Mighty & imposing: The Großglockner in Kals, East Tyrol. All year round, summer and winter, mountaineers from all over the world set themselves the goal of climbing Austria's highest mountain. Spring, however, offers the ideal conditions to climb the peak via the normal route. Manuela Mandl, member of our #zanierfamily, set out last year in April together with Martin Glantschnig & Christian Riepler from Berg im Bild and Elisabeth Fürstaller from the Großglockner mountain guides. Here on our blog she tells us personally about her experience:
Manu's dream of the Glockner
“Three years ago in the summer, I stood on Franz-Josefs-Höhe for the first time with my grandmother, who was almost 80 years old at the time, and stared up to Adlersruhe and further towards the summit. Our hair blew in the cold wind, the ice and the glacier could be smelled. There it enthroned, the highest mountain in Austria. This impressive rock. The steep Palaviccini gully. My grandma, who recited every detail of the way up, although she herself had never been to the summit. Suddenly a suppressed fact popped into my head: I've never been up there! It just hadn't happened until then. There are things that you always wanted to do and that you also know are absolutely feasible, but where the respect is great. The Großglockner, however, was one of my unfulfilled goals that I absolutely wanted to achieve, if only because of its legendary reputation and its glorious history.
When the opportunity arose to go up with a team equipped by Zanier, namely the great mountain guide "Lizzie" Fürstaller and the mountain guides of the media production "Berg im Bild" Martin & Christian, and "incidentally" make a few shots for Zanier, I was very excited. Zanier equips the Großglockner mountain guides with mountaineering gloves and as a sustainable, regional company also does product stories and shootings.
Step 1: From Lucknerhaus to Stüdelhütte
The day before, after my arrival by public transport, Martin and I had climbed from the parking lot to the Stüdelhütte. I was now completely in tourist mode: excited by the view, by the construction of the Stüdelhütte and by the Stüdel statue in front of it. Then immediately even more enthusiastic about the salad buffet at 2,801 m altitude. A little later Chris and Lizzie arrived at the Stüdelhütte. During dinner, stories were told and the schedule for the next day was set. Media production takes time, so the set departure time of 03:00 was only reasonable - after all, we wanted to catch the sunrise, which, however, due to the orientation of the climb, would only be visible a few hundred meters higher up. Nevertheless, the dessert then slipped down not quite so loose. But a schnapps is always good…
Step 2: From the Stüdelhütte to the Adlersruhe
Somewhat sleepy we came as the very first group of the hut to the nicely prepared breakfast, and above all filled up all thermoses, because in front of the hut it had -12 degrees and a stiff breeze (although it was already the end of April). The hard-frozen snow crunches under the hob irons, in the cone of the headlamp I see the steam of the air we breathe. We go along, traversing forever, and I have no idea where we are. Again and again we have to avoid rocks because of the little snow and rope up when we finally reach the glacier. Now it goes first a bit more leisurely along, before it becomes steeper again and we work our way up with hairpin bends to the ridge entrance in the direction of Adlersruhe. The skis and splitboard are stowed on the backpacks, the crampons are put on, from the warm gloves is changed to the technical Mymountainpassion gloves, while slowly the dusk comes.
After all, I always have much more fun climbing on ridges than simply "just" walking up, and thanks to the rope insurance, the walking is also well manageable. Further and further up, more and more light and visibility. Suddenly it is in front of us, the Adlersruhe, unserviced at this time of year, and the sun comes just golden over the horizon. An impressive sea of mountains as far as the eye can see. Below, you can see the Franz-Josefs-Höhe, where you can also see the permanent exhibition "Berg, die - Frauen im Aufstieg", which pays tribute to the pioneering achievements of female alpinists. All the more beautiful that I get to be up here with one of the few mountain guides in Austria.
After the short break and many photos produced because of the wonderful light it gets very cold in the wind. Once again, I realize what a flat country child I am. The very warm "Glockner" gloves I didn't have with me, although I should have understood that with the name of course. But it was already so warm down in the valley. Luckily everyone else thought along better, and so I find a second pair of slightly larger gloves to put on for me.
Step 3: Adlersruhe – Glockner-Leitl - Kleinglockner
We continue with the touring skis through the biting wind over the shoulder in the direction of Glockner-Leitl, where we unfortunately have to leave our skis behind at the entrance because of the snow situation. But we finally have use for our picks. After the steep Glockner-Leitl we continue roped up and with safety pins to the saddle between Kleinglockner and Großglockner. At the Kleinglockner with a view of the climb, I'm then very glad that Lizzy knows every step, because that looks pretty impressive at first - even if everything is then only half as bad during the actual climb. At the same time, it was also a completely new experience for me to be able to simply hand over the responsibility, because all the companions are much more highly qualified and know the Glockner like the back of their hand. Lizzie is also often up there in the summer, so I was quite relaxed and could concentrate on it.
The view into the Pallavicini gully is very snowless - hardly imaginable that in some years a descent was possible here. Also, the crevasses and break-offs at the bottom of the glacier make me a little sad.
At the highest point in Austria.
Further and further up the rope, always securing around the stayer, with photo and film breaks in between, the final ascent of the normal route flies by. Suddenly we are up there, at the highest point of the country, with the iconic cross and endless views. The jackdaws were already waiting for us and were clearly happy to see us.
And only now, up there, I take the time in my head and think about the long way we came here. Lizzie, who used to snowboard, who was one of the few women to take the mountain guide training. Naturally, because it felt right for her. In the meantime, the full-time mountain guide has moved her center of life from Kaprun to the foot of the Glockner, where she lives with her children and partner. And I, who knows the high alpine ascent first and foremost from books that I secretly read with the flashlight under the blanket in the Viennese children's room late at night instead of dutifully sleeping ;-) Without ever finding a good explanation why it pulls me up so much now as an adult. Why I get very uncomfortable when I'm on the flat for too long. Normally the focus for me is quite clearly on the descent and less on the summits. On the Glockner it was a bit different. Sure, the descent was nice, but the summit was nicer."
Pictures: Berg im Bild