Two day hike in Gesäuse National Park, with ascent to Hochtor (2.317 m), the highest mountain in the park and Ennstal Alps and planned overnight stay at Hess-Hütte (1.700 m).
Gesäuse National Park is located in Styria and is third-largest of the six Austrian national parks, famous by the steep limestone peaks, green forests, mountain pastures, mountain huts with great views and wild waters of Enns river.
The ascent and descent from the peak is demanding, in a rocky, steep terrain (at some places with short B-ferratas) The participants should be fit, with head for heights and preferably some via ferrata experience. Some parts of the hike are not secured and somewhat exposed, which again requires concentration and sure-footedness.
Here is a link to a Youtube video to get an impression about the terrain.
The tour starts at the Kölblwirt in Johnsbach at around 900 m. Over the meadows and forest we reach Unteren Koderalm. There the path divides and we follow the path to the left towards the snow hole, which keeps snow during the whole year. As we high up white limestone walls alpine panoramas are to be seen. At some places going up we must use both feets and hands for support,
From the snow hole at 1800 m, the path becomes increasingly narrow, steeper and exposed and helmets should be used. From the peak a panoramic view to Grossglockner, Dachstein, Grimming and other peaks is possible in clear days. The descent is with similar difficulty over the well insured Josefinensteig down to the Hess hut.
The plan is to stay overnight at the hut, therefore the participants must register as sooner as possible, so the reservation can be made on time. One day hike is possible, but it requires some 3 hours (~250 km) drive from Vienna to the starting point in one direction, so it is not recommendable.
Next day, we go toward the starting point from the hut, with possible easy walks to other places in the park if there is time and interest.