Thursday, 26 July 2012


We had just two days of our holiday left in Austria and the weather was once again good.  For this expedition I was with Judy (XYL) and we again caught the 08.50am bus from Seefeld to MIttenwald, alighting at the working village of Geisenbach, just before we reached the German border at Scharnitz.  

The six point summit of Zaunlkopf at 1756m high (SOTA reference OE/TI-656) was our target and I had planned out a circular walk of around 12 Km. The valley where we alighted the bus was at around the 1000m level in Geisenbach.  

The track taking us up the Eppzirl Gorge
Useful signage on our way to Oberbrunn Alm
We set off to walk 5 Km on the Eppzirlweg track (No.15) within a gorge with a fast flowing river alongside us. From the signage and our map we knew this would lead us to a mountain summer farm, known as Oberbrunn Alm, a hut which lies at 1523m in a majestic position above the Karl and Eppzirl Valleys.

Our rest stop for refreshments - Oberbrunn Alm
The farmers ex-military 4X4 Vehicle
We were hoping to have some refreshments when we reached the Alm and use the toilet. Never pass a toilet without making use of it is our motto. We then hoped to double back and make our way up through some woodland to the summit of Zaunlkopf OE/TI-696 which was about 1.5 Km NNW along the Mittagkopfsteig path (No.30). 


We reached the Alm (Summer Farm) before 11.00am and I ordered a beer for me and water for Judy.  There were four other people eating and drinking and the guest room was part of a large kitchen where the farmers wife was cooking food on a very large stove.  The beer went down well after the climb of over 500m up the mountain.  Just before we were presented with the bill we were given a glass of schnapps each. This tasted very nice. 

The generous farmer posing with Judy
A few minutes later after visiting the toilet the farmer himself appeared and gestured, speaking loudly in German, which we of course did not understand.  We said "English". To which he replied ahhh...ENGLISH! and hurried off to get something.  Seconds late he reappeared with another two glasses of Schnapps, which we did of course drink! It was good stuff and I soon felt slightly inebriated for a short time. 

Oberbrunn Alm - a welcoming place for refreshments
After taking the photos we made off in the direction of the six point summit of Zaunlkopf. After around 20 minutes walking we were parallel with the summit but about 300m down from it. We could not see a path, so we just  left the path using the GPS GOTO for direction through the wood to locate the summit. There was no view from the top which was more like a plateau in sparse woodland and once again there was a metal pole on which to fix the fishing pole and dipole antenna. 

This was a leisurely activation and after we had eaten our lunch I set up the station. Once again Roy G4SSH was first in the log on 10.118 MHz CW (Morse) and the best DX (distance) contact was with N4EX Rick in the USA on the 20m CW band.  I had 43 contacts in Morse but 20m SSB was poor. Repeated CQ calls using 100 watts produced just one contact with ON3VS/M in Beliuim.  I was on the air for 45 minutes and we left the summit at 1.30pm.

Operating from Zaunlkopf on Single Sideband Phone
The weather was excellent, hot and sunny and while I was making contacts Judy was able to read her Kindle in full sunlight.  The makers have perfected the display on those devices perfectly so they can be used anywhere.  

Some unusual fungi on a tree by the track leading off Zaunlkopf
Our walk down to Geisenbach for the 3.15pm bus involved a descent of around 750m mostly in woodland but the path was good, albeit a little loose in places, but we made the bus back to Seefeld with 15 minutes to spare. 

This was my last activation from this beautiful area in the Austrian Tirol and German Karwendel and Wetterstein areas of the Alps.  The four days spent activating produced 422 contacts over the 9 summits activated, giving me a total of 72 SOTA points towards the Mountain Goat Award. 

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