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Category: Naturjuwele

Buchstein Chalk Meadows, Gesäuse

Since 2002 Styria has had its own national park, the Gesäuse. And justifiably so, as this unspoilt mountain landscape proves every day. The Buchstein is a chalk mountain, whose Alpine character increases with its height. From the River Enns to the peak region there are approximately 1600 metres total vertical distance to cover. To ensure your enjoyment of the flora and fauna of the Buchstein is equal to this, it is worth climbing to the Buchsteinhaus a day in advance.


After spending the night in the Buchsteinhaus at 1548 metres above sea level you can wonder at the sunrise in the peak region. And off you go on the peak hike with plenty of time to wonder at the chalk flora.


Directly after the hut the forest ends and the mountain pines with Hairy Alpenrose spread out. Soon afterwards the trail leads past boulders in the chalk scree - aggravated conditions for Alpine plantlife prevail here, as the scree constantly trickles down the valley.


However, this is where the wonderful Alpine flora begins: the Dwarf bellflower blooms in the clefts in a striking blue. You can enjoy the Yellow hawksbeard for free. White Dryad, a dwarf-shrub, blooms in delicate white. The light yellow petals of Buckler Mustard can only be seen briefly, as they rapidly change to fruit - the short mountain summer has to be made use of! Pedicularis rostratocapitata delights with its purple-red flowers; next to it in the chalk scree is the Alpine poppy - the white petals are only about 15 cm high. However, the highlight is the endemics of the Northeastern Chalk Alps - this is the only place in the world they are found.  Amongst these are the pillows of the white-petalled Potentilla clusiana, the Heracleum austriacum subsp. austriacum and the equally pillowy Asperula neilreichii with its delicate pink flowers.


The final ascent to the peak plateau requires light mountaineering skills. A fixed rope route (B) covers the last 150 total vertical distance. The view is worth it in any case: The view stretches from the Dachstein in the west over the Hochschwab in the southeast and the Alpine foothills of Upper Austria in the north.


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