• The "Pongau Matterhorn"

    The "Pongau Matterhorn"

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An amazing hike for enterprising and experienced mountaineers. We did a recon up the majestic Faulkogel (2654 m) for you. Find out all about the climb and our experiences in my blog post.

We meet at 6:30 am at the tourist office in Flachau, for where can see our destination, lit up in the early morning sunlight: the Faulkogel, or as Andreas calls it, the "Pongau Matterhorn".

The routes starts in the beautiful Marbachtal valley

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

We set off from Marbachtal valley. You start along a beautiful forest road in the heart of the SalzburgerLand alpine pastureland, past cows in the pastures, along streams and across lush meadows. It's hard to believe you're only 10 minutes away from the Flachauwinkl motorway exit – there is no traffic noise; no sounds except for birdsong (and cow bells!). In other words, this is the perfect place to switch off and relax. Not for nothing is this where the legendary skier Hermann Maier revitalises and re-energises.

An easy start, and then comes the first climb.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

After around 30 minutes and 3 km along the forest road, we turn right into the woods and climb up to a hut. We pass the Marbachalm and Ursprungalm farms. The route then winds steadily uphill, secured with a rope in some places but still a beautiful hiking trail.

Flachau Tourist Association manages and monitors this trail, regularly redoing the route markings and checking the path after heavy rainfall. We saw the hardworking gang out and about on our hike today.

Woooooow! What a view!

Around 1000 m up, we take a look back down into the valley where we started. What a view over Marbachtal.

From here, you could continue on to Franz-Fischer-Hütte hut, head up the Mosermandl or over it to Tappenkarsee lake.

A short break between rocky crags & alpine pastures.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

Today, however, we are climbing Flachau's highest peak, the Faulkogel. We take a short break at the bottom of the east face of the mountain. The contrast between crags and alpine pasture is breathtaking. From this point, you can clearly see the south face of the Dachstein and the Schladminger Tauern range.

From the Hochkönig to the Hohe Tauern – mountains as far as the eye can see.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

We then head on to Neukarscharte col, with views of Kleinarl, the Hochkönig and the Hohe Tauern mountains. A perfect panorama of the hills of SalzburgerLand.

Just a few metres higher and the terrain gets rockier; we cross the north ridge (Nordgrat) to an easy access point to the crags. We put on our helmets, as we are heading up a chimney and the rock is getting more brittle.

You need to be sure-footed and have a head for heights.

But you do not need a via ferrata kit. The trail is clearly marked, and roped in some places. However, the climb up the rock is nonetheless very challenging. After a total ascent of around 250 m, you are rewarded with amazing views of the Salzburg, Styrian and Tyrolean mountains.

You need to be fit and must have an excellent head for heights, as there are some very steep and deep drops.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

We did it!

After a total ascent of 1550 metres and a hike of 7.5 kilometres, a narrow ridge leads the summit of the Faulkogel. What a panorama – simply magnificent.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

Time to head down.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

Particular care is needed on the loose stones on the way down, but the rope support along the route is a great help. The descent follows the same route as the ascent.

Cooling off in Neukarsee lake.

On the way down, you'll suddenly come upon Neukarsee lake hidden in a dip in the landscape. This is the perfect place to cool off. Clear, deep blue water just like in the Caribbean – and good enough to drink. Did you know that Flachau's entire water supply comes from the Faulkogel range? 

After a refreshing dip in the lake, we make a beeline for the hut for fresh buttermilk and a cheese snack. The perfect end to a wonderful climb in Flachau.

© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger
© Flachau Tourismus / Verena Helminger

Thank you for an amazing day in the mountains.

To recap: this climb is a real highlight for enterprising and experienced mountaineers, and only 1 hour's drive from Salzburg.