Tue Feb 12th 2008 - a short schnellcraft.com style Winter Climb+Fly Adventure on Lower Austrias highest Peak
I got there late and started around 11am in "Losenheim", took the lower "Grafensteig" and then soloed the "Nandlgrat" which requires some easy Rock- Climbing.
Spotted lots of "Gemsen" (mountain goats) during the beautiful ascent.
In the upper half of the "Nandlgrat" route I did put on my crampons and took out my Iceaxe as above 1500m there was lots of Icy snow and Rock covered with 10 to 20 cm of fresh snow that had been blown into the Northeast Bowl - not to be underestimated with around 12 kilo of extraweight due to the glider + reserve + water etc.
With a few brakes to admire the landscape I reached the summit (Kaiserstein) at 3pm were it was bitterly cold and blowing 35 to 40 kph from SSE - wind was a bit on the high side but ok for a takeoff from the saddle between Kaiserstein and the "real" Schneeberg Summit with my small and fast 17sqm Wing
Due to the cold wind I prepared my flying equipment in the windshade behind the "Fischerhütte" (closed in winter) and another Mountaineer whom i had met on the summit watched in disbelieve as i pulled up my wing (he had never heard of small highspeed Paragliders, so he could not believe that it was possible to fly a Paraglider in these windconditions..)
With just a few slow steps I took off effortless in the compression zone of the saddle at around 3:30pm and headed for the north end of the plateau to catch the last rays of the already sinking sun.
From that point on the flight was pure magic - an inversion layer in apprx 1000hm was covering the lower peaks and plains of eastern lower austria like a silk blanket and the sinking sun added the perfect light to the scenery while i was soaring my wing above the "Fadensattel" ridge and the "Losenheim" valley.
The flight Time was around 20min by using agressive turns to loose height / shorten the flight.
I could have easily flown for +1hr but it was simply too cold as my leather mountaineering boots (including my feet) already started to freeze up.
It still feels great to look at the pictures and remember this fantastic day combining winter mountaineering and flying in such a perfect way in a Place just less then one hour by car from Vienna