14 June 2013    
Amazing Splitboard summer route to the Großglockner (highest peak of the Austrian Alps), 2000 vertical meters and perfect snow conditions. It`s worth a look.

12.06.2013, our plan is a splitboard tour to the Grossglockner and the ascent of the summit by feet, in one or two days, depending on weather conditions and personal condition.

Meeting point is the car park at the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. We store the material into one car and drive up to Franz Josef Height at 2368 meters. Arrived here we explore the area and check the ascent route, even if it is partly in clouds.

  • Which is the best way down to the Pasterze" Where do we cross the glacier?
  • Where do we want to go roped, regarding the glacier?
  • What are our distinctive waypoints?

After answering these questions and even some more, we do the mandatory equipment check, cook our pasta and prepare ourselves for the night. The night is a bit restless. We wanted to sleep in the car on the top floor of the National Parking (with panorama view to the Großglockner), but there was a bell disturbing our sleep at irregular intervals. Anyway, the night will be short and at 4:00 the alarm clock rings.

Phew, that's early, the bell has robbed us too much sleep and we start the descent to Pasterze at 6.00 o´clock in the morning, with regular weather. As in childhood, we slide down a snow field and approach the entrance into the gully which is laced by avalanche snow . After about an hour we arrive at the entry, bring our boards to split-mode and start hiking. After the first few vertical meters we mount the crampons to better move forward. Now everything fits and we feel comfortable in the high alpine areas of the Glockner group. At about 2650 meters we leave the gully and traverse to the right (north) to bypass the first crevasses zone visible on the map. On this day there is no trace of crevasses, due to the good snow conditions. Now we come to the classic Hofmannsweg, take a look at the so-called breakfast place (Frühstücksplatzl) and go on our way. Above the first prominent rocks we see a four-headed rope team.

Splitboard Großglockner on the hight of the breakfast place

Kickturn to Kickturn we split on until we meet the mountain colleagues who are already on their way down. We exchange a few words and on it goes. The terrain is steeper than expected and there are always icy passages here, so we decide to saddle on the crampons and go further on the rope. Said and done, we climb to the highest point of the first rock. Here we wanted to split on roped. Even when we could hardly see any crevasses we stayed on the rope and changed from crampons to the splitboards.

Splitboard Großglockner View to the Kapelle

Eating an apple, enjoying the view and then we go through the Kapelle. Now comes prehappyness regarding the descent. The slope of the Kapelle is huge and has a good gradient as well also there aren`t tracks except ours. Yesss we like!! At about 3050 meters we take the map out again because it just looks so inviting to the west, a bit flatter after the steep ascent through the Kapelle.

Splitboard Großglockner, north of Salkamp

Do not be fooled, we head north-west, passing the Salmkamp on the north. Otherwise you have to cross the Salmhöhe, but this would mean mounting the crampons and carrying the boards on the backpacks. So we made a good decision. North of Salmkamp you arrive, doing countless kickturns, at the Eagle's Rest (Erzhzg.-Johann hut). Steadily steeper than shown on the map.

Splitboard Großglockner, Eagels Rest and Summit

Having reached the Eagle's Rest we first make an extensive break, eat - drink and chat with the 4 mountain friends we meet there. Now we check our option of the two days tour because the summit is still surrounded by clouds. The camp in the hut looked quite OK, but "very clever" mountaineers had left lots of garbage there, so the smell rather kept us from a night's sleep in this place. "What to do? First properly chill and see if it opens up." After 3 hours of waiting at the Eagels Rest there are always short sun windows. So we go to the ski depot at the foot of the rock structure of Kleinglockner to about 3650 meters. Meanwhile, it is 17.00 clock.

Splitboard Großglockner, Whiteout and no Summit

Surrounded by wind, snow drifts, clouds and very short sun windows, we decided to make the descent, because the cloud was stuck at the Grossglockner. Regarding the descent the visibility was good and the light quite beautiful. SO COOL!  From grippy windpressed to the finest corn snow, up to brutal slush in the lower part, everything was there. A splitboard summer tour with perfect snow conditions. Once at the bottom we had to go more than 300 vertical meters back to Franz Josef Height. Stoked by the amazing descent and the vast experience we cross the Pasterze and choose the easy ascent using the stairs.

Splitboard Großglockner, exhausted at the way back to the parking

To be honest, we would have liked a lot, taking the little glacier train back to the hut. But no, they did not wait for us. The last ride was at 16.00 o´clock, now it's about 19.00 o´clock. Damn, lets go on. Shortly before 20.00 o´clock we reach the car. Meanwhile, the Grossglockner is cloud free and we can see the summit from the distance. It was a great experience splitting near the highest mountain of Austria and we look forward to the next time, reaching the summit.

Splitboard Großglockner, Overview northwest

Good to know:

  • The High Alpine Road (Hochalpenstrasse) costs 33 Euro (12.06.2013). From 18.00 o´clock just 23 €
  • The landscape is amazing.
  • The orientation on this route is easy but the tour is challenging (full glacier equipment is strongly recommended).
  • All in all you have to hike around 2000 vertical meters, and the conditions should be realy safe.
  • There is an excellent variant for the descent (around 45° ) riding the Glocknerkees (Lammerkees).
  • Best place to sleep is outside the parking, if not you will be disturbed by the mentioned bell.

Thanks to Völkl, Goodboards, Spark R&D, Deeluxe, Voile, Black Diamond and you, our audience.

And well, something to our favor, if you want to share some splitboard adventures or routes, don`t be shy, just do it at our forum.Thanks again