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Austria's Roof: The Hohe Tauern





Carinthia, Salzburg and Tirol share this huge Austrian National Park - with 1.800 square km the biggest in central Europe. The Park covers alpine landscapes of all kinds: glaciers, big walls, rivers, forests and ancient Almen. And, of course, the highest mountains of Austria can be found here: the Grossglockner with 3.798m and another 300 mountains higher than 3.000m, furthermore the longest Austrian glacier, the Pasterze, the Krimmler Waterfalls with 380m height the highest in Europe and the valley of Innergschlöß - known to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the Eastern Alps. To sum it up, the Park is a superlative on its own and one of the few places in the Alps where you can find unspoiled nature.

General Information
Weather
Maps
 
Travel Information
How to get there
Travelling in the area
Accommodation
Activities
High Alpine Tours
Outdoor Sports
 
Specials
Things you shouldn't miss...
Things you shouldn't do...
 

General Information
- Hohe Tauern National Park
- Nationalparkverwaltung Tirol, Matrei in Osttirol, Phone +43(04875)5161

Weather
- Yahoo! Weather for Matrei
- Weather forecast for Salzburg by alpin.de
- Alpine weather forecast for the Grossvenediger by bergwetter.de (choose "Venedigergruppe" in the menu. German only)

Maps
Due to its importance, the coverage for the Park is pretty well. The recommended maps are first of all the map of the DAV, AV-Karte 1:25.000 Nr.36, and the Kompass Karte "Matrei in Osttirol, Kals am Großglockner" Nr. 46, 1:50.000.
- Map of the National Park area by multimap
- Map (1:200.000) (207k) of the Park by the Nationalparkverwaltung Hohe Tauern
- Map (1:50.000) (115k) of the tour to the Kristallwand
- Map (1:50.000) (136k) of the tour to the Grossvenediger

Travel Information

How to get there
The Park can be accessed from the South via Lienz and Matrei on the 108 and from the North from Zell am See or Mittersill via the Felbertauern (approx. 10 euros). The towns mentioned -except from Matrei- all do have train stations as well, in the Park itself is no train station available. But of course, busses will bring you to the most important starting points.

Travelling in the area
Strangely, a car is of quite some help in the National Park :-) Busses do operate but only link the bigger villages, from there you will have to get a taxi. Anyway, no cars are allowed beyond the the border to the Inner Zone of the Park, from there on everybody will have to rely on his or her boots
.
- information on road conditions by the ÖAMTC

Accommodation
Camping is not allowed in the Park, so the huts in the area are - apart from the hotels in the valleys - the only places to sleep. Don't expect luxury (e.g. warm water or showers), you are in a National Park in high alpine regions. Surely you'll get simple but good food and a beer or a glass of wine if you wish - and want to pay for it. Usually you'll get yourself accomodated quickly and forget the necessary restrictions of living in high alpine regions, as the landscapes at the doorstep of the huts are just awesome. Important huts are e.g. the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte (3.454m, summer only) for the Grossglockner, the Glocknerhaus (2.132m, summer only) at the Glocknerstrasse, Stüdlhütte (2.802m, summer only) for the classic route via the Stüdlgrat to the Grossglockner, the Rudolfshütte (2.311m, summer and winter) for the Granatspitze, the Essener- und Rostocker Hütte (2.207m, spring and summer) for the Dreiherrnspitze and for the Grossvenediger the Defreggerhaus (2.963m, summer only) and the Neue Prager Hütte (2.796m).
- for more info on the huts in the area, try the OeAV
- Essener Rostocker Hütte, 2207m
- Neue Prager Hütte, 2.796m, DAV Oberland-Info


Activities
Alpinism of every type and degree is possible in the Park. No matter if you are looking for some hikes, want to climb ice walls, make high alpine tours or want to make a ski tour - no problem. But more than in other regions, be aware of the objective dangers these mountains hold: crevasses, rock and ice fall, thunderstorms and snow falls all year round. Don't be unprepared!

High Alpine Tours
Bring your crampons, an ice axe, a rope and the knowledge to use this stuff and start into a wonderful world of ice, snow and rocks!
-
Tour: From the Neue Prager Hütte (2.782m) to the Kristallwand (3.310m)
-
Tour: From the Neue Prager Hütte (2.782m) to the Grossvenediger (3.666m)

Outdoor Sports
Ice climbing during winter: that's what I'll probably try in the Park next. The Rudolfshütte offers the right training facilities. Furthermore, the ambitioned alpinist will of course find plenty of more difficult approaches to the mountains than "just" the normal routes, usually involving a good portion of climbing, too. And last but not least, especially the Venedigergruppe is famous for ski tours from late autumn till spring.

Specials

...things you shouldn't miss!
Sunrise in the mountains while you are on a tour, the first hot shower in the valley :-) A slow pace on your tour to discover all the beauty around you. And, if you are not familiar with high alpine regions like the Park, a good guide.

...things you shouldn't do!
Don't "run" onto the mountains and be brave enough to turn back to the hut if the weather changes quickly or you feel you won't have a safe return. Especially during the warm summer months you will have to start with sunrise to enjoy good snow and stable snow bridges over the many crevasses you have to cross.

To sum it up: be up to date concerning your local weather forecast, be prepared according to your tour, generally never walk alone, leave always a note at the hut about your destination and estimated return, start early and walk at low yet constant speed.

last revision: Monday, August 11, 2003 copyright www.therucksack.net