The Penkkopf is one of the mountains everyone’s heard about. Or should have heard about – even though there are higher, more difficult and of course steeper peaks. However, when it comes to the panorama of the Salzburger Sportwelt, then this easy to medium-difficulty hiking paradise features at the forefront. Ideal therefore, for starting off my adventure of climbing the ‘7 most beautiful peaks in the Salzburger Sportwelt’. I’ve been looking forward to it now for a long time and have prepared myself thoroughly. The past few days I could hardly wait to finally start my journey to the Alps and to get going. To stand on the Penkkopf and to look out over a sea of glittering peaks in the setting sun.
Evening hikes have their own special charm. The light is more intensive, nature’s quietening down and the peaks of the surrounding mountains blaze in a glorious red colour. But what I’ve just experienced on the Penkkopf surpasses everything. I had the feeling of being all alone in the world whilst the last rays of the setting sun broke over the ridges highlighting their shadowy outlines. That’s exactly why I came here. To make moments like this seem unending and to fuse with nature. But, first things first. Since I decided to experience this special adventure in the Salzburger Sportwelt some weeks ago, it meant full speed ahead for my preparations. The correct footwear was purchased and worn in, cosy accommodation booked and lots of information obtained from the local Tourist Offices. After all, you don’t plan to climb the ‘7 most beautiful peaks’ in a region every day. The anticipation increased day by day, yet a certain amount of doubt remained. Seven mountain tours in such a relative short space of time? Would I be able to manage it, have I planned enough rest for my body?
From Kleinarl up to the Penkkopf
Then this morning it was finally time! The big day had arrived. You don’t need an alarm clock on such a day and breakfast can’t be quick enough, and as I’d packed almost everything yesterday it didn’t even take half an hour until I was at last sitting in my car and heading off in the direction of SalzburgerLand. My beloved mountains greeted me with wonderful sunshine and captivated me anew. I periodically come here to the Salzburger Sportwelt and treat myself to a break, in order to recharge my batteries. I quickly checked into my room in Flachau, unpacked my bags and packed my rucksack for the first tour. An easy to medium-difficulty tour of around three hours is ideal for getting in the mood and getting my hiking legs back, so I quickly decided the Penkkopf should be my peak for today. In addition to its unobtrusive beauty, it is characterised by is many tour possibilities. I made my decision in advance and chose the route from Kleinarl via the quaint Kleinarler Hütte. Well then…
I parked my car right in the centre and headed off firstly along a road and then along a well-prepared gravel track uphill. This twisted its way over lush green meadows, cutting a swathe through the thick forests and I left many an alpine hut behind me. In the meantime the shadows became longer and the height of the sun gradually meant, that the day was coming to an end. After a good 1.5 hours I reached the Kleinarler Hütte and filled up my drinking bottle at the water trough there. Little animals were running around the hut – children apparently had great fun with them. Goats, hares, rabbits and even chickens were all there and showed no fear of visitors. The hut offers not only a great refreshment stop, but also an overnight stay in cosy rooms. My desire for the Kaiserschmarren on offer was great, yet I quickly left the hut behind me and made my way up to conquer the peak.
Over steep alpine pasture to the peak
The path changed drastically now. Up until now hiking was gently over firm gravel, the Penkkopf now showed its somewhat more challenging side. Gullies alternated with rocky, flat sections with steeper passages. However, it wasn’t more than a medium-difficulty hike and I enjoyed climbing over hill and dale to the full. Again and again I glimpsed back to the hut and its idyllic location amid the deep-green forest. The view half way up was also already breathtaking. To my left a bowl, in which cows spread out gently grazing, I turned to the right, the terrain broke away right near the path and boasted a splendidly open panorama of the mountains glowing in red. In relatively narrow bends I marched on upward, using my hands for support on large stones in some parts and I was very much out of breath as at the last edge suddenly the peak cross appeared in right nearby.
And so here I am, sitting on the base of the cross, savouring the view in all directions. Unbelievable how the light makes the mountains look different time and again. Peering towards the sun I can now only see the sharp contours of the outlines of the mountains, whilst the heavens above are lit up in blazing colours. If I turn away from the sun it already seems much darker, the rugged walls gleaming in a surreal red colour. A wonderful atmosphere surrounds me and I would have to lie, if I had to estimate how long I’ve been sitting here already. What’s interesting at the top of the Penkkopf is not just the fence, which runs exactly over the peak ridge separating the various alpine pasturelands, but also the beautiful wayside cross, located just a few metres below the peak. As already mentioned you can ascend from not just one direction and if you fancy, you can even reach other mountains from up here. My first peak conquest is plenty for me today, so I sit down comfortably on a stone and take out my bacon snack I brought with me and enjoy my refreshment in complete solitude.
The Penkkopf is a wonderful mountain to start off on. Not too difficult and not too easy. The direction is fine and whilst the sun steadily sets in front of me, I think about the six tours lying ahead of me. Climbing the ‘7 most beautiful peaks in the Salzburger Sportwelt’ is surely one of the greatest adventures in the mountains here and I’m glad it’s already started at last. What’s going to be the next peak? The Hochgründeck with its 300 mountain panorama. I slowly pack up my things, take a sip from my drinking bottle and descend the same way I came up. Maybe I’ll stop for that Kaiserschmarren in the Kleinarl Hütte. Who knows. I’ve certainly earned it…
What I take from the Penkkopf:
- Evening praises the day. Or something like that!
- After a evening walk you sleep even better
- In the light of the setting sun the mountains look even more beautiful
- You can always eat a Kaiserschmarren
photo credits: Peter Zeitlhofer