A four-day alpine hike
Complete traverse of the Dead Mountains with an ascent to the highest mountain Grosser Priel. Experience for three boys (11, 8, 8) and one girl (10). Accommodation in cottages Welserhütte, Prielschutzhaus, Pühringerhütte. Swimming in Lake Elmsee and lots of nice reactions to our expedition. End of July 2018.
I have been to the Dead Mountains before, they are relatively accessible from the Czech Republic (4.5 hours by car from Prague). It occurred to me last year to cross this mountain range with children, when I completed it myself. The basis of the plan was to park one car to the finish line to Almsee and lead the route in the direction of the smaller elevation. So two cars, four children, two moms. The children managed the whole transition with an overview, but it is true that they are children used to walking and climbing a bit. I went the other half of the way alone with the boys, because Hanka got her knee wet.
Day 1: Almtalerhaus - Welserhütte
7 km, 1000 m elevation gain
Early in the morning departure from the Czech Republic and on the spot „box“ with cars (it takes about 40 minutes for them; at the start and at the finish you can park for a few days without any problems). The Almtalerhaus is a pub, the journey starts right at it. The children were given soup, and before they could bathe in the creek, we set off. From the car park, head along the creek, after about an hour you will reach the supply cable car for the Welserhütte, and from there the path winds picturesquely upwards. When the growth is over, you go with rubble and rocks secured with chains. At the very beginning, the boys set such a pace that we naturally split into two groups, and so it remained. We were at the cottage two hours earlier than I had planned, the climb took us three hours.
Road to Welserhütte
The beautiful weather lasted us the whole four days on the first afternoon, in fact we completed the whole transition in shorts and a T-shirt.
Modern cottage at an altitude of 1700 m. In the background you can see the saddle from which you climb the Grosser Priel. Accommodation in classic lagers, or smaller rooms for 8 – 10 people. You have a discount with Alpeverein, but expect to spend on food and drink, it is generally good not to recalculate in alpine huts. At night we were woken up by an unexpected incident, the eleven-year-old son fell off the bunk, fortunately nothing happened to him.
Day 2: Welserhütte - Grosser Priel - Prielschutzhaus
8 km, 700 m up, 1100 m down
Two and a half hours ascent from Welserhütte to the highest mountain of the Dead Mountains. In the last section of the way to the top there is a fairly exposed ridge with nice views. The descent to the Prielschutzhaus means going down a thousand meters, quite steeply. In the upper parts, the path is secured by a curler (to hold), followed by rubble and stones, short snow fields, from about the elevation of 1700 only a pleasant forest path to the cottage. It took us about three and a half hours to get down, we were at the cottage around two o'clock. The girls arrived in the evening, Hanka with a knee pain, it looks like she can't go with it. We started to deal with possibilities. Probable scenario for the morning: Hanka will meet in Hinterstoder and try to get to the car somehow, which will be quite a fight due to the distance and the possibility of transport, I will finish the transition with the children according to the plan.
Friday morning. We climb the Grosser Priel.
We climb the Grosser Priel. One ladder and some kleter to hold. The normal from the other side (the one we went down it) and also the ferrata (difficulty D) lead to the top. The ferrata is run relatively steeply along the rock massif – the system of ladders alternated with long traverses, partly in the overhang, is quite long (2100 m), the sun leans against your back all the time while climbing. I would not take children to the ferrata, on the one hand it is demanding on the hands, on the other hand they would not reach the cage in many places.
Grosser Priel - 2515 m
It is necessary to take a picture of the cross. Good performance, gentlemen.
Day 3: Prielschutzhaus - Pühringerhütte
12 km, 750 m up, 400 m down
The knee didn't get clear overnight, Hanka got a „taxi“, just come down to him. In the end, Adélka did not want to leave her mother, allegedly also because she would not be enough for the boys, given that I know this young lady a little, I am convinced of the exact opposite, but we left the decision to her. So only me and the boys go the other half of the way. Last year I went this transition in the opposite direction, it gives a person a completely different comfort in deciding when he knows the way. We climb to the saddle between Brotfall and Spitzmauer on a pleasant path kneeling, then we climb a long traverse through the plateau, over flats of limestone, small rocks and stones. Infinite lunar landscape. The total length of today's route is about twelve kilometers, which is quite a lot in challenging mountain terrain. None of the boys had ever complained once, they set their usual pace of mountain jets. The path is perfectly marked and sometimes a bunch of flowers peeks out of it. You walk over Hohe Kogel (2070 m) and Rote Kogel, where vegetation and kneeling are already beginning. There is a steep descent, about 300 meters above sea level, and you are not far from the cottage, the last kilometer leads the path through a meadow full of flowers. It is said that our reputation precedes us in the cottages, we learned from two groups that we met on the way. Recognized looks and kind words. You will be really pleased, especially when the third day has a head like a balloon from the way the boys do not close their mouths. The oldest eleven-year-old rolls forward to it in such a way that I finally loaded all his and my brother's things on his back, it helped a little. At two o'clock we are at the cottage, the cottage goes out to the terrace and shakes my hand in greeting. We drink lemonade with the boys and head straight for Lake Elmsee. We have all afternoon to rest. In these cottages, they have cards for children and wine for mothers. You can take photos well and write an article on your mobile phone, it doesn't matter that it takes time, because you have nothing else to do. The boys are shouting terribly at the cards, a fresh surge of energy has arrived. That I would sit next to me?
View into the saddle
Spitzmauer (left) and Brotfall (right). This is the way from the Prielschutzhaus to the Dead Mountains plateau and to the Pühringerhütte. It is about 600 meters high from the Prielschutzhaus.
Spitzmauer - 2446 m, the second highest mountain in the Dead Mountains
And this is how I have them in front of me. They are really exemplary here.
Saddle at Spitzmauer
Climbed to a height of two thousand meters. The growth has disappeared. A plateau in front of us.
Traverse the plateau
The boys are really fast, I can't take pictures, the oldest is already loaded in his backpack so that he doesn't run away.
Arrival to the Pühringerhütte
The cottage is visible only at the last moment, from the rocks above it you can only guess where it is located. It's Saturday, they will be full here today.
Elmsee in Pühringerhütte
I thought I'd put a decent photo of the lake with the surrounding flora here, but this one is better. The water in the lake is pretty cold.
Day 4: Puhringerhutte - Almsee
10 km, 1000 m down
Four and a half hours long descent. The boys got up without blinking shortly after six, quickly packed, and I would love to set off again. Hemenex for breakfast. I remember the frying pans on which they brought it to us from five years ago. At breakfast I talk about what it means wet rock, because it rained heavily at night, so „we will not race, especially on the ladders and the cage …“ I was surprised at how badly I remembered how many of those ladders were there in the end (at least ten), quite a few secured places. The boys tried hard, even coordinating themselves on the ladders. The fog quickly rose up from the valley and another steamy day began. We come to the road to the lake, from where Hanka and Adelka go opposite us. The trip is over, I think it worked.
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