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The Adlerweg is a long-distance path through the limestone mountain ranges of Austria. In general, the overnight stops will be in mountain huts at moderately high altitude. By default one starts from Sankt Johann in Tirol and heads east towards the Swiss border. Our tour in July was to do the first part of the tour. That seemed enough for us. Indeed we set off using one-way airline tickets, since sundry wear and tear made us feel that we might not get very far. (Such problems did not materialise)
As last year, it was myself and friend Rosemarie doing the tour since my wife Joan's lung problem that surfaced in China now stops her tackling big mountain ascents. The route is mostly well signposted and there is at least one guide book for the route. The red markers on the map above are where my GPS-enabled camera took some photos and it includes a point at Seefeld which was after we left the mountains.
We travelled out from Stansted to Salzburg and installed ourselves in the "Muffin Hostel" in Salzburg just in time to walk over Monchsberg in daylight for an evening meal in the old town.
The day started with steady rain and for want of a suitable bus we had to take a taxi to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof. From there a train carried us to Sankt Johann in Tirol in time for some lunch before setting off in the early afternoon.
The climb started with a 4 km walk-in along a tarmac road to the Rummlerhof. Shortly after this we were on footpaths and heading up to the Diebsofen cave. Here the footpath enters an open-fronted cave undercutting a cliff and follows a curved track to emerge again. Novel!
Further along the route is the Schleier Wasserfall which falls from an overhanging cliff that has some spectacular rock-climbing routes up it.
Further still we were crossing some high meadows leading up to steep limestone cliffs. I was reminiscing about group photos being taken here when I was leading some Ramblers Holidays tours in 2003 and was persuaded to take a fashionable "selfie" with the peaks in the backgound. This could be both my first and my last such picture!
By this time we were really feeling the strain of a long first day in the Alps and we crawled into the Gaudeamus Hütte like a pair of snails. After a change of clothes, a meal and a beer we felt much better. That evening Germany was playing Argentina in the final of the World Cup and the hut (amazingly) had a projection television and a screen. Nearly everyone stayed up until after midnight to watch the match and the hut really throbbed with the cheers when Germany scored the winning goal.
Next morning we set off on a short journey to the next hut (Gruttenhütte) with a good view of the Gaudeamus Hütte below us.
The path steepens a little towards the top - now approached via some new steps that I do not remember from the previous visit.
At the Gruttenhütte we sat out a heavy rain shower in the hut. We then decided not to spend the afternoon doing an out and return along the Jubiläumssteig and instead to continue to the Hintersteiner See. The route starts along the jeep road for a short distance and then takes a interesting narrow path across a steep hillside. The path is more or less enclosed by low bushes and often involves clambering over massed bunches of roots.
Eventually one finds a more conventional track descending to the Hintersteiner See where we stopped at a more luxurious place than our usual. (See the contrasting styles of the guests on the terrace)
An odd day that did not follow the expectations of our trip. We set off past the lake and through woodlands and fields to descend a steep slope to a road. There we took a passing bus to reach Kufstein. This is an overnight stop on the plan adopted by the guide book. For us it seemed far too early to stop.
Another problem was that the next stage of the tour involved a 1350m ascent, which would be beyond our reasonable abilities so late in the day. For want of a better plan we took a bus to Mariastein and ended up spending the afternoon on a visit to the local chapel.
"Chapel" in this instance is a massive tower containing multiple chapels on it several floors, accessed by a spiral stone staircase.
The building itself towers over the village below. The building's rooms and their contents will always be memorable.
From our starting position we set off for the Kaiserhaus. This proved to be a slightly dull day spent almost totally on jeep roads and enclosed in forest and valley to the point of having no scenery. The Kaiserhaus must have presented a huge problem to many walkers on the Adlerweg. It is only an old hotel with limited accommodation to be fought over against non-walkers arriving by car. There is no other accomodation nearby!
We were lucky enough to get the last space available that day, otherwise we might have been going out on the last of two buses per day to find a bed elsewhere! As it was, we had time for a pleasant walk along the nearby Kaiserklamm, which is a specacular narrow gorge with an artificial path built along one wall.
I forgot to bring the camera with us, but there are some good views to be found here and here and here.
We certainly missed an opportunity today. With hindsight we should have taken the early bus to bypass the tarmac road all the way to Aschau and beyond. As it was we had to walk it.
Thereafter the route has a long section on dirt roads. We got a kindly ride on a pickup truck which was going up to the driver's alm beside the road.
From there we continued upwards to our high point near the Rosskogel. A little further and we could see our destination: the Bayreutherhütte or at least the distant patch of hillside where we knew it was going to be.
Rather than the direct route we turned right and descended to the Zireiner See from where the route passed through a mix of grassy hillsides then forest and again through open hillsides for the final part.
As always, it is good to get to the warmth, shelter and company that the huts provide.
An excellent day. On leaving the hut we initially had an attractive path through woodland.
This lead us to some open hillsides grazed by livestock.
A long climb took us up above the pastures and on the way we were lucky enough to get a good view of a Chamois.
The next section followed a thread-like footpath cut into steep scree above high cliffs, leading out on to a col.
There are no photos of this path - I was watching carefully where I was putting my feet.
The descent from the col took us under a crag where people in hard hats doing a via ferrata. Then onwards down through steep meadows.
Finally, as we approached the Erfurterhütte we passed under a strange cable-ride: something one might expect in a theme park but on a giant scale.
Once established in the Erfurterhütte we could sit and look back along the final part of the day's route and see the strange fairground-style cable-ride.
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