The High Altitude Promenade is one of the classic walks on the Schmittenhohe and one I just had to do before the end of my holiday.
The usual route up is to take the cable car to the summit of the Schmittenhohe, but I had already used my ticket for this ride so I had to find an alternative. I used the smaller Sonnenalmbahn gondola to take me up to the almhouse and then the chair lift to take me to the summit of Sonnkogel at 1856 metres.
It was cloudy when I set out but at the summit I was above the clouds and a beautiful panorama was set out before me.
The route led along the ridge to the summit of Schmittenhohe at 1965 m. and the signpost indicated that it would take me about 40 minutes each way. It is advertised as a family walk with plenty of activities to keep children occupied. I would also pass a couple of the ‘Art on the mountain’ sculptures.
Close to the chair lift was the first of the sculptures entitled Stoanerne Frauen und Manderleit. To me they were a collection of cairns.
Erika Inger portrays and dramatizes alpine traditions in her work. Natural materials are artfully transformed into path markers and wayfinders sprinkled across open spaces. She placed them in a specially selected spot in nature, a natural hollow in the mountain used for traversing from one area in nature to another. The multi-layered stone columns are filled with earth, thus plants and animals can take up occupancy inside them. Nature and art complement each other like rhythm and melody.
I passed on by and soon came to the second ‘piece of art’. Ka Luft Mehr.
The disparity between geometric and organic forms leaves its mark on this sculpture by Michael Printschler each work being from a single trunk. The amorphous motifs are planed smooth contrasting starkly with the raw body of wood.
That was enough “ART” for today and I could now concentrate on my walk and that magic feeling of being above the clouds.
I passed many of the wooded sculptures designed to keep the children happy, animals, insects and fungi.
The adults were not left out as there were theme-orientated signs about edible berries and culinary herbs.
I reached the Hochzelleralm much later than expected and called in for a hot coffee. It was a chilly 8 degrees here at almost 2000 metres.
Suitably refreshed it was time to head back.
Just below the summit ridge were some solid stone walls. These stone walls were erected in the years 1890 – 1900 by Italian stone masons to protect against avalanches. They serve to hold back the snowdrifts and also influence the deposition of snow in areas adjacent to the ridge line preventing the formation of cornices on the Zell flank. Today, retaining fences of stretched nets are used.
I walked back along my outward route keeping my eyes open for wild flowers that flanked the footpath.
I saw plenty of different species including a couple of orchids.
I paused at one of the viewing platforms to admire the view down to the lake through the clouds.
By the time I got back to Sonnkogel the clouds were lifting and there was blue sky overhead.
Just the excuse I needed to visit the Bergrestaurant for a refreshing pint and a last chance to take in the view.
Back home I have stitched a few images together to create panoramas to remind my of the day.