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Skiing tour Rax-Heukuppe


Preiner Gscheid - Heukuppe (Styria)

Approach: S6 Exit Gloggnitz, B27 to Reichenau, left to Preiner Gscheid ... or S6 Exit Mürzzuschlag and through Kappellen (B23).
Altitude difference:
Walking time: ascent about 4 hours, descent about one hour.
Schwierigkeit: Karlgraben (easy), Gretchensteig (only possible if not very much snow, medium), Reißtalersteig (impossible in winter).

Schneeberg and Rax are the most popular mountains of the Viennese. In summer these two limestone-plateaus are overrunned by hikers and climbers. In winter these mountains are one of the most popular backcountry skiing (alpine touring skiing) regions for the Viennese people.

The classical skiing tours at Schneeberg (the highest mountain of Lower Austria with an elevation of 2076m) are the Wurzengraben in the west and the very steep Breite Riess at the east face of the mountain. The most popular skiing tours at Mt. Rax are starting at a pass named Preiner Gscheid (1070m).

We decided us for the skiing tour through the Karlgraben (Charles valley) between the two mountain huts of Waxriegelhaus and Karl-Ludwig-Haus. Normally you ascent trough the Karlgraben to the Karl-Ludwig-Haus (that's the same route as you go down), but because of the bad snow situation, we decided to try to climb directly to the highest summit of the Rax plateau, called Heukuppe (2007m). We went to the mountain hut Reißtalerhuette and then choose the Gretchensteig (name of the trail) to reach the plateau.

After we arrived safely at Heukuppe, we were skiing down the Karlgraben as planned.

For the ascent at this route, you will need between 3 and 4 hours, the descent is made in little bit more than one hour. This times include long rests and enough time to enjoy the landscape.


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Because of the bad snow situation, we had to carry our skies on our backs.

At the way to Reisstalerhuette.

The steep rock face on the south side of the plateau appear. This plateau is surrounded by steep rock faces and there are only a few ascents without climbing.


Below the rock face.

We tried to reach the plateau through this gap in the rock face.

At the way to the plateau.

View to Schneeberg.

Ascending Heukuppe.

View from Heukuppe over a part of the Rax plateau and to Schneeberg (background).

When skiing down to Karl-Ludwig-Haus, we had to search for every single snow patch.

In the steep Karlgraben, we found more snow than on the plateau.

Nice run, bad snow.

Where are the ski runs?

From the saddle at Karl-Ludwig-Haus (green arrow), you can choose the Karlgraben (red arrow) or you cross to the next valley (blue arrow), where you often find better snow.





(c) stefan eisenbach | | stefan [at]