Stubeck – Panoramic peak in The Nock mountains
This is a pretty easy tour that most of you will be able to walk. Along forest roads and smooth paths you will reach the summit. From the top of the mountain you’ll have a fantastic view over the Nockberge and Carinthia all the way to Italy and Slowenia. It takes a bit of time to get to the Frido-Kordon-Cabin. But that means that you will start at an pretty high level and therefore don’t have to climb too many feet in elevation. Since you will be walking in open terrain most of the time, this is the perfect tour for late spring or fall. During the summer months it can get rather hot here.
- difference in elevation: 2300 feet
- length: approx. 7.5 miles
- walking time: 5 hours
Around mid-September I spent a couple of days at my friends house at the lake Milstatt. I just had three days and actually hadn’t planned to go on a tour. But my friends told me that I can’t visit Carinthia without having climbed a mountain, so I decided to go anyway. As always when I am spending time there I trusted the locals on their recommendation and had a real great time on the mountain.
Frido-Kordon-Cabin, the starting point
When you reach Gmünd, the smallest town in Carinthia, you have the choice of driving through the town center and make a left turn right behind the second town gate. Or you take the bypass-road and take a right in front of the then first gate. That’s what I would recommend since the turn is easily overlooked and the sign to the Frido-Kordon-Hütte is not as big that you will see it right away. The road gets very narrow quickly and there are only a few places where you can let oncoming traffic pass. After what feels like an eternity the paved road ends and becomes a gravel road. At least this is broad enough for two cars. From downtown Gmünd it’ll take you easily 30 minutes to get to the starting point of this tour.
The Frido-Kordon-Hütte sits on 5400 feet in the middle of a forest. Up here there are a few more cabins hidden in the trees. Looks almost like a small village. On some of the cabins I can see signs with phone numbers. Apparently you can rent them. You surely will pass relaxing days in absolute silence here on the mountain. The choice of hikes will make your stay diversified. It’s a monday and the Frido-Kordon-Cabin is closed. Too bad, I was looking forward to a rest and refreshment after my hike. I have to admit that this time I wasn’t well prepared and didn’t bring a map. But here in Carinthia they have put up enough signs, so you won’t get lost, when you don’t have a map.
The entry to this tour is easily found. Allthough I can just see the sign but no path. So I just walk across the grass following the direction of the sign. When I reach the forest I do find a path, so I guess I’m on the right track. This path now runs a bit steeper straight up the hill. But not too long and just a few moments later I have passed the steepest part of this tour. Since I started on a high elevation I soon can enjoy the first panoramic views of the surrounding. In the far I can see the snow covered peaks of the Ankogel group already being part of the national park of the Hohe Tauern.
Already I am again completely fascinated by the peaks and the scenery around me. Soon I have left the woods behind me and am walking over soft pastures, which gives me the chance to admire the panorama now all the time. I can’t see any other people around, so this is social distancing in a good way. Real quick I leave all those thoughts of the raging pandemic behind me and just enjoy nature and the clean, crisp air. It is always a big pleasure to be walking in such a great surrounding.
The track keeps running uphill along pastures that already show the first coulours of autumn. Since I have left the parking lot I haven’t seen a single soul. At least there are still a few cows grazing. To my left new peaks are coming into my vision. I will save them for the next time. The sumit of the Stubeck that now thrones above me looks not very specatcular. But that’s typical for the Nock mountains. No massive rock walls. But usually a great panoramic view form the top.
The track continues uphill along those pastures. That’s a comfortable hike on this soft floor. The weather is picture perfect just the view to the far could be a bit clearer. I can see the peaks rather well, but in the far the view gets a bit misty. On the other hand there are quiet few miles in between. Exactly from this far away mountains I can suddenly hear a buzzing noise that is getting louder in no time. A few seconds later two fighter jets are flying over my head. I am asking myself where they start and land. By the time they have reached their operating altitude they already must have crossed the border.
Shortly after I reach a farm track. I now have the choice. If I would be in a hurry, I could continue straight up the mountain and reach the summit in no time. But I want to enjoy this beautiful hike for as long as it is possible. So I take a left and follow this farm track. I assume that this will bring me in a long loop to the top. It leads alomst even along the side of the mountain and so my hike becomes a leisurely stroll.
A lonesome larch already shows it’s fall colours, the other trees are still green. From time to time I can still see flowers in bloom. The trees are getting more and more scarce and there is just grass around me. I guess that meanwhile I have reached an height of around 6500 feet. Since the summit only has some 7500 feet there is not much more height to be gained. This is really an easy tour. When I think of the challenges that the peaks in the Karwendel region offer in comparison.
Again I do reach a turn where I could shorten the ascent to the summit. I decide to stay on the farm track and follow the sign to the Torscharte. Behind a curve there suddenly sits this small hut. A pretty idyllic sight with the summit of the Wandspitze towering behind. But when I think of the poor herdsman that has to spend his summer up here, I pity him. This hut is really tiny and has to withstand every single storm without much protection.
The last portion of the ascent
In front of me now opens the view to the summits of Poisnig, Wandspitze, Reitereck and Glockwandscharte. At the bottom of these mountains that do offer impressive rock walls, a path is running along. Looks like this one is coming up from the Malta valley. To cross those peaks seems to be just one of those challenges I am usually seeking. When I reach the Torscharte I can see the sign showing the track to these summits. So I could make this tour starting at the Frido-Kordon-Cabin. But when a track is marked as black it usually has a meaning. I put this tour on my bucket list for my next stay.
From the Torscharte the path leads uphill to the right. From here I still have to climb 1150 feet to the summit. But the track seems to rise leisurely. I now have this impressive rock wall in my back. The pasture in front of me is glowing in red. That are lingonberry bushes that already wear their fall leaves. A few berries are still hanging on them. I could easily pick a few pounds and cook some jam at home.
When I look to the south I can now see the peaks of the Julian Alps coming out of the clouds. A great view even when the sight is not really clear. In my back the snow covered peaks of the Ankogel group are coming up behind te Faschaunereck. A few minutes earlier I did come across three other hikers. But I have left them behind quickly and can’t see them anymore. The temperature is rather pleasant and so I don’t start to sweat during this ascent.
And then it’s done. Once again I am standing on top of a peak and as always I have this feeling of freedom. The panorama is breathtaking. To the north the Hohe Tauern, to the east the Nock mountains and to the south the view goes form the Karawanken in Slowenia to the Juilan Alps in Italy. Before I start descending I sit down in the gras and just enjoy. Today again I have the summit all to myself.
The descent along alpine pastures
After I have enjoyd the silence for quite a while the time has come to start the descent. For this I choose the more direct path leading back to the Frido-Kordon-Cabin. On this side too the track leads straight over the pastures and is not declining too steeply downhill. So the descent is a leisurely stroll, too. Bright sunshine, fresh mountain air, what else do you need to be happy?
In the meadow below me I can see the rest of a wall. Apparently there has been a hut at one point. I can imagine that the animals love this southernly exposed slope in the summer. But here they can’t hardly find any shade. When it’s getting hot, they have to endure the heat. I keep strolling downhill and think that it woud be great to have a cabin at hand for a refereshment. Looks like that I have to miss out on this today.
For a last time I can see the peaks of the Ankogel group and the Wandspitze. When I look back to the summit I realise that I am loosing height real fast. When I continue this way I probably have reachd my car in about an hour. Too bad. I could stay a bit longer. So let’s see what this tour still has in store for me. Maybe I can still find an open cabin on this mountain.
A good reason for a detour – the Wölflbauerhütte
Shortly after I do reach the timberline and I am walking in the shadow from time to time. There still is enough gras growing to allow the cattle a few more days up here on the mountain. The path still runs straight towards the valley. It can’t be that far anymore to get to my car. But then there crosses another forest road and there I see a sign to the Wölflbauerhütte. Will I get my refreshment after the tour? The signs says it’s only 20 minutes. That’s a detour I am happy to take.
The trail leads through the woods. Here I can make out some cabins hidden in the trees. And a short time after I do see the cabin. Like an aerie it is hanging above the slope. This baclony is quite impressive. It seems that they are open. That means I will get a snack and a drink at the Wölfbauerhütte. The perfect ending for this tour. The cabin looks pretty new and the view of the Tschiernock is fabulous. I choose a cooked sausage as snack. It tastes great.
From the Wölfbauerhütte it’s only a ten minute walk back to the Frido-Kordon-Cabin where my car is parked. There are even more huts in the woods. One of them even has a satellite dish. Is there someone living permanently? Some of those cabins look pretty modern so I doubt that they are just being used for vacation purposes. But who want to live here permanently?
So another beautiful mountain tour comes to an end. One that wasn’t planned and expected. But aren’t those spontaneous surprises not the best ones?