Oberer Schönalmsee (2.114m) – Weißpriachtal

A dangerous dancer

The extended mountain ridge that stretches from the Tauern to the summits of the Tauernhöhe (2,328 m), Gollitschspitz (2,247 m), Gurpitschek (2,526 m), Karnereck (2,380 m) and Fanninghöhe, divides the Tweng Valley from the Weisspriach Valley.
Magnificent mountain scenery is sprinkled with beautiful lakes amidst delightful alpine pastures, one of the biggest of which is the Schönalm. Dairymaids and cowherds would tend the cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, filling the butter churns and cheese kettles week after week. On a warm summer’s night, musicians would strike up their dance music and couples would whirl through the moonlit night. The mysterious wild women would come out of their caves and mix with the dancers. Their robes were bright and delicate, their hair light and long, a fragrance like that of elder blossoms wafting in the evening breeze. The dancing was punctuated every now and then by the joyous Juschgaza yells of the young men, echoing off the surrounding mountains. But an unwelcome guest might sneak into this picture as well- a truly fiendish, unfamiliar character, perhaps, dressed in the costume of a hunter, splitting up many a couple and seducing the local beauties. It is said that many of these dancers now repent their wicked recklessness inside Satan’s Wall above Tweng. But not everyone is scared away by tales such as these for, as the local saying goes: There is no such thing as sin in the mountains!

The starting point for this hike is the car park at the turn-off for the Znachtal in the Upper Weisspriach Valley, which is easy to reach by car or on the valley bus The hike takes you along gravel path No. 770, past the Grangler Hut (1,320 m) to the trail fork at the Uln Hut (stop for the valley bus). Make a left behind the hut,
continue past the roaring waterfall and cross the Longa. After about 200 m, a marked hiking trail breaks off to the left and takes you to the Toni Mörtl Hut, where refreshments are available. Having reached the hut, you will first keep straight and then make a left, hiking past the Wirpitschsee (1,699 m) to the Lower Schönalmsee (1,893 m). From here, the trail continues to climb toward your destination, the Upper Schönalmsee (2,115 m).

Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Duration: ca. 3.5 hours to the Upper Schönalmsee
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