Wunderschönes Saulajoch with wild rhododendrons
This is one of our favorite walks, taking you as it does to the
gorgeous Saulajoch. (For more on that, keep reading.) We've often
noticed that it is gorgeous from beginning to end.
The walk has several variants and can be taken in either direction, which in this case changes the way it looks quite a lot. We took the Saulajochsteig in each direction when we climbed the Saulakopf. To go to the Heinrich Hueter Hütte or just to loop over the Sauljoch, we prefer the counter-clockwise direction, starting with the Lünerkrinne. So we'll describe this version.
Start by going east (up) from the Douglass Hütte, climbing the
12 zigzags. After
you reach the highest spot on that walk, go thru the gate and take the
left fork over rocks and thru dwarf pine, towards the Lünerkrinne.
On the way up to the pass, there are lots of beautiful flowers:
fields of Enzian, Türkenbund lilies, etc.
| On our way to Lünerkrinne pass, walking along the ribbed slope of the spectacular mountain ridge.
From the Lünerkrinne, the view is quite beautiful down
towards the Gipsköpfle and on towards Zimba. We have decided that
the really characteristic "signature" mountain of this area is the
craggy, upward-soaring Zimba, and not at all the higher but less
spectacular Scesaplana. The path descends rather steeply from the
Lünerkrinne and then starts climbing a little up towards the low,
round top of the Gipsköpfle. Shortly before that, there are
wonderful sloping meadows full of all kinds of flowers, making for a
really colorul spectacle on a sunny day. (Once, on this path, Siv
met and started petting a small cow; in return, the cow licked her
knees. It seems a cow's tongue is even more like sandpaper than
that of a cat.)
|Yellow Enzian, Gelber Enzian, which you have to be there early in the summer to see in full bloom.
||After the Lünerkrinne pass you walk along a moutain side where there are kindly cows in with the Murmeltiere.
There are also marmots (Murmeltiere) here. Once, we
heard one screaching his warning cry. We never did see him, but his cry
accompanied us for a good 10 minutes. Other times, we've seen and even
stopped and watched them.
|The path from Lünerkrinne towards green Gipsköpfle
with Zimba in the background, for once not in the clouds.
||The Königersteig (as we call it), the shortcut from Gipsköpfle to Saulajoch,
with Saulakopf in the background.
From the Gipsköpfle, the view over the Heinrich Hueter Hütte is breathtaking. The hut lies on a green slope below the rock wall leading up to Zimba. You can barely make out the zigzag path up the wall. It's not a walk we would even dream of making.
Now, one either descends past a large crater and then down to the Heinrich Hueter Hütte, or one turns left and climbs the Saulasteig to the Saulajoch.
If you choose to go the the Heinrich Hueter Hütte, you descend directly to the hut. It's a very pleasant hut with a large wooden terrace. They used to have the best Kaiserschmarren in the area, but the last time we were there they didn't have it any more. I hope they have corrected this lamentable error. After lunch and a rest and lots of admiration of the views, one makes a long, relatively steep climb up to the Saulajoch.
Meanwhile, back at the Gipsköpfle, one may also decide to go straight up to the Saulajoch. This piece of path is quite steep. There are rocky places where Trittsicherheit (sure-footedness) is definitely erforderlich (necessary). There also is a steep part where the path is composed only of small, sliding stones, where you must be very sure of foot -- or crawl.
Arriving at the Saulajoch is like arriving in paradise. This
"valley", a flat-bottomed, saddel-shaped pass, is absolutey beautiful
-- especially when the sun is shining and it is not full of sun-tanning
people. The fields full of flowers are wonderful and we almost
always get a chance to watch
Murmeltiere here. One can always find a comfortable rock to sit on near some
beautiful flowers to rest and eat lunch. Leaving it is
|A myriad of Alpenrosen at the very beginning of the Königersteig
||Silberwurz covering the ground in the Saulajoch
This walk is a paradise for flower lovers. If you get there late in
August the Silberwurz may be gone and all you see is myriads of the
jagged little leaves. But the pink and blue small gentians seem to last
throughout the summer. And also the Alpenrosen, the wild rhododendrons
correctly called Almrausch, Rhododendron ferrugineum or hirsutum
according to the different shades of pink.
|Pink gentians, which you see in huge numbers on this walk. Deutscher Kleinenzian probably.
||Saulajoch looking west towards Schesaplana
|We very often see Murmeltiere - marmots - in this valley.
||Troddelblumen, Soldanella alpina, gorgeous pink little bells
|Intensely blue gentians (Schnee-Enzian maybe)
||Silberwurz close up in the Saulajoch
From the middle of the Saulajoch, more (very) energetic walkers can climb up to the Saulakopf and back down again.
Afterwards, one heads on over to the western side of the pass.
After admiring the view over the Brandnertal, one descends the
Saulajochsteig, a path chipped out of the mountain face and
looking from the Lünerseebahn like only mountain goats could use it.
Actually, it's quite a beautiful path for people, too. But it is
chipped out of the mountain side. In places where you have to scramble
over the rock, cables have been installed to ensure that you can hang
on to something. Walking sticks are sometimes useful and sometimes a
hindrance, when you need both hands to hang onto the rock.
|Setting out on the Saulajochsteig, right after leaving the Joch.||You may not see the path, but actually there is one, more or less.
There are also cables to hold on to when the walking gets rough.
|The Saulajochsteig and a glimpse of the dam at the Lünersee
||Looking down from the Saulajochsteig to the Lünersee parking lot
Unfortunately, the path goes down below the level of the dam and
therefore must come back up at the end, a fairly discouraging prospect
if you're really tired by then. But all's well that ends well and this
walk is both beautiful and spectacular, so very rewarding.