wo weeks before our „main alpine event“ we decided to do a practice climb on an austrian glacier Grossvenediger. As usual we set departure at 6 o’clock in the morning. At 13:00 we were already parking the car in our final destination – parking lot Hopffeldboden.
Berndlalm – 1 514 m
From the Hopffeldboden (1 080 m), we are starting our ascent at 13:50. Path is nice and wide enough for bikers and taxis that are taking tourists to one of the „mountain houses“. Hikers walking up on foot as ourselves are not so many.
After an easy start the path leads us on a steep forest winding footpath. We continue on for about and hour with fully loaded backpacks with enough supplies to last for two days. We eventuallly get to the Brendlalm cottage (1 514 m).
We rest for a while , enjoyg a popsicle and a view of farm animals rambling around in the sun. We continue our ascent at 15:20.
Postalm – 1 691 m
The forest ends and we go on. We get a view of meadows full with grazing cows. We walk quite fast, assuming the steep part is only yet to come. We reach the Postalm at 16:15.
We rest for a while and continue again along fenced pastures . The views are breathtaking.
Kürsingerhütte – 2 548 m
At 17:35 we get to a place from where taxis and bikers cannot go any further (2 000 m). From here you can only continue on foot. The road is made of stone blocks and reminds us of our home mountains – Tatras. A sign says 1,5h to the next cottage.
The stony section is secured by a handrail, and must be passed by walking under a huge piece of rock.
Last section before Kürsingerhütte leads through grassy-stony slopes with spots of snow, to a platueu with a view of the cottage.
We finally reach Kürsingerhutte at 19:15. Not wasting time we check in, pay 5 euro fee for actually not wanting any food (still cheaper than paying the board), enjoy the best tourist food ever (yes you guessed it right – canned tuna 🙂 ) and go to sleep, alarm is set to 04:20 am.
Grossvenediger – 3 666 m
We have breakfast in the hallway, fill up our water packs in the kitchen and head out at 05:10. The path leads behind the cottage along the red mark. After an hour we get to the glacier. We put on a harness and crampons. No need for the rope yet, first we have to descend couple meters before we start going up again. The path is busy, all we need to do is follow the others.
9:20 we reach the Venedigerscharte saddle with Small Venediger on one side and Big Venediger on the other. From there the path turnes right and circles the peak and then merges with other ascend routes for the last meters.
It is a narrow ridge that leads to the summint cross. From the cottage it took us to Grossvenediger 5 hours (incl. breaks) and we reached the summit of Grossvenediger at 10:10.
Descent from Großvenediger
After a little rest, snack and obligatory pictures, we head down at 11:20. As expected the descent is much easier, we reached the saddle at 11:40.
Around noon the sun gets quite strong and the snow starts to melt. We recommend to use the rope. 13:00 we leave the glacier behind. 14:05 we get to the cottage, have a snack and continue down about half an hour later. 16:00 – parking spot for taxis, 16:50 Postalm – 17:50 Berndlalm. Here we finally get some proper rest and ice cream.
18:30 we start the last part of the descent through the forest. 19:10 finally Hopffeldboden. We get in cars heading to the camping site in the village, pitch the tent and drop dead 🙂 . All in all from the morning we enjoyed 14 hours of hiking.
Next day we stop at Zell am See from where we drive home.
Overall the hike to Grossvenediger is not techincally difficult, the glacier is relatively safe , good also for beginners as a practice of walking in crampons and in a rope team. The path is very well marked , and you cannot really get lost. You can make it a little challenge like us and walk all the way from the first parking lot, but with hindsight , I recommend to take the taxi at least either on the way up (18€) or down (14€).