Untersulzbachtal

Neukirchen am Großvenediger

Summits and crossings:

Summits:

  • Großer Wartkopf (2.640 m)
  • Keeskogel (3.291 m)
  • Schwarzes Hörndl (3.100 m)
  • Pillewizer (3.000 m)
  • Großvenediger (3.674 m)
  • Kleinvenediger (3.471 m)
  • Hohe Fürleg (3.244 m)
  • Habachspitze (3.062 m)

Crossings:

  • via Bettlerscharte (2.050 m) into Obersulzbachtal
  • voa Zwischensulzbachtörl (2.918 m) to Obersulzbachkees glacier, possible only with full ice-gear and ropes

Rare minerals

 

The Untersulzbachtal is known for its abundance of minerals. Rock crystal, titanite, apatite, aquamarine and adularia are only a few of those found. Worldfamous and, thanks to its size, beauty and wealth of forms also unique in the world, are the deposits of epidote in the Knappenwand mining location. In 1865, Pinzgauer resident Alois Wurnitsch found the first epidote crystals in the Knappenwand. This sensational find led to a mining boom. Since 1998, the Zukunftskollegium Nationalpark Hohe Tauern in Neukirchen arranges presentations and research under the scientific supervision of Vienna University and Vienna Natural History Museum. The mining for epidote over a hundred years created a 25 m deep, 15 m high and 10 m wide cavern in the Knappenwand, which was made accessible by a narrow path. Currently, the in-situ epidote amphibolite is being exposed for display purposes.

 

Historic mining

 

Of historic and geologic interest is the former copper mine at Hochfeld, ceased in 1857. Copper was dug for here for 500 years. Part of the tunnels have been made accessible again and around 1.2 km are now open to visitors with guided tours in the exhibition mine. The copper ore was very pure in parts with minor concentrations of gold and silver, making mining even more attractive. In the outer valley area around the Blauwand mine, Celts and Romans are thought to have already mined for copper. The geological nature trail "A glance into the Tauern window" provides fascinating insights into the geology of the Tauern window.

 

 

 

Teufelsstein (Devil's stone) and glacial milk

 

The Untersulzbachkees glacier is particularly impressive as an exemplary glacier terminus. In the late glacial period (around 15,000 – 10,000 years ago) it extended into still ice-free Salzach valley. The banks of the terminal moraine can still be seen today at the Hieburg castle ruins. Erratic boulders such as west of the Rosentalwirt inn ("Teufelsstein") were once transported out of the interior of the Tauern valleys by the glacier.

 

Roaring natural monument – Untersulzbach Falls

 

The first section of the circular trail leads from Schütthof Inn (or Schiedhof) through grey alder vegetation. This is followed by montane spruce forest with a beautiful herbal layer (mossy sandwort, alpine catchfly, daisy star, Alpine butterwort). Harewood and silver birch stick to the escarpments. Further up, blueberries, wood-sorrel and Alpine coltsfoot dominate the undergrowth (acidophilous spruce forest). Here the water of Untersulzbach drops over a 50 m high cliff into a circular water cushion. The high humidity creates its own climate, in which a wide range of moss species and lichen flourish, including the yellow lichen. The crest of the circular trail above the waterfall is located at 1,000 m above sea level. The stream winds through a number of minor rapids before eventually flowing into a 200 m long gorge.

 

Walking time: Circular trail of approx. 1 ½ hour with viewing platforms.

 

Geological nature trail "A glance into the Tauern window" and Hochfeld exhibition mine.

 

The way to the exhibition mine leads either along the waterfall circular trail (very scenic) or along a wide alpine path from Einödbrücke bridge directly to the exhibition mine. The miners' house next to the tunnel entrance Hieronymus main adit level serves as an information centre and starting point for tours of the exhibition mine. Here visitors can see very clearly the tough working conditions and mining methods of mining eras past. But the mine also provides a glance into the "Tauern window", the geological formation of the Hohe Tauern in all its facets. The tunnel also provides protection and habitat to a number of living organisms.

 

Walking time: From the parking lot along the geological nature trail to the exhibtion mine, approx. 1 hour. Guided tour of exhibition mine 1 ½ to 2 hours every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Into the core area – Stockeralm to Aschamalm

 

This hike takes us along the waterfall circular trail through alpine forests into the core area of the Hohe Tauern National Park. It is the starting point for hikes to Finkalm and to Aschamalm. From there, the terrain is pathless. There is no trail to the Untersulzbachkees glacier. The alpine meadows are sprinkled with rockfall debris. Gentian, Scheuchzer's bellflower with its dark blue, drooping flowers and lemon thyme can be found here.

 

Walking time: approx. 4 hours, coming down approx. 2 hours.

 

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