In the beginning of the year 2003 I did put a (at that moment) crazy plan inside my head. After climbing and walking for many years in the Hohe Tauern region it was time to do something more challenging. The mountain I wanted to climb wasn't hard to find "the King of the Hohe Tauern" ofcourse.
But I'm a Belgian and the Alps are at there nearest 800 km away from me, the Glockner lays even at 1200 km from my living area. How can I plan something like that? was the big question I did ask myself. But after going for so many years to that region I had some connections there, so I called the people where I was planning to spend my holiday with my family. They where quiete anthousiastic about the plan and did a view phonecalles in Austria. After I view days they told me that they did found somebody, who did go to the summit with tourist as they called there a "Bergfürher". But I couldn't plan the rest because I had to be in the Bergfürher Bureau to make sure to those people a ment it.
Finally it became July, and that mains for me holiday time. At the first day that I was in Austria I went to the Bureau that is located in Heiligenblut. The guy at the desk told me that they should call me as soon as possible when the wether became O.K.
At my birthday 17 July around 10.00h he called to the people where I was staying to tell that I should be at the Salmhütte in the evening. So there wasn't alot of time to make myself nervus. I backed my stuff and took the care to Heiligenblut, driving on the Glockner Strasse the nervs started to came. Once we where at the Glocknerhaus I said goodbye to my girlfriend and 2 kids. Now it became serieus I was started to climb Austrias highest mountain.
The route was very simple from Glocknerhaus it went down to the Margaritze Stausee, I went over it and started for the acsent to Stockerscharte. Once I was at the scharte I looked for a last time behind, but I couldn't see my girls or car anymore. After the climb to Stockerscharte I was glad to see that the path was now less steep. It even went a little bit down. Now I was walking on a very nice and very easy path into the Leitertal. The marmots sreamed alot there and I felt really happy then. After a long but very easy walk on the Wiener Höhenweg I finaly saw it the Salmhütte. Not much later I stept inside, and ask if they knew my bergführer and if he was there already. Yes, I know him told the girl who was the chief of the hut but he isn't here yet. Ok no problem I know that I was very early and waited for a while, drunk some beer and took some photo's. One hour later I saw a man that was coming to the hut on the same way as I had done. That must be him I thought, when he was at the hut I said "Hello my name is Christoph you must be Amros I hope". The answer was short and simple "Nope, I'm Toni and I'm also planning to go to the Glockner summit with Ambros" Right now we were with 2 guys but the Bergfürher still wasn't there. The wether became wurst, and the girl from the hut came to us to tell that Ambros did call. He wouldn't make it to the hut that evening, but tomorrow very early in the morning he would be here. Now problem, we said and talked about our life and country. I view minuts later arrived a group of people in the hut, they did take the route from Kals but didn't expect that the wether should have turned around like that. Now we where with around 12 people who would spent the night in the Salmhut. 10 german guys and one girl, and I the lonely belgian but we had alot of fun. The beer was ok, and the spirit was very good, "Tomorrow we are all at the summit" we said.
We went to sleep and it didn't take a long time untill we all where in 'dreamland'.
I awaked, did look one my clock and I was surprised to see that it was already 4h 1/2 in the morning. I crowled out of my sleepingbag and went as quiet as possible outside. It was amazing how beautiful it was here, no sound to hear just me and the surrounding mountains. I smoked a sigaret and did drink a cola (that's already for many years my breakfast). After a half hour I saw someone coming toward the hut, "that must be him" I thought again. I went to Tony and waked him up, "His there I said". Allright said Tony give me 10 minuts and I'm ready. I went outside again and the guy that I have seen in the fare distance was now already very close to the hut. "Hello, you must be Ambros?" I said again, and now the answer was positive. "Yes, and you must be Christoph I can hear it cause you speak no germans like a german guy would" We laughed and went inside the hut. Tony was already downstears and we listend to what Ambros had to say. After giving Tony some equiment and checking mine we were ready to go.
In the beginning the path stayed easy, we passed the Alte (old) Salmhut, that has been destroyed be a rock lawine. We did take off our jackets cause it became already hot. A little bit later we came on the first snowfield, and the landscape became some steeper. (But still was there a nice path) We climbed some rocks and untill then I didn't see that there wasn't any green anymore. Only rocks and snow were ahead of us. "It has begon" said Ambros, and we came on the first wall of rocks. We did drink a bit and secured ourselfs, now it went up on fixed ropes till we were at the Hohenwartkopfscharte. We did one our crampons (steigeisen) and went over the Salmkamp. The views down to the Pasterze and the other main mountains of the Glocknergruppe was amazing. Now we saw that the Erherzog-Johann-Hütte was in front of us. A view minuts later we step inside. The welcoming was great, Toni and I listend to the story's that the people from the hut where telling to Ambros.
Alright here we drink and eat something and after leaving our backpack we go to the summit told Ambros. 1/2 hour later we were back outside, with only one cola and my photo camera with me we went on.
The first part was again easy, a big snowfield that isn't steep. But at 3500 meter it started again the Glocknerleitl, that's a snowfield from 35° but easy to climb. Once we crossed the snow we were at the steep rocks of the KleinGlockner. We took of our crampons (steigeisen) and left them and the beginning of the rocks. We climbed over de rocks (II) and reach the Kleinglockner summit. It was amazing how many people were climbing here. We had to wait to cross the Glocknerscharte untill a climbing group that came from the summit had crossed the 50 cm edge. Now it was our turn we crossed the glocknerscharte and I looked down to the Pallavicinirinne. I couldn't believe that people realy climb that route. Once we were at the other side it wasn't easy the first view meters but after that it's just a walk-up to the summit.
Yes !!!, Bergheil, we did reach the summit and there where not many people. We had the luck of a clear sky and took some summit photo's. I did drink my cola and enjoied the moment. The way down wasn't really a problem. Untill we did hear some noise, it was the rescue-heli that carried a victime of the mountain. Now a realised again what I was doing, i had to be carefull or else I could be the next one. But without any problem we reached the Adlersruhe again. Where we had a little party to cellibrate our summit. It was only a short party cause we had still a long way down to go. From Adlersruhe it went back to Salmhütte were we backed the rest of our stuff in the backpack (sleepingbag and stuff like that) Tony was faster ready then I, so he went down to Glocknerhaus alone. 1/4 hour later I also started the way back, after 1/2 walking I started thinking were my pass and money was. F#ck it's still in the Salmhütte, I have to go back. After leaving my backpack at the side of the path I went back up. After a long day of climbing wasn't that not as easy as it should be. Once I was back in the hut my pass and money was untoched. O.k. and now quickly back down, I had already called my girlfriend to pick me up at the Glocknerhaus so I had to be fast. Otherwise she had to wait (and you know how womans are when they have to wait) A view hours later I was back. She was already waiting for a long time and asked where I was been. After telling the story of the money she understood. There where some people at the glocknerhaus from holland that heared from my girlfriend why see was waiting. So they waited also to hear my story of the highest summit of Austria. I was very proud.
In 2004 I went back to climb the Studlgrat Solo.
I did reach the summit again, when I find the time I will tell you about that tour in a next tour report.
From I belgian guy, who is in love with the Hohe Tauern.
Christoph De Windt