IntroThis is only the first draft of the page. Especially 'Getting There' and 'Hike Advices' chapters can be far more elaborated. If anyone wants to have editors or 'higher' rights, please let me know!
Lavanttal Alps consist of a group of broad mountain ranges, in each of them separate summits are less important than the whole massif. This same holds true also for Koralpe, some 25 km long mountain shoulder, stretching east of Lavant valley. Just in the middle of Koralpe massif, the highest peak rises. This is Grosser Speikkogel.
A few nearby elevations also reach the altitude, higher than 2000 meters. These are for example: Kleiner Speikkogel, 2117m, Krakaberg, 2070m, Seespitz, 2066m, Steinschneider, 2020m, etc. Anyway, all these bumps are not important, the whole massif makes an impression.
The area of Koralpe is strongly touristically developed. So also Grosser Speikkogel is very often visited. Actually a mountain road reaches its very top, where the radio, TV and radar devices stand and must be maintained. The road is closed for public traffic, but also a tourist road reaches high on the mountain, above some 1700 meters. And more - above this mountain road a ski center operates and the summits around Grosser Speikkogel can be also reached by ski lifts. For someone who was reading this text till this point, it should be enough to say: "No, thank you! I'm not interested!" So, what values with Grosser Speikkogel?
First, it is a very broad panorama. And if you are in the area, why not jumping up and enjoy it? If you are an enthusiastic hiker, you can choose walks up in virtually any direction, so avoiding roads, cable-cars and hotels. The mountain is massive and there are enough quiet places on it. Mountain roads are a big challenge for mountain bikers. And last, but not least, it is tour skiing. Not only a short tour from the end of the road, but also great crossings of the whole massif of Koralpe are very attractive. They can be done also in hard winter, they are easy and can be in good conditions done even with cross-country skis, but they are long and if planned well, you can do also considerable height differences. Finally, the valleys east and west of Grosser Speikkogel lie 1700 meters below its summit!
Summit PanoramaAs mountain ranges of Lavanttal Alps are standing far apart, the high summits, such as Grosser Speikkogel, offer broad panoramas. The nearby groups are clearly seen as broad mountain shoulders: Saualpe, Seetaler Alpe, Packalpe and in the distance Gleinalpe. The whole southern and southwestern horizon is packed with more sharp summits - virtually any of the high peaks of Kamniske in Savinjske Alpe / Steiner Alpen, Karavanke/Karawanken and Julijske Alpe can be distinguished. More towards the north and north-west there are already the mountains of Ennstal Alps and Niedere Tauern. Very special are also the views down into valleys. Towards the east high regions of Alps are ending, so in a nice day you can observe the hilly landscape all the way towards Graz and further.
For general overview, see the Lavanttal Alps page.
Grosser Speikkogel can be most easilly reached from the end of the road, which ascends from Wolfsberg (from the west) up to the altitude of some 1700 meters. As there is a ski resort, the road is toll-free. From the end of the road till the top you have some 1h 30min.
Another road goes up from the west. It starts near Eitweg, but reaches a lower altitude.
North of the main summit of Koralpe, there's a mountain pass, where the road crosses the massif in the west-east direstion. This is Weinebene, 1668m, the plateau, where also Goesler Huette stands. From there you can reach the summit in some 2h 30min.
Other trailheads are further away, but can be used when crossing the whole massif.
On the web, you can see a detailed map on: http://www.austrianmap.at/.
Here are just the first two ideas, many more hikes are possible. All tours are easy.
1. From Hipfelhuette, 1627m. From the parking place hike towards the south to Koralpenhaus and further towards the SE on top. 1h 30min. If on a ski tour, you can ski down also more towards the north by any of the valleys or ridges, and then return towards the west.
2. Crossing the whole Koralpe massif. You can for example start on the very north, on Packsattel, 1166m (or better a bit south of it, on Hebalpe, 1291m) and cross by the main ridge the whole massif towards the south where you complete the tour on Sobother Sattel, 1356m. The distance is more than 40 kilometers, so it's a two days ski or hike tour.
Literature: Manfred Korbaj: Kaerntner Schitourenfuehrer. H. Weishaupt Verlag, Graz. 1992.
Mountain HutsOn Koralpe there are more than 20 mountain huts, not counting all private restaurants and hotels. But as said, the summit of Grosser Speikkogel can be easilly reached in one day, so all these facilities can be used to spend holidays there. Closest to the summit are the following mountain huts:
Goesler Huette, 1668m,
Grillitschhuette, cca 1700m,
Gruenangerhuette, cca 1580m.