On the road with the trail creators: A new path is being built
Whether at sunrise or during the day: A hike to the Hochalmspitze is always eventful and is rewarded with breathtaking views. I talked to Hans Eder, the team leader of our path makers, about the new Hochalm trail.
Hans Eder knows the peaks around Saalbach Hinterglemm better than anyone else. For many years he has been a certified hiking guide and has been guiding guests in the area. Hans leads the motivated team of our path-makers, who are responsible for working on paths in all weathers and for the maintenance and restoration of the over 400 km of hiking paths in Saalbach Hinterglemm.
I talked to Hans about the new Hochalmsteig.
What can you tell us about the Hochalmsteig? Where is the new trail located?
At the Reiterkogel. The Hochalmsteig starts in the area of the Rosswald chapel above the Rosswald hut. A new trail has been created there, partly on old paths. The Hochalmsteig begins above the forest line and leads in steep serpentines along the eastern hillside to the Hochalmspitze. Through the new trail there is now a circular route with the summit as the highlight.
Who is the Hochalmtrail suitable for?
It is an easy Alpine path, which can be easily experienced by leisurely hikers and families. Sturdy footwear is recommended. A basic level of fitness is of course required, as the terrain is relatively steep. The trail itself is not technically demanding, poles can be an advantage for the descent. The trail is perfect for nature lovers and takes about 2.5 hours to walk at a moderate pace.
What are the individual steps when creating a new hiking trail?
After the final green light has been given from all sides, my team and I start the planning with an inspection. The approximate course of the path is marked with pegs. This is followed by mowing work and the removal of branches. The actual creation of the path is then done by hand with shovel, pickaxe and rake. The aim is always to keep the impact on nature as minimal as possible.
Next to the actual path, water drains are dug, the areas around the path are planted again and stones are dug in for the later markings. Finally - where necessary - fences are erected and the path is marked with the red-white markings at certain intervals.
What were the special challenges in setting up the Hochalmsteig?
The terrain is relatively marshy in the lower area, so the route had to be adapted. When planning a route, we always try to design a trail that is as attractive as possible, that can be easily integrated into the landscape and is not too susceptible to erosion. Furthermore, care must be taken to "guide" the hikers in order to avoid shortcuts through the vegetation.
What is your outlook for the mountain summer 2020?
I have a good feeling. With the overriding premise of "keeping distance", any activity in the mountains is perfect. Hiking as an outdoor activity is becoming increasingly popular with young people and especially families. As an "old hand" I am of course particularly pleased about this. Hiking is increasingly being seen and lived as a sport again.