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Mountain ranges / High Tauern / Hochalmspitze / Gößgraben - Hochalmspitze (via Steinerne Mandln)

Gößgraben - Hochalmspitze (via Steinerne Mandln)

Starting point: Gößgraben (1600 m)
Starting point Lat/Lon: 46.9804°N 13.3351°E 
Path name: via Steinerne Mandln
Time of walking: 5 h 30 min
Difficulty: very difficult marked way
Difficulty of skiing: no data
Altitude difference: 1760 m
Altitude difference (by path): 1780 m
Views: 4,476
Trip rating: 3 votes
Number of pictures: 87
Access to starting point:
From the Karawanks Tunnel, we follow the highway towards Salzburg to exit Gmünd. Further, we then follow the signs for valley Maltatal. The road, that runs through the mentioned valley we follow to the settlement Koschach. When on the right we notice the waterfall Fallbach (highest waterfall in Koroška) we will soon come to a crossroad where we go left over a bridge, which crosses a river Malta. Only a little after this we again turn left on a narrower road steep upwards into a valley Gossgraben (signs for mountain hut Gießener Hütte). We follow the road all the way to a large parking lot below dam Goskarspeicher. The last few kilometers of the road are opened only in the summer months when the mountain hut Gießener Hütte is open (from the beginning of July to the end of September).
Path description:
From the parking lot, we continue on the asphalt road which is closed for traffic. After few minutes of the ascent, we come to a crossroad where we continue right on a macadam road where a sign with the caption »Gießener Hütte« points us to. Left is only a short ascent to the lake Gößkarspeicher.
At the crossing, we also enter into national park High Tauern (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern). The road is all the time ascending and increasingly beautiful views start to open up towards the mountain group Reißeck. At the ascent we also few times cross a grazing fence, because by the road in the summer months also livestock is grazing. Further, we can all the time walk on the road or we go on marked shortcuts. Forest is becoming thinner and in the last part of the path towards the mountain hut, we walk by rocky terrain. Here also a nice view opens up towards the summit Hochalmspitze and on numerous streams, which run down the slope. We still continue on the road and we soon come to the hut Gießener Hütte.
From the mountain hut, we continue on a footpath which immediately above the mountain hut brings us to a crossing. Left leads the path towards the notch Mallnitzer Scharte and mountain hut Arthur von Schmid Haus, and we continue slightly right following the signs »Hochalmspitze«. A little after that easy path on the nearby peak Winterleitenkopf branches off to the right.
The path further mostly runs on rocky plates, which are at first nicely arranged so that ascent doesn't cause problems. Here we enter into the main area of national park High Tauern and after a short ascent, we come to another crossing.
Left leads the path towards the notch Lassacher Winklscharte and on Hochalmspitze on the western ridge (Detmolder Grat). At the crossing, we continue right on the path 536 named Rudolstädter Weg. On the slope where we are ascending, there are more and more rocky plates so that the footpath is poorly visible. Orientation in spite of that isn't very difficult because we get help from numerous blazes. At the ascent we several times cross smaller streams, and higher the path brings us also to two lakes.
The path further still runs mostly towards the north and brings us near the glacier Trippkees. Here we walk right from the main part of the glacier in the direction towards the part of the glacier, which is located below the wall near the towers Steinerne Mandln. For the ascent on a glacier, we will need winter equipment, we go towards the secured path which starts in a wall at the end of the glacier (marked also with a little bigger blaze).
Glacier is in the last part very steep and should not to be underestimated. In the early summer or when there's still a lot of snow, the last meters are even steeper. Additional problems could be caused by possible randkluft at the end of the glacier. In the late summer when from beneath the snow the stones show up there is also a considerable danger of falling stones.
From the edge of the glacier then follows a short almost vertical ascent on stemples, which brings us on the ledge. We continue left and we are ascending diagonally on a well-secured path. After that, the path turns right upward and is relatively steeply ascending all the way to the ridge by famous towers Steinerne Mandln. The path is here all the time well-secured.
On the ridge where a view opens up towards the glacier Hochalmkees, we continue left and then follows a short little exposed ascent by the steel cable. Ridge then becomes a little less demanding, but it isn't secured anymore and that is why some caution is still needed. Further, the ridge becomes wider and ascent isn't demanding. Because we walk on rocky plates we have to be careful a little because also some bigger rocks are not completely stable. Later, the ridge again narrows a little and then follows one more steep ascent by the steel cable. Further, the ridge is again wider and ascent doesn't cause problems anymore. Such a path then runs all the way to the secondary peak Schneewinkelspitze. Towards the main summit to which it is only few ten meters the ridge becomes again a little steeper and slightly exposed.
We can descend on the ascent route or on the western ridge where leads secured path. The path on the west side is steeper than described, but it is well secured. Usually, we will also on this path need winter equipment, but the snow field is relatively short. In late summer, it is possible, that we won't need winter equipment.
On the way: Gießener Hütte (2215m), Schneewinkelspitze (3346m)
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