The tallest mountain in Austria, standing at 3798m, surrounded by a sea of 300 Alpine peaks and covered by the largest Glacier in the Eastern Alps, the Grossglockner is the stuff of legends. Local folklore has it that inside this great black mountain, lies a black crystal radiating energy that can be felt through the rock that tumbles down from the spikey summit. It is also the stuff of mountaineering legends with the first ascent being carried out in 1800. These days, regardless if you are a humble walker in search of spirituality, or an extreme mountaineer, the Grossglockner is still as captivating as ever.
For this reason, the staff at MoaAlm took the opportunity of a couple of free days and good weather to climb the heady heights to the summit. From MoaAlm it is possible to walk to the summit and back in one day (Grossglockner is our closest 3000m neighbour), but we are far too much fans of a lazy breakfast and freshly brewed coffee. Instead we set off around 9am for a 2000m ascent up the Teischnitztal valley and the head of the glockner glacier.
Reaching Studelhutte after a stunning three hour climb, we stopped for a packed lunch before roping up to cross the glacier. For some of our group this was the first time crossing a glacier and we marvelled at the deep crevasses as we skirted our way around them.
At the edge of the glacier is a rock face which requires an easy climb before a final scramble to our destination for the day, the Ernst Johannes Hutte. This hut is the highest in Austria and has no running water. We checked into our smelly but very cosy bunk room before whiling away the evening by the fire in the hut. The weather closed in around the hut, and it was quite terrifying to brush our teeth in the foggy gloom, knowing there was a 1000m drop below us!
The next day we rose at 5am to consume a meagre breakfast (we are far too used to MoaAlm’s delicious offerings) with our fellow mountaineers. Groggy from sleep and with nervous excitement running through our veins we strapped on our crampons and roped up to cross the next glacier. We were surprised at the amount of people on the mountain, especially the amount of people who were unprepared for the climb.
We followed a number of groups to the final summit climb where we abandoned our crampons and began a steep scramble. The black rock was extremely grippy, but the ridge was narrow with sheer drops on either side. However, the views were unbelievable. The glacier spread out for kilometres, spilling off the side of the mountain. The Alps lay stretched out in a chain before us and the sun burst through the early morning fog to light the summit cross.
We descended from Kleine Glockner to the narrow Glockner sharte. With the amount of people on the mountain, it was no mean feat to cross this narrow gap. However, we hopped across, secured our ropes and finally after a day of travelling made it to the summit. Becca, the yoga teacher at MoaAlm, did a celebratory handstand and we soaked up the sun and amazing views, elated to reach the top
The descent from Grossglockner summit to MoaAlm took around six hours. We arrived back tired, with sore knees to a BBQ dinner and tales of our mountaineering prowess. We look forward to the winter ascent!
Want to climb Grossglockner but do not have the experience? Stay with us at MoaAlm, and we can help you arrange all you need to make your ascent.