The Freiungen Höhenweg is a “black” rated trail above Seefeld in Tyrol, Austria in the Karwendel region. The hike is very exposed, you definitely need to be sure-footed to go this route. Most of the hike you can look down to a 2000m drop, but the views are spectacular and completely worth risking life and limb 😉
We hiked from the Härmelekopf to the Nördlinger Hütte first and stopped for a drink at the cabin. The hike to the Nördlinger Hütte is one of my favorites in Tirol (I will have to make a post about it in the near future). The views are amazing on the way to the cabin, you can see all the way down the Inn valley to Telfs, you have a view of the little village of Seefeld and gorgeous mountains everywhere. The cabin is a cute, traditional cabin and they have excellent Kaiserschmarrn (a traditional Tyrolean dish similar to pancakes, ask for no raisins if you don’t like them ;)), once you hike up over the hill behind the cabin your jaw will drop, mountains jut up out of the earth everywhere as far as you can see (and you can see all the way to Germany from there).
We started the Freiungen tour just over the mountain from the Nördlinger Hütte. You can see the trail from the back of the cabin.
The tour starts out easy but gets a little difficult once you reach the first obstacle, which is a large metal rope you need to climb up. Woo-hoo I made it!
We met some mountain sheep friends on our way!
The entire hike (From the Härmelekopf to Hochzirl) took us about nine hours but we took a few breaks to have a snack and stop and smell the alpine flowers.
We lost the trail for a while and had to explore a little to find it again. It turned out the trail marker fell down a rock fall, we eventually found the path again but only after finding the fallen trail marker… The path is marked with stones sprayed with red and white paint (for the Austrian flag of course!). There are also cairns (a small pile of rocks) all over to mark the way.
The little pink dot is me!
There were many points throughout the trail with metal ropes attached to the wall, this made us feel a little bit safer, until we reached one that came out of the wall when you grabbed it! Whew, scary stuff. Never rely completely on those ropes.
We were way up in the mountains, but not too high for a beautiful black bird to join us, they have bright orange beaks and yellow feet, I wish I knew what they were called..
About three quarters of the way into our hike we met some more sheepy friends, these guys had spray painted butts. Please note, the sheep are not trail markers, although they are painted in a similar way. 😛 We didn’t take the trail shown in the picture, we took a trail to the left of this headed towards the Solsteinhaus.
We hiked the Freiungen trail the end of June but we still ran into a little snow!
My phone ended up dying but there was even a point where we had to cross an icy, snowy path about four meters wide! After getting lost a little we finally saw the Solsteinhaus and new we were heading in the right direction. We had been hiking for hours and hours but the sheep and birds (and one chamoir!) were the only other living creatures we met on the trail, talk about tranquility! Once we made it to the cabin we had something to eat, some beers and Radlers (beer mixed with Sprite, it’s great, just try it!) then hiked down to Hochzirl and took the train home. It was definitely an adventure, a gorgeous hike, sometimes scary but always exciting!