Austrian mountains & ice caves by Monica Strell
We were lucky enough to visit Austria in the autumn and stay in the wonderful Salzkammergut region. We hired a car so that we could tackle some mountain adventures.
On our list was the Dachstein-Krippenstein cable car that leads up to the 5Finger viewing platform. We’d been there with my late mother on our last big family holiday when Corwin was aged 1, so it was especially nice to be able to retrace our steps.
The cable car leaves from the picturesque village of Obertraun. Our first stop was the top station. We wanted to visit the platform first to experience great views on a clear day. It took no time at all to get to the top and I always marvel at it being so easy to get all the way up a mountain. Corwin is half-Austrian and he just gets it – he’s always chuffed to travel in comfort and style.
It took 20 minutes to walk from the cable car to the 5finger platform along a nice uphill path. Perfect for Corwin to finally test his Meindl mountain boots which he had been desperate to use on a proper mountain for quite some time. We were on the cable car with a group of paragliders, so it was very exciting to see that several were lining up to take off not far from the path. I am still wondering if I should add a tandem-paragliding trip to my bucket list.
We queued a little at the viewing platform but for these incredible views…
We had our lunch on a nice bench overlooking the paragliding launch place and we had great fun just watching the paragliders.
1,000 steps in an ice cave
We also visited the Giant Ice Cave which is just further down the Krippenstein on a different day.
This is a cave we also visited with my mum and on that occasion it was physically tough; from the cable car to the station there was a steep 10 minute walk, which was followed by climbing 1000 steps inside the cave. Corwin was in the backpack so we remember it as quite a stressful adventure, but it is an important memory and we talk about it often.
This time we were really prepared for the tour. It was cold inside the cave so we’d taken extra clothing and we positioned ourselves at the front so we could hear what the guide was saying. The guide explained that we had to stick together as lights would be switched on after the group had passed through certain areas, and he mentioned the number of stairs.
This was met with some worried whispering – I guess if you come from a mountainous area you’re less worried about going uphill! But there were of a few people on the tour who hadn’t read the guidance and had arrived in sandals. We were well prepared with proper mountain footwear, including Corwin’s trusted Meindl Boots.
Since our last visit things had changed a little. In 2010 I would say the cave was relatively natural, but this time there were light shows, music and roaring bears (not real); Ben and Boris. Being very honest we preferred to be wowed by nature rather than electronics. The music was impressive but the silence of a group in awe was missing.
Another new attraction (above) – a deep suspension bridge over an abyss of ice. It was an adventure route and I put my own worries about heights aside for the sake of my 9 year old and put a brave face on!
The bridge section is very close to the end of the tour and thus the highlight. It made up for some of the disappointment earlier. We descended in style with the cable car.
Monika Strell and her family are ambassadors for one of our stockists, Little Trekkers. Little Trekkers are outdoor children’s specialists and their website is for families who love being outdoors – if you’re out and active whatever the weather throws at you, you’re their kind of customer! Browse the Meindl Junior range on their website or find inspiration on their Go Large blog, where you’ll find more articles by Monica and the rest of the LT ambassadors.