What's New On This Page?
> Aug 1st, 2016 - North route added.
> Nov 24th, 2010 - Main routes more in detail described.
> Mar 21st, 2010 - Images attached and embedded.
> Dec 20th, 2004 - Gailtal Alps GROUP page linked.
> Dec 15th, 2004 - Annotations of SP-ers included.
> Dec 14th, 2004 - Initial setup of the page.
And, regarding the name, one more point is worth to mention. The mountain is also called 'Villacher Alpe', so, Alps above Villach town. The broad upper area is also a pasture a big alpine meadow, that's where the origin of this name is. You will find Villacher Alpe also on many road signs.
On Dobratsch 'modern times' began in 1961, when the road up was made. In 1971 followed equipments for transmitting radio and TV program across the whole Carintia. A 165 m high tower is standing just below the summit. Dobratsch is also an important place for weather observing. Measurements have started already in 1876 - on the web you can find data under 'Villacher Alm'.
On the very summit two small churches stand - the German and Slovenian one.
On the east, Dobratsch rises up directly from Villach (58000 inhabitants), where Gail/Zilja river flows into Drau/Drava. Eastern slopes are rising steadily, here the mountain is broad and above the forest boundary also plateau-like. The most impressive side is the southern one, where the whole massif is falling with steep rocky walls and gravel slopes towards Gail/Zilja river. In 1348 a big part of this slope went down into the valley as a big landslide, causing a major catastrophy. The northern border is a valley where Bad Bleiberg stands. In past this was a mining resort (lead and zinc), now the valley is living more of tourism - also mine caves are prepared for a massive tourism. One of the two creeks, sourcing near Bad Bleiberg, is flowing towards west and around the Dobratsch massif, so forming its western border. Northern slopes of the massif are covered with forests and are on the western part steep and also rocky. Similar is also the western side of massif.
The first reason why to ascend Dobratsch, would probably be to enjoy the broad panorama. In any time of the season. Although lying behind Carnic Alps and Karavanke, the wild Julian Alps are from nowhere seen so completely and clearly. Karavanke range can be seen entirely, far on the east also the higher Kamnik Alps peek out of them. Towards east also the broad Drava valley is impressive, especially in a clear day, when we can admire nice blue lakes in its surroundings. Far in distance there are Lavanttal Alps and towards NE the whole hilly Gurktal Group. Across the Drau valley especially Nockberge are clearly seen. Between Lavanttal Alps and Gurktal Alps the Eisenerz Group is seen and some summits of Niedere Tauern. Towards north the whole horizon is boiling. High, sharp peaks of Hohe Tauern are clearly distinguished. Behind Katschberg Pass we see first the Radstaedter Tauern (belonging to Niedere Tauern), then The Ankogel Group with the princess Hochalmspitze, then Goldberg Group and finally the highest peaks around Grossglkockner. Fascinating is also the view towards west. First our view follows the long range of Gailtal Alps. Nice are the fist high mountains above Weissensee, then Reisskofel and in distance Lienz Dolomites. The valley of Gail/Zilja is seen far towards west, until it is squeezed by Lienz Dolomites and Carnic Alps. Also the main crest of Carnic Alps is seen almost till its western end and all the main summits can be distinguished.
What To Do Up There?In the first place Dobratsch is a hiking mountain. You can do hikes from 500 m to 1600 m of altitude difference. From the easiest, with hands in pockets, to steep and also exposed paths.
A suitable crag for climbing is found above the Hunters path, below the summit of Zehnernock, not far away from the upper parking place. The crag is south oriented.
In summer and autumn, mountain biking is also a nice option. To do a tour from Villach to the summit, means 1600 m of a hill upwards and the same difference down.
In winter and spring skiing is very fine on Dobratsch. From west of Heiligengeist to the altitude of some 1550 m there was once an ordinary ski resort (but because of water sources protection, all ski lifts were uninstalled and today there's only a natural parc), the whole this slope and the rest to the summit is very fine for tour skiing. Easy and long. More direct skiing towards Bad Bleiberg is much steeper and harder. It can be done only in good conditions.
On Rosstratte, where the upper parking place is, over the summit plateau nice cross country ski tracks are usually prepared. With cross coutry skis you can extend the run also to the very summit of Dobratsch (by the road).
When weather is for a longer time cold and stable the upper 600 m of the ordinary path is prepared also to be used with sledges. Very joyful for the youngest!
And what to do below? It's worth mentioning the wide known spa (already ancient Romans used hot water sources). Today, mountain sources are able to give 40 million liters of water per day.
Gangolf Haub explains the landslide more in detail:
One thing I would add: the reason for the big landslide was the tectonic movement along the Peradriatic Fault between the European and North-African tectonic plates. The fault runs directly through the Lesachtal and Gailtal Valleys and is responsible for much of the complexity of the region's mountain ranges. The Dobratsch landslide and its remains are certainly not the only proofs of the tectonic activity. Just look at the layering of Kollinkofel in the Carnic Alps or Grubenspitz / Böses Weibele in the Lienz Dolomites. Here the layers were thrown around big time. Today mountains with diagonal layers in all directions or mountains with old layers topping new layers are very common in the region.
Klaus Robl added these comments:
The movements did not take place along the periadriatic lineament, otherwise the epicentre wouldn´t have been in Furlania. In recent geologic times no significant movements took place along the periadriatic lineament. Those active faults where right lateral movements take place caused by the indentation of the Adriatic microplate are situated further south in Northern Italy (area around Gemona)and as well in Sovenia (Idria-Soca Fault). Therefore the epicentres of the strong earthquakes that are related to this process can be found in these two countries.
The tectonic activity that mentioned Gangolf is of course not restricted to the Carnic Alps and the Gailtal Alps. All of the Alpine orogenesis (mountain forming) is the result of complex tectonic processes related to the convergence of Africa and Europe and the subsequent closure of the Tethyan Ocean.
To your really excellent description I would like to add that it is proofed now that the villages that were buried under the landslide counted less than 17. This often published number was a large exageration with the intention to receive more money.
Still, it is estimated that the great landslide of 1348 was only one in a long series. The whole area of old and new landslide masses is today covering 24 square kilometers and gravel masses are in some places up to 30 meters high. That's why this gravel is today one of the most fascinating protected areas of Nature in Europe. The first attempts to protect the area date back to 1942, in 1970 followed the protection of the rest of Dobratsch's south face. Today it is included in Europe's Natura-2000 project. The landslide area is hosting some plants and animal species, which would otherwise not be in these surroundings.
Getting ThereGailtal Alps GROUP page!
Villach can be reached best by the highway: Udine - Tarvisio - Villach - Spittal - Salzburg. For the broader orientation see the Eastern Alps page and I hope that Gangolf will soon post also the promised Gailtal Alps group page.
From Villach you can drive around the Dobratsch massif by good roads (see the map) and drive up also by the good and broad panoramic road till the last parking place at about 1700 m of altitude. The road must be paid in summer (in winter it is free).
Marked routes over the northern, southern and western slopes are considerably longer.
2. Southern route. From power plant near Arnoldstein, 541 m, we ascend over the whole southern face. 1625 m of ascent, a demanding, not marked path which reveals the beauties and wilderness of the south face. Rarely ascended. On return we can go by the eastern path and road down to Alpengarten, 1502 m, from where the path goes down towards the south. The whole tour will take you 11-12 hours!
3. Western route. Above Hermsberg, on the altitude of 900 m a marked path starts which is shady till its upper part. It is easy, but also high (some 1270 m of altitude). Mostly it keeps left of Alplgraben, on the return, we can also visit the beautiful Alpl meadow. 4 h.
4. Northern approaches are also long. The direct one goes from Bad Bleiberg, 902 m. One marked path goes directly up by the northern slope, the other one goes much left around (eastwards, over Tratten/Trate) and is less steep. 1270 m of altitude, 3 h 30 min.
Towards the east and north a fine ski tour can be done. Either only to the parking place or all the way down. If someone takes your car down to Heiligengeist, you can do from the summit of Dobratsch a whole 1400 m ski downhill by the former ski slope. It would be also fine to learn what are the possibilities for a harder ski tour towards north from the very summit of Dobratsch.
When To ClimbDobratsch can be ascended any time of the season.
Here is the link to the Weather station Dobratsch page.
The webcam on Rosstratte, 1723 m.
For weather conditions for Austria see here (then choose region: Kaernten).
Avalanche info page is the following: Kaernten.
Here is the link to Ski info on the nature parc.
CampingWe don't need huts support to ascend Dobratsch. On the summit plateau there are many private huts and restaurants, among official huts are also:
Ludwig-Walter-Haus (2143 m), Knappenhütte (1700 m), Aichingerhütte (1650 m).
Outside LinksVillacher Alpenstrasse - The Villacher panoramic road (in German)
Dobratsch parc of nature (in German)
Your Help NeededIf you have it, please add the following information:
> Route description of the south ascent.
> Route description of the west ascent.