The Simony Hut and Mount Dachstein

time to walk: 7 hours
altitute: 2206m
start: Hallstatt / Echerntal

The Simony hut (Simonyhütte) which was erected near the glacier in 1877 by the Austrian Mountaineering Club (Vienna) in honour of Prof. Simony, has served as a rescue hut fo Dachstein mountaineers since the beginning of alpine tourism.The Dachstein-Reitweg serves as the most important approach from Hallstatt-Echerntal (described in section 16), via the Tiergartenhütte and the Wiesberghaus. It is a well prepared and perfectly safe route. It is well marked, No.601, and leads into the glacier region. After the Wiesberghaus, we have a comfortable 1 ½ hours' walk.

There is a glorious view over the whole Dachstein plateau and the Krippenstein, Hirlatz, Ochsenkogel, Taubenkogel and Gjaidstein with, naturally, the Dachstein itself soon appearing. The dwarf-pines become fewer and fewer. Up the steep climb to the Simonyhütte is bare rock and snow-fields which remain throughout the summer. After several serpentine bends, which are cleverly built into the steep rock, one safely reaches the Simonyhütte. Around 100 metres below the rescue hut we passed the so-called "Simony-Hotel". This emergency accommodation served the great Dachstein explorer, Prof. Simony, as a bolt-hole.

A few metres higher is the Simonyhütte and the Dachstein Chapel, which was erected in 1914 - the highest House of God in the northern Alps. A fabulous view opens on to the Hallstatt Glacier, which sweeps below, and to the little glacier lakes in the massive Dachstein ice-field which lies before us. In summer the ice has a grey-green lustre and many of the feared glacier crevices are visible. A half-hour excursion to the glacier is worthwhile.

Ideal terrain is to found near the Simonyhütte for learning the basics of alpine mountain climbing over rock and ice. Many mountaineers take their first steps here toward safe climbing. Experienced mountaineers are always on hand at the Simonyhütte for training and accompaniment. Expending on our commitment to time, we must return or take accommodation for the night. hould we not wish to climb the Dachstein on this occasion, we should return on the path we came on, reaching the clearly marked turn-off within 45 minutes, No. 650, to the Gjaidalm which will take a further three hours.

The descent is at first steep; we pass many stones that have been formed by the glacier, and even some bearing ammonite fossils. Various species of gentian and other rare alpine flowers accompany us on the path, rewarding us for our effort. On a constantly undulating path we reach the Gjaidalm. From there we can take the Dachstein cable-car down to Obertraun. Naturally, one can reach the Simonyhütte in the reverse direction.