Hochkönig - the High King - (2941m P2181) is the highest mountain in the Austrian Berchtesgaden Alps. And home to this chamois:
|Arthurhaus car park|
|Mitterfeldalm - with Raucheck in the background|
There were a pair of rock climbers just about to start up the near vertical wall of what looked like from below a very high pillar of rock called Torsaule. As I ascended higher on the trail it wasn't long before I was looking down at the summit of Torsaule.
In the sunshine, I could see the Matrashutte that is right on the summit of Hochkönig. Great, I thought, I had still plenty of time to get there - and there will be a view.
|Matrashutte on the summit of Hochkönig|
In any guide book, you usually get the advice that mountain weather can change very quickly. For most of the day I had enjoyed blue skies above, although there was a cold southerly breeze and I could see clouds building up on the mountains to the south. In the time it took me to complete the final 200 metres those clouds arrived on this mountain. I didn't hang around, I didn't want to be caught in a white-out - and if it meant more snow I didn't want my ascent footsteps to be filled in. And, anyway it was now past my planned turn-round time. So, I didn't have my hoped for cup of tea - indeed, I didn't even bother to check if the Matrashutte was open or not.
As it happens, the clouds settled above the summit level and there was no precipitation of any kind (until the following morning).
The climbers were still high up on Torsaule as I passed by - despite the chilling wind and no sunshine. The chamois I saw in the morning were still feeding happily. I made it back to the car park, before it got dark - after a ten hour hike on the High King.