Topographic isolation: 4 km
Nearest higher peak: Wirtshauskogel (1486 m) in Schneeberg
Prominence: 632 m
Falkenstein in clouds
If somebody wants to find a good hiking destination near Vienna, and he/she wants something else than Schneeberg or Hohe Wand, then Handlesberg would serve him/her well. It is only 90 km far from Vienna. But it seems that most people still want to go to Schneeberg and to Hohe Wand. Handlesberg is quite abandoned in the "shadow" of Schneeberg. It is adjacent to Schneeberg: they are separated from each other with the valley of Voisbach.
Handlesberg belongs to the mountain range of Gutenstein Alps
, and it is the second highest peak of the range with its 1370 m altitude. The highest peak of the range is not much higher: it is the 1399 m high Reisalpe. The prominence of Handlesberg is 606 meter, and with this value it has rank 14 on the prominence list of Lower Austria.
The name of the mountain comes from the German word "Hahn" meaning Cock. Handlesberg is made of various kinds of limestone, and dolomite in the depth, with all typical character of the limestone mountain range of the alps: sharp rock ridges and rock walls, rich vegetation, karst activities like caves and karst spring.
Our mountain has three summits worth mention:
The highest peak of Handlesberg (1370 m)
With a beautiful summit cross on its peak-rock and with good panoramic view on the nearby ranges of the Alps.
It is a rocky ridge with an almost vertical north face. It is only 500 meter west to the highest peak. And only a little bit lower: approximately 1330 m high.
Falkenstein (1013 m)
It is 3 km far from the highest peak, on its western side. Though it is not too high, it looks to be really high if you look at it from the valley of Schwarzau, as it is towering just above the river bed. Falkenstein a nature-protected area, with intensive karst activities: 3 caves (Bärenloch, die Herrengrotte and Frauengrotte) and the karst spring of Klafterbach.
Red limestone painted by bauxite. Or iron-oxid?
One of the caves of Falkenstein
Recommended mountaineering activities are ski-touring
• From Handlesberg summit (1370 m) to Reitbauer (670 m)
• From Handlesberg summit (1370 m) to Steinhauer (990 m)
Marked hikig trails:
• From the valley of Voisbach (Wagenhof) to Handlesberg: , 2 x 6 km, 710 m elevation gain
• From the valley of Paxbach (Gschaiderwirt) to Handlesberg: , 2 x 6.5 km, 727 m elevation gain
• From the valley of Schawarza (Schwarzau im Gebirge) to Handlesberg: , 2 x 4.5 km, 767 m elevation gain
• From the valley of Schawarza (Bichl) via Kirchensteig to Falkenstein: , 2 x 2.5 km, 405 m elevation gain
Austrian Long Distance Route 06:
Actually Route 06 is a series of pilgrimage routes, all directing to Mariazell. Its eastern branch is called Burgenländische Mariazellerweg. It is a 145 km long route between Eisenstadt and Mariazell. It crosses the southern flanks of Handlesberg. The highest point of this route in Handlesberg is 795 m, in a saddle between Baumeckkogel and Mitterriegel.
On the Summit
Summit cross of Handlesberg
A beautiful cross is erected on the rocky summit. From here you can have excellent view on the neighbouring peaks of the Alps, especially in southern and western direction. The most exposed neighbouring peaks are the following:
• S: Scheibwaldhöhe (1943 m) in Rax
• SW: Amaissbichl (1828 m) in Schneealpe
• W: Ötscher
Flora and FaunaInstead of words:
Alpine cyclamen Big-flowered foxglove Heath spotted orchid Martagon Six-spot burnet Peach-leaved bellflower
When to Climb
In any season.
The western part of the mountain around Falkenstein belongs to the protected area of Naturpark Falkenstein-Schwarzau
im Gebirge. But it doesn’t mean that it cannot be accessed on the marked trails.
Camping and Tourist Huts
No tourist huts here. This is the abandoned Grubenfranzl Alm
There is no tourist hut on Handlesberg. It is not really a problem, because the whole mountain can be walked through in a day. The nearest camping is 20 km far from our area:
2763 Neusiedl bei Pernitz, Hauptstraße 2
Online touris map of Austria: www.austrianmap.at
Naturpark Falkenstein: www.naturparke.at/en/Nature_Parks/Niederoesterreich/Falkenstein-Schwarzau_im_Gebirge