The Novembergrat, an insider tip for a lonely climb up the Schneeberg

Not least because of its topographic isolation, the Schneeberg (2076 m / 6811 ft), which can be seen from afar, exerts a certain attraction on the people in the eastern part of Austria and the neighboring Eastern European countries. So it is not surprising that the mountain is literally stormed by hiking enthusiasts on nice days. Fortunately, many paths lead to the highest peak in Lower Austria. This also applies to the Novembergrat, which can almost be described as an insider tip due to its relative seclusion.

The importance and popularity of the Schneeberg is by no means something new: Since the 19th century, the First Vienna Mountain Spring Pipeline, has been supplying the city with first-class drinking water. Also since the 19th century, the Schneebergbahn, a rack railway, has been transporting tourists from Puchberg am Schneeberg to the high plateau at an altitude of 1796 m (5892 ft).

Especially in the northeast, the mountain presents itself from its rough and rocky side, which offers rewarding ridge climbs between wide gullies (Krumme Ries and Breite Ries). Apart from the Fadensteig, which leads up the rock faces along the northern flank, the Herminensteig, the Nandlgrat and the Novembergrat are particularly worth mentioning in this context, all of which lead to the high plateau via ridges. All of these climbs are extremely scenic, but also require sure-footedness and no fear of heights, especially since one or the other more exposed places have to be overcome, especially on the ridge climbs. The Schneebergdörfel and the paid parking lot (6 Euros for a day ticket) at the valley station of the chairlift to the Fadensattel near Losenheim are popular starting points for hikes up the Schneeberg. This time the decision was once again made for the latter.

Immediately after the parking lot, the path leads directly past the reservoir. At the first fork in the road, it is best to keep left and follow the signs to "Breite Ries". The next approx. 2 km (1.2 mi) along the gravel road are more like a leisurely stroll. Ultimately, the gravel path leads into a hiking trail. This now leads noticeably steeper up through the forest and finally ends in the so-called "Nördlicher Grafensteig". Keep left at the crossing and follow the path in the direction of "Breite Ries" and "Nandlgrat". It doesn't take long before the forest clears and the largest gravel field on the Schneeberg, the "Breite Ries", seems to block the way. The path over the scree field requires a certain amount of caution, but does not present any major difficulties. The path then continues through the forest, only to end up again a few minutes later on a scree field, the "Krumme Ries". The path over the scree field is clearly visible and on the other side the Novembergrat with its characteristic rock towers is already rising.

After overcoming the "Krumme Ries", the hiking trail once again takes a long curve through the forest. Finally, a lookout point is reached, the "Sitzstatt", which not only invites you to take a short break but also marks the point on the northern Grafensteig where the Novembergrat branches off to the right. Now the actual ascent begins. The path becomes noticeably rockier and, above all, steeper.

In the course of preparing for this tour, the impression arose that the marking of the path is not very good. In fact, finding the way didn't prove to be particularly challenging. Some of the red markers were a bit faded, but still clearly recognizable.

However, the Noverberggrat fulfills the expectations of an enjoyable ascent in the 1st grade of difficulty (UIAA). Again and again the hands have to be used to climb one or the other rock step. The number of really exposed places is limited, although a head for heights and sure-footedness are of course among the requirements of this tour.

The magnificent view of the eastern foothills of the Alps and the Vienna Basin behind them, as well as the Krumme Ries and the Breite Ries including the Nandlgrat towering behind them on one side and the Schneidergraben on the other side of the Novembergrat make the ascent an unforgettable experience.

It doesn't take long before the Fischerhütte, which is not far from the summit, comes into view. In the upper part, the Novembergrat finally becomes a little flatter and this opens up the view of the highest point of the Schneeberg, the Klosterwappen (2076 m / 6811 ft).

After 2.5 to 3 hours, the exit of the Novermberggrat and thus the high plateau is reached. The path through the dwarf pine terrain can easily be lost from sight. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be a problem to reach the gravel path quickly, which is often used by crowds of tourists during the day, who have come up the mountain with the Schneebergbahn and enjoy the surrounding mountains as part of a hike over the high plateau.

With the summit cross always in view, it is another 30-45 minutes to the summit of the Schneeberg. There are still around 250 vertical meters to be overcome, with the ascent being more continuous and therefore more leisurely. Only the last climb before the summit is a bit steeper.

Not least because of its topographical isolation, the summit offers a magnificent all-round view. In particular, the view over the high plateau (the "Ochsenboden") to the Waxriegel (1888 m / 6194 ft) and the peaks of the Rax and the Schneealpe, which seem close enough to touch, are impressive. In good weather conditions, the view extends from Lake Neusiedl in the east to the Ennstal Alps and the Dachstein Glacier in the west.

The descent is via the Fadensteig and first leads past the Fischerhütte. After about 30 minutes, the cliffs on the northern flank of the mountain are reached and the path becomes noticeably rockier and steeper. Particular caution is required, especially when descending, and sometimes using your hands proves to be helpful.

Exposed or more dangerous places are always secured with steel cables, although there are also a few gravel passages that should not be underestimated and should therefore be treated with particular caution.

After 1.5 to 2 hours the Fadenstattel is reached. Once the Edelweißhütte proves to be a suitable place to consume a refreshment before the last stage of the descent back to the parking lot is tackled, which is reached after about 30 minutes.

Tour Facts (Tracked with Bergfex Tours):

Distance: 13,8 km (~ 8.6 mi)
06:00 h (without breaks)
Ascent altitude: 1258 m (4127 ft)

Useful links: