The Nockberge subgroup of the Gurktal Alps consists of a number of rounded "hilltop-summits", which reach elevations well above 2000m. The summits of the group are popular destinations at all times of the year and are often visited at times, when higher mountains are already covered in snow while lower mountains are covered in fog. Thanks to their reasonable elevation they offer wonderful views of the mountain groups around, from Hohe Tauern, to Carnic Alps to Julian Alps to Karawanken. Its highest mountain, Großer Rosennock at 2440m is its most popular destination and with its rounded top is a typical specimen of the whole subgroup.
In Großer Rosennock's vicinity, about 2km to the east, you will find another mountain, which when seen from the Rosennock normal route, appears to be much more impressive than its higher neighbour. The name of the mountain is Predigerstuhl (preacher's chair), a name which quite often is given to flat topped, pulpit-like mountains. This Predigerstuhl is no exception: the summit is the size of serevral football fields but it braks off to the south with massive limestone faces. The westernmost very brittle face, has its own name: Zunderwand.
Fitting the clerical name, Predigerstuhl has a small but impressive summit cross, which, however, is not places on the real summit of the mountain. After reading some of the memorial plaques attached to it you realize that this place is often used for divine services and masses. Due to the size of the summit plateau and the good quality of the normal route whole congregations can attend. Also, thanks to its forward location above Langenalmtal Valley Predigerstuhl commands good views to the east and south.
There are three direct routes to the summit of Predigerstuhl if you start at the trailhead at Erlacher Hütte.
- The easiest "normal" route follows a dirt road between Erlacher Hütte and Erlacher Blockhütte above whicht the route turns into a path, which heads for the east face of the mountain. A long traverse leads to an only slightly pronounced saddle between main summit and cross summit, to which you you can easily stroll.
- Another dirt road leads east and southwards in the direction of Feldhüttte. Before you reach a hut a sign will lead you northwards in the direction of Naßbodensee. From the lake a traverse through the east slopes of kleiner Rosennockheads for the saddle between kleiner Rosennock and Zunderwand. From here always follow the ridge which will lead to the cross summit.
- The third route is a variant to the second one. Long before you reach Naßbodensee a path will turn off to the right, heading for the saddle between kleiner Rosennock and Zunderwand right beneath the latter's south faces. It thus cuts short part of the second route and offers good views into the limestone faces. However, rockfall close to the saddle has covered the path in debris and according to signposts on both sides the path is closed. However, when seen from above the route still seems practical, even though a bit of scrambling might be required.
- A fourth - and most recommendable - route combines parts of the routes above to a big loop: Head from Erlacher Hütte to Naßbodensee, climb Großer Rosennock along the normal route across the east ridge. Descend the north-east ridge (steep knife edge) and reascend the kleiner Rosennock south ridge. From the top follow the broad east ridge towards the saddle with Zunderwand and follow the Predigerstuhl west ridge to the top. Descend Predigerstuhl via the normal route. If you have the time you can add Pfannock to the list, which you cllimb before reaching Erlacher Blockhütte.
- Take A10 (Tauernautobahn) to the exit "Villach - Ossiacher See".
- Switch to B98, direction Millstädter See
- Pass Afritzer See and Feldsee, two lakes along the road and at Radenthein switch to L18to Kaning.
- There follow the signs to Langenalmtal, a long valley which cuts into the Nockberge National Park. Midway the road turns to dirt and leads to the trailhead at Erlacher Hütte.
Predigerstuhl, like most of the Nockberge Group belongs to Nationalpark Nockberge, which was established in 1987, seven years after the locals had decided in a plebiscite against turning the area into a ski circus. The usual restrictions apply in the park. The road through Langenalmtal is open for cars only up to Erlacher Hütte beyond which you will have to move on foot.
AccommodationThe closest town is Radenthein where you can find quite a number of hotels and apartments. Closer there is the mountain village Kaning and even closer still you'll find several privately owned huts in Langenalmtal Valley. The following url is a good starting point for research (click the "Hotels" link.
Maps & Books
- WK 063 Bad Kleinkirchheim-Nationalpark Nockberge
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Kompass Wanderkarte 063