At the top I was confused about which of the 2 summits to climb, so I continued up the main road to Hochter, a viewing area at 2504m. Then I rode back downhill slightly, and began the hard climb up to Edelweisspitze (also signed Bikers' Point). This is a 12%-average-gradient stack of switchbacks, paved in porphyry-block, ending at 2571m. Panoramas here are unbelievable.
I put on arm and leg warmers for the descent (it was slightly above freezing up there, though sunny). The switchbacks were fun, as well as a few of the long straight plummets where there wasn't too much traffic. But for the most part it was too congested to descend at full speed. Not only cars, buses and motorcycles but quite a horde of bicycles, mostly mountain bikes and hybrids, a few fully-loaded tourers and some road bikes.
I want to return and do the climb up the south side, from Heiligenblut to the glacier at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hohe, then roll back down to the main road and continue to Edilwesspitze. Definitely recommend the Hochalpenstrasse- you've got to see it to believe it.
|Grosse Wiesbachhorn (3564m) with fresh blanket of snow|
|Snowy Hohe Dock (3348m)|
|Hochter with Hochalpenstrasse looping around it prior to descending the other side|
|Some of the upper switchbacks, with natural history museum lower right|
|Glacier below Grosse Wiesbachhorn|
|One of many glorious waterfalls|
|The valley below Hohe Dock|
|Looking back up the valley from below|
|Another noisy waterfall|
|The upper climb|
|13km of 9.5%|
|Garmin reading about 95 meters low|