I joined the Rauris Alpenverein last October and my hike on Thursday 13th August to the Edelweissspitz and Hirzkarkopf was only my second trip with the club.
I was told by Margot, the club secretary, to be outside the Gemeinde building in the centre of Rauris by 7:00 am where a coach would take us to the start of the walk, approximately one hours drive away in the Grossglockner area.
I could tell this excursion was a popular one as there were over 20 other hikers on the coach when I arrived. It was a multinational group with Austrian, German, Dutch and Belgium hikers. I was the only Brit! However, this was not a problem as I recognised a few friendly faces from my previous trip and they all made me very welcome.
We arrived at the start of our hike about 8:10am and, Georg, our spritely guide led us off on our ascent of the Edelweissspitz at 2,571m. The weather was beautiful with just a few fluffy clouds below us and the views across the Grossglockner and down to Zell am See and beyond were spectacular. I was surprised to find such a diverse age range amongst my fellow hikers Georg had brought along his grandson who I believe was only 6 years old and had boundless energy. The others ranged from their 20s to their 60s. I spoke to most of them during the course of the day in a mixture of German and English and some were local members of the Alpenverein and others were holiday makers who decided to join the trip for the day.
For the first couple of hours we were climbing some fairly steep inclines on barely marked paths with loose stones and rocks under foot and the benefit of having an experienced guide was very much apparent. We did, however, have frequent pit stops along the route to allow for recovery time, as at this altitude I did feel I needed them. I would advise anyone wanting to join future hikes to have decent hiking shoes, poles and a reasonable level of fitness. My bargain 15 poles from the local supermarket became the subject of much ridicule from my fellow hikers, as first the baskets fell off and then they failed to extend, so I was unable to support myself properly on the steep sections.
The second peak was the Hirzkarkopf at 2,548m, where we stopped for our picnic lunch before beginning our long descent into the valley below. Along the way we saw marmots, vultures and beautiful wild flowers and mountain streams.
We also stopped at a mountain hut for an early afternoon beer where the bottles were being cooled in a water trough. I found the descent harder work than the ascent with my leg muscles aching and my feet sore. I was therefore very relieved when we ended our walk at the Palfneralm in the Seidlwinkltal after around 5 hours of hiking and I tucked into a delicious Apfelstrudel and cream before a minibus collected us and we returned to Rauris.
It was memorable and wonderful day and I am already looking forward to my next trip with my new friends from the Rauris Alpenverein.
Fotos von der Wanderung Hirzkar