Statistics: 8 miles ascent 3199′ descent 2684′ 7 hours
Another amazing day in the beautiful Dachstein alps awaited us. Leaving our refuge, the Hofpürglhütte, the trail skirted the southern face of the Dachstein. For many miles that morning as we walked along the cliff face, we had a bird’s eye view of this refuge behind us!
Today we scrambled through two large scree fields. And for the second day, we were under the watchful eye of the Bischofsmütze (bishop’s cap), the tallest mountain ridge below. As we were clambering over rocks, gravel, and boulders, we found a hiking pole and picked it up hoping the owner might be ahead of us. An hour later we caught up to a hiker with just one pole on his pack; he did not know that he had dropped it!
As if knowing that we would spend most of our day picking our way over grey limestone, the trail gave us a little break by presenting us with a lovely, green, pastoral scene, complete with grazing horses!
Soon we were greeted with another, very steep switchback trail (similar to yesterday’s) as we approached the Sulzenschneid. Note the cross at the top (our planned lunch and rest-stop) and the zig-zag of the trail on a green area far below.
Whew, we made it and took a well-deserved rest. The panorama gave us that “top of the world” feeling!
After our rest and lunch break, we were prepared to cross the mother of all scree fields in the Windlegerkar cirque.
We continued over the scree field between two mountains to the Tor. At this point, Nature felt huge and I felt so small!
We were now able to see the full southern face of the Dachstein.
Walking through more scree above the treeline, we gained a view of our next refuge, the Südwandhütte, a welcome sight, though barely visible at the base of a distant mountain. We still had quite a way to go before we could relax on the porch and enjoy the view!
Just to get a feeling for the steepness of our last few steps up to the refuge, I was a little puzzled to see that the trail ahead and above me was already occupied by a cow going the same direction.
Soon we were settled into our cozy refuge enjoying the view, recounting the day’s adventures!