In Goldberg Group, Hohe Tauern, the most prominent peaks are on the north, in the main Tauern crest. These are glacier summits: Hocharn, Sonnblick, Schareck and a handful more, which are in their neighbourhood. Towards the south a few side crests are deterring, hosting lower, but also very panoramic summits. Those areas are less frequented, mountains are not covered with glaciers, but the network of marked paths and mountain huts is still sufficient.
In the broad south-western area the highest summit is Sadnig, 2745 m, often referred also as Hoher Sadnig. In the lower parts a forrested, higher grassy and only on top a rocky mountain. Primary outdoor activities there are hiking in summer and ski mountaineering in winter. Just to illustrate the joy of hiking over these mountains, here is a simple song from Sadnig mountain pastures (thank you, Mathias for improving the translation):
"Hoch am Sadnig droben, / wo der Gamsbock steht, / am Makernig droben, wo der Adler kreist, / und am Horizont auf der Roten Wand / und am Sandfeldkopf, / ja da hätt' ma halt / einen wunderschönen Aufenthalt."
"High up there on Sadnig, / where a chamois stands, / up there on Makernig / where an eagle circles / and on the horizon, on Rote Wand / and on Sandfeldkopf / yes, there I had indeed / a wonderful stay."
Around Sadnig group the river Moell flows, forming its western southern and south-eastern border. The two side valleys, also bordering the group, are Astental on the northwest and Fraganttal, with the side Schoberbach valley on the north-east. The Schobertoerl (saddle) is on the northern side dividing Sadnig group from the rest of Goldberg group.
The narrow area of sadnig is a three crest mountain group with Sadnig summit in its centre. Its northern ridge goes over the fore-summit of Gradoz, 2696 m, and soon finishes on Sadnig Scharte, 2484 m, beyond which the crest continues on Mulleter Sadnig, 2569 m, and further on towards Schobertoerl. The southwestern ridge is lowering down towards the confluence of Astenbach and Moell. The southeastern ridge goes over the summit of Kleiner Sadnig, 2626 m, and further on Kreuzeck, where it branches again - the southwestern branch is long and strong and culminates finally with the nice Zellin Kopf. One more side ridge is worth mentioning. From the short northern ridge of Sadnig, a side ridge is deterring towards the west. This is Bretterwand and its continuing ridge, falling down in Astental.
In the surrounding high valleys and plateaus a few small lakes are lying. You will pass them when visiting the summit from the southern side, one of them is also just west of Sadnig Scharte and the biggest one is Aichenegg See, west of the summit. These lakes are not a very big attraction, but are a still nice place to sit by and relax.
From the summit of Sadnig the neighbouring summits look much alike, not very interesting or picturesque themselves - high grassy slopes, more or less rounded summits, only a few of them rocky on top, deep valleys down below. Of course, in different occasions and weather conditions the scenery might well improve, offering also very picturesque views. But together with distant views, we can rate the Sadnig panorama as one of more beautiful ones in Goldberg group.
The most attractive is of course the view on Grossglockner and the neighbouring glacier-covered mountains. Also the highest peaks of Goldberg group are covered with glaciers an so very picturesque: Hocharn, Sonnblick, Schareck. More towards the east is the beautiful Hochalmspitze and right of it the Reisseck group. The SE part of horizon is occupied with Kreuzeck group, where from a side Obervellacher Polinik is especially nicely seen, and clearly also all the other high summits. From behind Kreuzeck group the highest peaks of Julian Alps are peeking. Towards the south the variety of the panorama is achieved by the view on the rugged limestone chains of the Southern Alps. Especially nice is the Carnic Alps group around Hohe Warte / Monte Coglians, the whole group of Lienz Dolomites and in the distance also the "true" Dolomites. Finally on the SW there are the mountains of Defregger group and on the west a very attractively seen Schober group with Petzeck.
Two valleys represent two important gates into the Sadnig group - Fraganter Tal on the east and Astental on the west. We enter both from the valley of Moell river, which makes a big knee around Sadnig group. The Moell valley itself is reachable from the east from the highway Villach - Salzburg, which we exit in Spittal, or from the north over the Hochtor pass (the famous Grossglockner road), or through the Mallnitz tunnel.
From Ausserfragant, in the valley of Moell, due to many dams, powerplants and the ski centre high up in mountains, a good road deters into Fraganter Tal. A few kilometers into the valley there's Innerfragant village, 1112 m. There another side valley opens towards the SW. But the road through it is closed for public traffic. So, the trailhead for the eastern Sadnig approach is Innerfragant, from which the two mountain huts can be reached in a 2 h walk-up, and the summit of Sadnig in another 3 h 30 min walk-up.
Today, the end of the narrow Asten valley can be comfortably reached by a steep, but fairly broad, 12 km long asphalted road. It deters from the main Moell valley road in Moertschach village. Reaching so easilly the Neue Sadnig Haus, 1880 m, might make us to forget how people once lived in this remote mountain corner. The farms in Asten valley end, on the altitude from 1500 m to 1700 m, were once the highest lying settlements in the whole Kaernten. Liselotte Buchenauer in her Tauernbuch writes: "The land of Asten mountain farms was in winter often for months cut-off the valley, so that Asteners could burry their dead ones only when the paths were cleaned again." Helmut Prasch adds to this: "In Asten the soil is rare and holy. Generations had to dig it, bring it together in baskets, and protect it from sliding down." Coming today at the end of Astental in early summer is very pleasant. The high grassy slopes all around are blossoming, across the flat end part of the valley a vivid creek is flowing, alpine pastures are full of cattle. A true hiking paradise, enabling tours of all difficulties, not only on many silent, lonely summits around the valley, but also along the valley and from a pasture to pasture.
The big Sadnig round tour. Having mountain huts on both sides of the mountain, in many guidebooks a two-day round tour is recommended. Starting for example from Sadnig Haus on the west, you'd go the first day on top of Sadnig, descend by one of the two variants down to Fraganter Hut, sleep there and on the second day ascend by one of the two variants Schobertoerl, jump up on Makernispitze, return on the saddle and descend into Astental. Of course, you could do the same round tour starting in Fraganter Haus. To ascend Sadnig only, you have the following options:
1.a. From Sadnighaus, 1880 m, directly on Kapitzenbuehel (No. 150), further on Sadnigscharte and by the N ridge on top (No. 146). Medium hard hike-up, 900 m of altitude difference, 3 h.
1.b. From Sadnighaus, 1880 m, by the valley to Auernig Alm (No. 151), there towards the SE over Lindler Alm and the steep passage on the upper meadow (No. 149), further up on Kapitzenbuehel, on Sadnigscharte and by the N ridge on top. Medium hard hike-up, 900 m of altitude difference, 3 h 30 min.
2.a. From Fraganter Huette, 1810 m, by the path No. 146 to the crossroads, further on by the same path over Striedenbach and up into the lower Melenböden. There on the crossroads towards the west, up on Sadnigscharte and by the N ridge on top (No. 146). Medium hard hike-up, 1000 m of altitude difference, 3 h (from Innerfragant 5 h).
2.b. From Fraganter Huette, 1810 m, by the path No. 146 to the crossroads, further on by the same path over Striedenbach and up into Melenböden. There on the crossroads left towards the south by Nr. 164 (Rudi-Maier-Weg), further on by steep switchbacks over gravel and up to the rocky zone. There the path is protected with a steel cable, thus overcoming the barier, bringing us on the shoulder and soon on top of Kleiner Sadnig. Then further on by the ridge towards the NW on the main summit. Medium hard hike-up, partially over an easy rocky terrain, where there are protection devices. 1050 m of altitude difference, 3 h 30 min (from Innerfragant 5 h 30 min).
We can make a ski tour either from the eastern or from the western side, using the described four hiking routes. The western two options are less often recommended, even if the terrain is mostly opened and not too steep. The route 1.a. goes through a dense and steep forrest in the lower part, why it is less attractive. The upper part is very fine. The route 1.b. goes over much more beautiful slopes, but also has one tricky passage. This one is above Lindler Alm, where the route approaches a steel wall and goes over it by a quite steep and narrow (but short enough) ramp. In good conditions could also be skied down. The rest is very beautiful. The eastern two options are both great and of course for a one day tour quite long, because we start in Innerfragant, unless we sleep in Fraganter hut. Otherwise the recommended ascent is by the above 2.a. variant, so directly on Sadnigscharte and on top. We also ski down there, but might also choose the more demanding variant. This is the 2.b. variant, so on Kleiner Sadnig and through Pulver Rinne down towards the east. For this one conditions must be very good. You can see a detailed map (1:50.000) on-line on:http://www.austrianmap.at/.
The whole area is a part of Nationalpark Hohe Tauern. Since 1973 parts of the Sadnig Mountains have become part of the Bretterich National Park and the Großfragant Conservation Area.
Sadnighaus, 1880 m. Großkirchheim-Heiligenblut Alpine club. 30 + 10 places. Built in 1927, in 1951 demolished by a devastating lavine and rebuilt again from 1953 to 1959. Accessible from Moertschach in Moelltal by car. Opened from start of June till end of October and in winter from mid December till mid April. Tel. (in hut): +43/4825/20050, tel. (in valley): +43/4825/593. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web page: www.sadnighaus.at. Hiking goals from the hut: Stellkopf, 2.851 m, 3 h 30 min; Mohar, 2.604 m, 2 h 15 min; Hilmersberg, 2.670 m, 2 h 30 min; Makernispitze, 2.644 m, 3 h 00 min; Großer Sadnig, 2.745 m, 3 h 30 min; Rote Wand, 2.855 m, 3 h 45 min; Naturlehrweg Astner Moos, 1 h 30 min.
Fraganter Huette, 1810 m. 80 places. Reachable from Innerfragant in 1 h 45 min, or from Grafenberg - Rollweg (toll road, €4), 1.740 m, in 1 h. Tel.: +43/4785/396 (hut), +43/676/9563490 (mobile). E.mail: email@example.com. Web page: www.alpenverein-klu.at. Opened from start of June till mid of October, and in winter around Christmas. Hiking goals from the hut: Großer Sadnig, 2.745 m, 2 h 30 min; Makerni, 2.644 m, 1 h 30 min; Hirtenkopf, 2.605 m, 2h; Striedenkopf, 2.602 m, 2h; Klenitzen, 2.440 m, 1 h 30 min; Zeneberg, 2.199 m, 2 h; Stellkopf, 2.851 m, 2 h 45 min.
Sadnig can be best climbed during dry seasons, that would be normally from end of June till late October. In hard winter ascents can be more difficult and require winter equipment. The summit is in spring also a very nice goal for ski tours - just that the slopes should not be icy or snow very hard.
I'd appreciate if you have any information of the following: