Search
    • mountaineers hiking around the peak
      media_content.tooltip.skipped

    Mountains, Goals, Change: At the Summit, we are all Equals

    Mountaineering is just like everyday life – success is found outside of the comfort zone. But what does it feel like to climb one of Austria's mountain peaks for the first time? Student Henning Früh took up the challenge together with East Tirolean mountain guide Magdalena Habernig.

    A quick look up, a cautious look down, a tug of the safety rope and on we go. Step by step up the rock face as a couple of stones crumble away to the left and right, tumbling into the depths. The tension is written on Henning's face, but it is mixed with great excitement. And respect for the path that lies ahead. "There's no denying that my knees are shaking a little here on the edge. I know it could get dangerous, I could fall a long way down. My heart is beating faster, but at the same time I feel incredibly alive", he says, before taking the next step with upmost concentration.

    Henning, 24, a psychology student from the German lowlands, has always been fascinated by the high mountains. But climbing is still new territory for him. That is why he hired East Tirolean mountain guide Magdalena to accompany him on his two-day tour in the Lienz Dolomites. The Dolomites, officially a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009, are known for their picture-perfect, rugged peaks and untouched glacial lakes and waterfalls. And Henning wants to experience all of this first-hand. The first day leads along the challenging Rudl-Eller trail from the Dolomitenhütte to the Karlsbader Hütte, the second one to the top of the Schöttnerspitze at 2,633 m above sea level.

    Magdalena has been fulfilling guests their "lifelong dreams", as she says, for more than a decade now, and is delighted every time one of her protégés masters their first ascent: "I don’t think there are many professions in which you are rewarded with such joy and gratitude from the guests." However, the professional climber is well aware of the dangers: "Being a professional mountain guide means having a lot of responsibility. People trust me with their lives." That is why safety is always her top priority.

    •                 Sunrise hiking in SalzburgerLand
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    •                 Climbing in Ischgl / Ischgl
      media_content.tooltip.skipped

      Hiking & Climbing: How to Find the Right Path

      Planning is key to a safe ascent - find out more about signposting and difficulty levels in Austria's mountains.

      This way, please

    "Mountain climbing teaches you valuable lessons for life. You learn to set goals, assess the risk and never give up. If you always remain in your comfort zone, you'll stop growing."

    Magdalena Habernig, Mountaineer prior to the hike, Osttirol
    media_content.tooltip.skipped
    Magdalena Habernig
    • The Journey is the Destination

      Henning is not someone who likes to play with fire either, or searches for the next adrenaline rush such as a bungee jump in the mountains. What appeals to him about mountaineering is pushing himself to his limits, and he is curious about how he will mentally react to this trial of strength with untamed nature. "There are lots of parallels between mountaineering and life", he says whilst taking a break. "Mountains provide a challenge, clear benchmarks, because there is a visible goal that has to be reached which you can measure yourself against. An opportunity that's rare in daily life. Reaching your own limits and overcoming them, that's what excites me." But there's more that draws him to the mountains: "The social element, which demands personal growth. Giving and receiving trust, leaving your comfort zone and entering the growth zone as opposed to the panic zone. The thrill, without becoming reckless."

    • The Art of Setting Goals

      As the pair progresses towards the summit, Magdalena watches Henning carefully every step of the way. As a guide, she constantly has to reassess the physical form and ability of her guests, and adapt the route if needed. Her face lights up as she talks about her climbing philosophy, which is quite similar to Henning's: "It's important to set yourself goals on the mountain, as in real life. When you reach a point where you are stuck and allow a little change, are open to something new, that helps in everyday life, too. Nature doesn't make a difference between men, women, those professionally successful or those who are not." With their goal in sight, Magdalena and Henning approach the last metres to the top. The trees and huts in the valley have shrunk to the size of toys and the path they have climbed no longer appears as overwhelming. The last section, however, demands a secure rope and one last push.

    • Growth Through a Sense of Achievement

      Then finally: The summit! At the highest point of the Schöttnerspitze, the leg pain is quickly forgotten. 2,633 m above sea level, all that matters is the view, the reward, the sense of having reached one's goal. And that is "something very special" every time, even for an experienced climber like Magdalena, as she admits. Henning himself is visibly overwhelmed. "Time and space stand still at the summit", he says. "It's a feeling of complete awe, like being on top of the world and looking down at nature that is millions of years old. I am extremely grateful for this moment."

      The student finishes the tour filled with new impressions and endorphins, as he adds, "a whole lot of self-confidence and personal growth".

    •                     Climbing towards the peak of Laserzwand, Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    •                     View towards the mountain peak of mountain face Laserzwand, hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    •                     mountaineers at the peak of Laserzwand, Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped

    "Everyone can make it to the top. Nature does not make a difference between men, women, those wo are professionally successful or those who are not."

    Magdalena Habernig, Mountaineer prior to the hike, Osttirol
    media_content.tooltip.skipped
    Magdalena Habernig

    5 Reasons for a Mountain Guide – Even for Experienced Hikers and Climbers!

    Mountain professionals can be found in all major mountain regions, with many offering tours of different levels for individuals and small groups. But why is it better to head out with a mountain guide than alone? Read five reasons below.

    • Mountain panaroma of Lienz Dolomites, hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    • Hiking equipment: backpack and appropriate clothing, hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    • mountaineers at the peak of Laserzwand, hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    • Hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped
    • hiking in Osttirol
      media_content.tooltip.skipped

    Magdalena Habernig

    "Mountains mean freedom to me, breaking out of the daily routine and experiencing the adventure that lies on the doorstep", says Magdalena Habernig. The East Tirolean was drawn to the mountains from when she was a school girl, and later turned this passion into her profession. Magdalena has been a certified mountain and ski guide since 2011, climbing the Tirolean peaks with her guests in summer and leading ski tours in winter. She is also a qualified ranger at Hohe Tauern National Park and a climate activist.

    austria.info: What excites you most about being a professional mountain guide?
    Magdalena Habernig: Even when I was younger, the mountains gave me the freedom I was looking for: a break from everyday life, adventure on my doorstep, the opportunity to immerse myself in completely different worlds. What fascinates me about the job itself is that I can make people's dreams come true, which in many cases they would not be able to do by themselves. You receive such gratitude in return, it's a real pleasure.
    austria.info: How challenging is it to be responsible for someone else?
    Magdalena Habernig: Mountain guiding is a job with a lot of responsibility. People trust me with their lives. We want to reach the summit, of course, but it's more important to acknowledge that safety comes first at the right time and to explain why we might not make it. My main job is to bring people home safely. One wrong decision can prove fatal and you have to remind yourself of that time and again. The responsibility is ever-present.
    austria.info: What can you learn from mountain climbing?
    Magdalena Habernig: A lot. You learn to assess the risk, to see where you can minimise it and which combination of factors will enable you to continue. You also learn to persevere, to leave your comfort zone; both important lessons for everyday life. If you stay where's it's comfortable, you'll stop growing at some point.
    view to Lake Laserz and the Karlsbader hut, Osttirol
    media_content.tooltip.skipped

    Lienz Dolomites and Karlsbader Hütte

    Henning and Magdalena spent two days in the Lienz Dolomites in East Tirol, a 40 km mountain range south of Lienz. The highest peak is the Große Sandspitze (2,770 m).

    They stayed overnight at the Karlsbader Hütte. The rustic hut, which is extremely popular amongst mountaineers, is located at 2,260 m by Lake Laserzsee, boasting impressive views of the Lienz Dolomites.

    Explore the Karlsbader mountain hut

    Author: Astrid Hofer

    This Might Also Interest You

    media_content.tooltip.skipped
    media_content.tooltip.skipped