 2002 to the national Park. Salzburg and its airport, two and a half hours drive are almost removed, to Graz, two hours; in addition, the arrival with train and Bus is complicated. In this Isolation, the Gesäuse only attracts the guests, the love of his resources: the wild water, the silence of the woods, the steep mountain walls.

“, University of mountaineering”

In Austria, the Gesäuse as the “University of the mountain climbing”. At the end of the 19th century. Century, the Viennese have coined this awesome phrase – at the time, the Kronprinz-Rudolf-Bahn from the capital led right into the Gesäuse, in the summer fresh.


climbers Andreas Hollinger know in the demanding terrain from

©Thomas Straub

One of the renowned lecturers of the mountaineer-University Andrew Hollinger. He has opened a dozen routes, and three climbing guides written. Who is with Hollinger, 46, on the way, learns a lot about the beginnings of mountaineering in the Gesäuse – and also learns how wrong some of the heroic Saga, which was written here.

This is an example of the way in the direction of Hochtor, 2369 meters high, Pedestal of dolomite, top of limestone. A way with great and dubious history.

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it starts in John Creek, a farming village at the foot of the Great Ödsteins. A gentle path leads first through the forest, then it becomes increasingly steeper and rockier. No Problem for someone like Hollinger, wiry torso, and spring step. He has enough air to tell the side of Heinrich Hess, which still today is the most important climbers of the Gesäuse and the refuge below the Hochtors is named.

“Hess was smart,” says Hollinger. “He knew what he had to in the terrain. And he knew what he had to in the valley, to tell, to be celebrated.” 11. June 1877, aggravated by Heinrich Hess entered the Peter path, a demanding, dizzying way through the North faces of the hochtor group. So the legend goes. Hess, however, had a local companion at his side. A that was the path many times.

the master of The Peternpfads

Andreas Peter Rodlauer, called the “Black Peter”. A legendary guy that was in the main occupation layer of the master in the mine, in addition to professional poachers in the Enns valley. How often is the farmers saw a sinister guy with a chamois on the back of the Haindlkar run, the face with Kohlenruß blackened – and just a few hours later, he walked through the John brook valley, on the other side of the mountain chain. A great puzzle that was were the hochtor walls as insurmountable.


hikers had found on the Heßhütte for a hearty meal.

©Thomas Straub

But the Black Peter, a guide to the young mountain climber Heinrich Hess, a secret passage. A steep gully, narrow and constantly of rockfall threatened.

The pioneering work of Rodlauer is now almost forgotten. As a master of the Peternpfads Henry Hess, the owner of a fittings factory in Vienna. Hess word knew rich from his tours to tell, and wrote as Co-author the eight-volume work “The high-tourist in the Eastern Alps.” Peter’s path is still a delicate climbing exercise. He is not backed up, you need some experience and a safe passage to get safely through the high goal.

Flora and Fauna are unique in the Gesäuse

Many climbers on the Heßhütte a rest before you venture out on Peter’s path or to the top of the Hochtors. In the weatherboard house at 1699 metres, Reinhard rich felser reigns for 29 years. The host of the refuge appreciates the kitchen, betrays his portly belly. And if rich felser wants to take a drinks order, he asks only: “How much beer should I bring you?”


Popular location with 4,000 overnight Stays per year: the Heßhütte

©Thomas Straub

The Heßhütte is popular. Up to 4000 overnight guests houses rich felser per season. Most of the guests are purists mountain. On the terrace you can see them in faded shorts and sun-bleached T-Shirts to sit; no one here wants to Shine in the latest in Outdoor fashion. Over the railing a couple of hanging by sweaty shirts to Dry.

There is no comfortable way to climb up on the Heßhütte – the Gesäuse makes it to his guests is not easy. You must develop each meter in height. There are no cable cars and a few passable economic way; here in the national Park, the nature is protected from the axe of the people.

Flora and Fauna are unique in the Gesäuse, Andreas Hollinger likes to tell. “During the last ice age, the Gesäuse was a nearly ice-free Zone, in contrast to the Rest of the Alps,” says Hollinger. “Numerous species were able to survive here.”


obstacle course: In the Gesäuse to past walkers, sometimes huge boulders.

©Thomas Straub

To the endemic species, the local characteristics, is one about the Petite feather Elke. You can find the flower with its pink blossoms in the spring, often on the roadside. Who threatens to be overlooked, of can also of his nose. The spring Elke exudes a scent reminiscent of honey.

On the way back to the John’s brook valley is still being felt once, what a seductive charm has the Gesäuse. Because of the lovely Flora, and framed by steep, sometimes menacing Rock life. In John Bach, below from wolf Bauer, stands a white Church, the reminder of these dangers: in Front of the Church a mountain stretches dough cemetery, the largest in Austria. More than 60 Dead are buried here.

However, the Gesäuse, the University of mountaineering, is not a safe place, if you overestimate his own abilities. There are plenty of trails that lead hikers well-protected through the site: eye-to-eye with the boldly towering rock giants, and in the ear is always the Gesäuse / Enns.

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