Enjoyable ridge climbing on the Großer Bösenstein

From the picturesque village of Hohentauern at the top of the Triebener Tauern Pass, a magnificent view of the Bösenstein massif opens up. The 2448 meter (8031 ft) high Großer Bösenstein dominates the breathtaking panorama and not least because of the scenic charms of this area, the Großer Bösenstein and the surrounding peaks and clear mountain lakes are very popular. Nevertheless, only the few know that the Großer Bösenstein was originally called Pölsenstein, derived from the Pölstal valley to the south.

The car park in the immediate vicinity of the Scheibelalm at around 1650 m (5413 ft) above sea level, which can be reached from Hohentauern via a toll road (EUR 8 for a car, as of 2023), is a popular starting point for the routes on and around the Bösenstein. The circumnavigation of the lake or the so-called Hauseck tour, which leads over the nearby summit of the 1982 m (6502 ft) high Hauseck, are definitely suitable for families. In addition, the Edelrautehütte is a good place to quench your thirst and eat well. An alternative to this is the managed hut on the Scheibelalm, which scores with a particularly rustic flair.

The aforementioned parking lot at the end of the toll road also serves as the starting point for the tour described here, which takes in several peaks around the Großer Bösenstein. Especially in summer, a start before sunrise is definitely recommended, especially since the fresh early temperatures make it a little easier. Starting from the car park, a gravel road leads past the Scheibelalm hut to the Edelrautehütte. In front of the hut, hiking trail 944a turns sharply to the right and leads as a forest path, first level and then downhill through a picturesque forest around the Hauseck (1982 m / 6502 ft). Again and again, streams get lost on the path, which is why the path can be slippery and should therefore be enjoyed with a certain degree of caution.

Finally, the forest thins out more and more and the Ochsenkar is reached. After crossing a small creek, the path curves left over the pasture to the southern flank of the "Große Rübe" (2093 m / 5866 ft). At this point, the path leads continuously upwards, although it is not the incline but the wetness that can cause difficulties. The path finally becomes a little steeper and, at the foot of the Seekarspitze (2115 m / 6938 ft), overcomes a first steep step in the terrain in a large hairpin bend. The view back to the Ochsenkar is fantastic and in the south-east you can admire the previously circumvented Hauseck and the Großer Hengst (2159 m / 7083 ft) towering behind it.

The path leads steadily uphill along the southern flank of the Seekarspitze. From now on, boulder fields have to be crossed again and again. A favorite playground for chamois, which can move easily and gracefully in this rocky terrain. While the Großer Bösenstein rises in the south, the first stage destination, the Gamsscharte (2216 m / 7270 ft), the notch between the peaks of the Dreistecken (2382m / 7814 ft) and the Sonntagskarspitze (2350 m / 7709 ft), is in sight in the west. Finally, the view opens up of the frozen lake, whose name comes from the fact that, thanks to its location in the shadow of the Großer Bösenstein, it is actually frozen almost all year round. A truly idyllic landscape that invites you to take a short break before tackling the last, noticeably steeper climb to the Gamsscharte. Shortly before the Gamsscharte there are fixed steel cables, some of which have torn from their anchorages. Fortunately, this is not too much of a problem at this point and the Gamsscharte is reached after about 2.5 - 3 hours.

Once the Gamsscharte (2216 m / 7270 ft) has been reached, a magnificent view of the Lower Tauern and the Dachstein massif and the Tote Gebirge opens up. At this point the path branches off to the north via the Dreistecken (2382m / 7814 ft) and the Hochhaide (2363 m / 7752 ft) to the Rottenmanner hut and on the other hand to the south via the Sonntagskarspitze (2350 m / 7709 ft) and the Dreisteckengrat as well as the Großer Bösenstein back to the Edelrautehütte.

Now continue left over rocky terrain steeply uphill along the ridge in the direction of the Sonntagskarspitze. While a steep meadow slope leads into the valley on the west flank, the east flank shows its rugged side and repeatedly opens up impressive views down over steep rock faces. At this exposed point, the wind can sometimes blow stronger along the ridge and the path along the steep slope on the right side and repeatedly exposed areas on the left side requires sure-footedness.

But the path is not stingy with fantastic views and after about 20 minutes the small summit cross on the Sonntagskarspitze (2350 m / 7709 ft) can be seen in the distance. The marked path leads to the east below the summit and has to be left briefly in order to reach the summit of the Sonntagskarspitze via a few easier climbing spots.

After the descent back onto hiking trail 944, the most exciting part of the tour begins. The view of the rugged ridge towers of the so-called Dreisteckengrat gives an idea of the challenges that need to be mastered. The already impressive scenery is once again dominated by the Großer Bösenstein, whose summit cross can already be clearly seen in the distance.

However, this section of the hike should not be underestimated and requires experience in alpine terrain. The path is narrow, repeatedly exposed and easy to lose sight of in the vicinity of climbing points (up to UIAA II). Fortunately, the really difficult parts are secured with fixed ropes.

Red-white-red markings show the way over the rugged ridge towers, whereby the hands have to be used again and again to help. There is a lot of loose rock, so steps and holds should always be checked. Bearing this in mind, wearing a rockfall helmet is also advisable.

The first crux is soon reached. A ridge tower has to be climbed down a few meters in an exposed crack in the rock slab. The installed fixed rope proves to be quite helpful.

Once you have overcome this passage, it is a little more relaxed and you climb up again over one or the other easy climbing section.

Finally, the ridge approaches the northern flank of the Großer Bösenstein. But before this is reached, climbing down a rocky gully full of loose rock requires full concentration again. 

Finally, the gully is crossed over to the rocky northern flank of the Großer Bösenstein and the path, which is hardly recognizable, leads along the markings first across and after a sharp curve to the left over rocky terrain quite steeply upwards.

It goes steadily uphill along the red-white-red markings until the path swings slightly to the south, becomes flatter and the summit cross seems close enough to touch. The comparatively short route from the Sonntagskarspitze (2350 m / 7709 ft) via the Dreisteckengrat takes 1.5 hours to reach the highest peak in the Rottenmanner Tauern. At least now the loneliness of the last few hours is over. Coming from the Edelrautehütte via the Hauseck (1982 m / 6502 ft), the Großer Bösenstein (2448 m / 8031 ft) is a very popular excursion destination that can be reached in around 2 hours. So it can happen that a number of mountain enthusiasts cavort on the summit.

As expected, the view is great! In the north, the peaks of the Haller Mauern and the Gesäuse dominate the view and in the west, the Dachstein massif, the Totes Gebirge and the striking Grimming tower into the sky. The whole of the lower Tauern is literally at your feet and the view of the further course of the tour over the Kleiner Bösenstein (2395 m / 7857 ft) to the summit of the Großer Hengst (2159 m / 7083 ft) is no less impressive.

Depending on how you feel on the day, you can descend directly to the Edelrautehütte via hiking trail 946 or tackle the slightly longer tour via the Kleiner Bösenstein and the Großer Hengst back to the starting point. On hiking trail 944, around 125 meter must first be descended into the saddle. Then follows the ascent to the Kleiner Bösenstein (2395 m / 7857 ft), the summit of which is only marked by a cairn.

The further course of hiking trail 902 along the ridge can be clearly seen from here. The path does not present any difficulties, but it always impresses with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.

Since the Kleiner Bösenstein, the path along the ridge has mostly been downhill. Before the Großer Hengst is reached, there is another slight ascent of the trail to overcome. But even this is not really a challenge and so the last summit of the day is reached after another hour. Around the imposing summit cross of the Großer Hengst (2159 m / 7083 ft) there is enough space for a last rest before the final descent back to the Scheibelalm.

Once again, the scenery is really impressive. In particular, the view back to the towering Großer Bösenstein, the Kleiner Bösenstein to his left and the peaks of Dreistecken and Hochhaide to his right reveal the dimensions of the current tour. The large Scheibelsee, the mountain lake at the foot of the Großer Bösenstein, fits into the picture particularly picturesquely.

The descent back to the Scheibelalm is perhaps the most boring part of the tour. Nevertheless, caution is advised, because a lot of loose gravel makes the descent quite exhausting. Eventually, the path becomes a bit flatter and instead of gravel, the now earthy subsoil can become a real challenge, especially when it is wet. Finally, the path makes one last sharp turn to the left and leads through a forest back to the Scheibelalm, where it joins the gravel road in the immediate vicinity of the Edelrautehütte, which also leads back to the car park.

Tour Facts (Tracked with Bergfex Tours):

Distance: 12,9 km (~ 8.0 mi)
07:00 h (without breaks)
Ascent altitude: 1131 m (3710 ft)

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