Destination: Heukuppe, 2007 m
Altitude gain: 937 m.
Time for ascent: 2 h 30 min.
Time for descent: 1 h 45 min.
Distance: 4 km (one way)
- "Black" hiking route in the local classification
- A/B category of klettersteig (via ferrata)
Gear: Good shoes. Poles and via ferrata set in snowy-icy conditions. Officially the route is closed in snowy conditions
Reisstalersteig is also written as Reißtalersteig.
There are dozens of routes leading up to Rax. Reisstalersteig is among the easier ones. It provides perhaps the quickest ascent up to the highest summit of Rax (Heukuppe, 2007 m).
Getting to the TrailheadBy car from Vienna on the highway (Südautobahn - A1) to Wiener Neustadt. After Wiener Neustadt change to S6 (Semmeringschnellstraße). Get off from S6 at Gloggnitz. Go further 10 km to Reichenau. From here take the road to the pass called Preiner Gscheid.
By train from Vienna (Südbahnhof) via Wiener Neustadt (you have to change the trains) to Payerbach. Here for the missing 14 km you must find bus transfer to Preiner Gscheid, or you can also walk (there are tourist paths there)
The trailhead is on the pass called Preiner Gscheid, on altitude 1070 m. There are 2 parking places here: one is free, the other is for fee. There is also a tourist hut with a small restaurant here.
Preiner Gscheid is a major junction of paths and roads: 7 marked routes, 2 public roads and 3 forest roads are crossing here. You have to look for the signs of Reisstalersteig on the northern side of the public road. The path is marked with yellow strips. If accidentally you find only the path with green strips, that’s OK, too. This latter route is parallel with Reisstalersteig, and they are joining after 1.5 km.
Route DescriptionThe route can be divided into 3 sections that represent approximately similar efforts for the climbers.
The first section is from Preiner Gscheid to Reisstaler Hütte (hut). The hut is not operating. It is on 1447 m, so the altitude gain of the first section is 377 m. It crosses dense forest, with medium steep path.
The second section is from Reisstaler Hütte to the rock wall called Raxenmaeuer (Raxenmäuer). You can find the start of the trail of this section left to the hut (west to the hut).
The bottom of the rock wall is approximately in 1740 m elevation, so the altitude gain of the second section is 263 m. The path of the second section is initially crossing dense forest. Later dwarf (mugo) pines, and scree below the rock wall. The path is medium steep.
The last section is from the bottom of the rock wall to Heukuppe. The best place of the whole route is this rock wall. There is a klettersteig (via ferrata) section here. It's short, only with 60 m elevation gain. It starts with a short vertical section. Then a simpler secured path. Finally 2 high steel ladders. It can be categorized into A/B difficulty. The route is well secured. Exposure is medium (in 2 points), or low. The via ferrata section is followed by medium steep path, and soon you get onto the plateau of Heukuppe where finally it’s just a pleasant walk to Heukuppe - the highest point of Rax (2007 m).
There are numerous junctions of other paths when you ascend Reisstalersteig – but no worry because all junctions have very accurate information tables about the proper directions.