Below are some photographs of my recent visit to the Glemmtal area of Salzburgerland, the Austrian region abutting the German frontier and containing some of the country’s most picturesque scenery. Despite a relative absence of the raw, rugged terrain more redolent with the Tirolean resorts of Obergurgl, St. Anton and Galtuer, a surprising amount of the walking routes demand an element of technical expertise although trails for all abilities are abundant.
When one thinks of high-altitude landscapes thoughts inevitable associate the height above sea-level with the degree of difficulty of the marked paths – this though is rarely the case. Much of the walking above Obergurgl isn’t difficult but the reduction in oxygen can hamper even the most experienced trekker once an elevation in access of 2000 metres(7000 feet) has been reached. St. Anton does place significant demands on seasoned walkers but is situated at village-level nearly 2000 feet lower than Obergurgl. The walking around and above Saalbach and its satellite settlement Hinterglemm certainly surprised me due to the unique nature of its distinctive topography, much of which consisted of steep undulations that meant a peak to peak traverse commonly involved dropping several hundred metres just to hike back up to the next summit, often topping out only a few metres higher than the previous ‘gipfel’. This could be disheartening and taxing, especially during the recent Central European heatwave where altitude didn’t necessarily mean welcome relief from the heat. A more pleasing ridge walk accessible from the Zwoelferkogel cableway was eventually sourced although the nascent stages also involved an initial drop in height before a comparatively level marked path afforded panoramic views that ranged from a dramatic overview of the Glemmtal above Hinterglemm and Lengau to the 3000+ metres ‘big beasts’, including the distant Carinthia-based Grossglockner.
An absence of a defined treeline in some areas of the Glemm Valley ensured that I sadly failed to hear a Cuckoo, an aural mainstay of most of my May-July expeditions throughout the Tirol and Salzburgerland. A comparative dearth of ornithology during my trip was perhaps surprising and whilst I didn’t anticipate a Finkenberg-like avian bonanza, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, Dippers and the omnipresent Redstart nevertheless provided agreeable companionship along the way.
Looking back towards Hinterglemm from the Reiterkogelbahn top station
High-altitude stopping off point two hours from the Zwoelferkogel top station
Vista of Hinterglemm taken close to the Zwoelferkogel middle station
Mountains above Leogang, taken from the Asitzbahn cableway top station
My accommodation, the Hotel Saalbacher Hof
Late lying snow much in evidence, even in late-June

                                                                All photographs are © C. Bowman 2015