Fortunately the high alpine Bischofsmütze mountain with its 2,454 metre high pillars of rock doesn’t actually have to be climbed as part of the Salzburg Summit Game: Yet as “Benevolent Queen“ it has a very important role to play! On a five-hour circular tour around its foot you hike through the Queen’s kingdom and at the same time discover the wealth of this region: rare orchids line the way, patches of snow glisten in the sunshine, herbs sway in the wind and hikers are pampered by friendly alpine hut owners offering tasty delicacies.
The Bischofsmütze already fascinated me as a child: its towering shape, the rocky pillars and the characteristic double peak give the highest summit in the Goasaukamm range an enormously high recognition factor. The mountain used to form the border between the Bishopric of Salzburg and the Archduchy of Austria: the name (translates at “Bishop’s Mitre” is therefore even more important. In the year 1993 the Bischofsmütze lost a 200 m high pillar of rock: you’ll find a photo of this mighty rockfall at the Unterhofalm, one of the alpine huts which lies along this hike. However, let’s start at the beginning.
The Bischofsmütze is visible from all the peaks of the Salzburg Summit Game, thus making it an important landmark, along the lines of: the Benevolent Queen surveys her whole realm and has a close connection to her “Noblemen”. At the start of the Salzburg Summit Game I was often asked how I got the idea for this hiking project. Many things just fell into place: tales from the locals, specialities of the mountains, my own experiences and my feel for the resorts and places created a whole and the Bischofsmütze very quickly stood out as having a special position.
Geographically it lies somewhat aside from the other mountains and it is the only “female“ mountain in the region of the seven peaks. The idea that the Bischofsmütze can only be a Queen, becomes clear on a hike to the newly constructed Summit Game platform: Filzmoos features a number of power spots and that plays a part too.
You start off at the toll road to the “Hofalm“, where for the first 20 minutes you walk along the “Hofalm Nature & Hiking Trail”. Afterwards you head up to the “Marcheggsattel/Aualm“ as far as the viewing platform named the “Queen’s resting place“. This spot is indeed magically beautiful. The realm of the Benevolent Queen seems to open out in all its glory. At the viewing platform you’ll find the peak book including the ritual. This is all about opening your eyes to the little and inconspicuous things in life and to realize how valuable these are. The Benevolent Queen teaches us to look closely instead of being concerned with superficiality and to avoid comparing ourselves with others and to concentrate on the wealth in our own lives. I recommend you spend as much time as possible doing just that.
The circular tour takes a total of 5 hours and leads on further to the Aualm, where Justine Rettenwender prepares tasty farmers‘ doughnuts according to her grandmother’s recipe daily at the Kirchgasshütte. Up here between an altitude of 1,400 and 1,600 metres strictly protected flowers such as arnica, yellow lady’s slipper, common spotted orchid and butterfly orchid line the hiking path. They mustn’t be picked – unlike the herbs in the ritual!
The tour leads on further to the Hofpürglhütte at an altitude of 1,705 m: from here on it’s downhill all the way. Stop on the way down at the popular Hofalm area with its alpine huts Unterhofalm and Oberhofalm, where delicacies from the Pongau are served. My personal favourite? The Pongau meat fritters. Simply irresistible!
From here on foot or by Filzmoos Wanderbus back to the starting point, where you leave the realm of the Benevolent Queen.
Photo credits: Salzburger Sportwelt – Michael Grössinger