After a delicious lunch of steaming vegetable soup and crusty bread at the Schӧnbergalm restaurant, we took the second cable car up to Krippenstein, at an altitude of 2100 metres. It was no surprise when we came out of the station to find that once again we were enveloped by cloud, but with our faith in the weather gods unshaken, we set off on a 45 minute walk to the 5Fingers viewing platform. To get there we had to follow the Experiences trail around the top of the mountain from one side to the other, and as we made our way round the cloud started to clear again and at last we could see the valley, the Hallstatter See and the town of Hallstatt, like a miniature village 1000 metres below.
As we walked we could hear the sound of bells ahead and we came across a herd of chamois, or alpine goats, grazing on the tough mountain vegetation.
The Welterbespirale is an aluminium viewing platform in the shape of a ship. The Dachstein Salzkammergut region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as we walked up the spiralling boardwalk to the top, there were boards showing other World Heritage Sites, including our own Great Barrier Reef – a little bit of home away from home. As well as the viewing platform there are several wooden recliners at the summit, designed for sunbathing and enjoying the views, but we weren’t going to try them out when the temperature was no more than 10 degrees!
The 5Fingers viewing platform is aptly named. It’s shaped like a hand that reaches out over the edge of the mountain, with a 400 metre drop to the rocks below. Each finger points in a different direction and one has a glass floor, for those who are brave enough to walk on it. Our prayers to the gods were answered – the wind was blowing the clouds away across the mountains and we had a breathtaking view of the Salzkammergut region. We stood for over an hour, taking in the scene before us.
There was still more to do so while the sky was clear we continued our adventure up and over the mountain to the next cable car stop.