At 0700 I found a spot to park at Eisentratten (800m), a village on B99 between Gmünd and Krembrucke in the shadow of the autobahn high bridge connecting Italy with Salzburg. It was overcast and chilly. I warmed up on the easy gradient to Krembrucke, then turned right and climbed up a lovely gorge along whitewater to Innerkrems (1500m). Here you begin the actual climb, passing through a tollbooth where cars and motorbikes must pay. The road is well-paved with excellent switchbacks clambering up the slopes. It climbs first through forest, then onto the open grassy bald. I was quite warm from the exertion when I reached the trailhead for Eisentalhöhe and the morning sun was shining brightly, so I thought I'd continue down the short descent to Steigerhütte (1481m) in my short sleeves. Felt great but when I reached the low spot I was cold. I turned around and warmed somewhat climbing back up to Eisentalhöhe. There were many cows along the road/in the road/walking from one pasture to another, so I had to stop climbing a few times, cooling off again. Back up at Eisentalhöhe I donned my windjacket and headed rapidly downhill toward Eisentratten. Very fun descent, though tourist traffic was now picking-up.
I'd like to return and climb the opposite side from Ebene Reichenau (1095m) up to Glockenhütte (2004m), then down to Steigerhütte, or maybe up to Eisentalhöhe again. A loop along the shore of Millstäter See looks possible, though I'd try it in off-season when tourist traffic lessens.
|Cows enjoying the sun on the summit high above|
|The view west from Eisentalhöhe|
|More Nockberg peaks to the south|
|Looking down toward the meadows at Steigerhütte, |
with Schiestlscharte (2024m) in background
|Looking west again, with the Mölltaler glacier (3122m) |
now shining in the sunlight
|The complete ride|
|Climb from Innerkrems|
|Descent to Steigerhütte meadows|
|8.8% average early section of Eisentalhöhe climb|
|Reclimbing from Steigerhütte meadows up 9% average grade|