Karwendal Mtns, Austria

     On July 26th, 2017, I trekked and explored the Karwendal Mountains north of Innsbruck, Austria.

The Karwendal Mountains and Zugspitze Peak area map

     The Karwendels are part of the north Tyrolean limestone chain.

Looking west towards Mittenwald from atop of the Karwendal Mtns, Austria 2017

     A cool moist climate and abundant rain, pastures, woods, and game characterize the Karwendels, (below). Thinly populated, much of the region is included in the Karwendel Nature Reserve, Austria’s largest.

Looking Northeast across the Karwendal Mountains in Austria, (I reached this spot with the help of a gondola and a bit of hiking).

Part of the Karwendal Mountains and just east of Innsbruck is a small community of Schwaz, Austria. “The mother of all mines”, the largest silver mine of the late Middle Ages, is located in Schwaz of Tyrol. Up to 10,000 miners searched for and found silver and copper here 500 years ago and made the city of Schwaz the largest mining metropolis in the world! There I purchased a tour that took me into a 800 m deep entrance with the mine train, (pictured below).  The tour followed in the footsteps of the miners and experienced the hardships they had to endured 500 years ago to mine copper and silver. One of the highlights of the tour, was the famous Schwaz water wheel, which was installed in 1556 to raise the mine water, (at the time it was considered a true marvel of technology). 85% of the silver mined worldwide came from this mine towering over the mountain.

Photo taken in the Schwazer Silberbergwerk of the Tyrol in Austria.

     Just on the other side of the border with Germany is Zugspitze. The Zugspitze, 9,718 ft. above sea level, is the highest peak in Germany.

Looking North-East from the first gondola station on Zugspitze

     Zugspitze Peak lies north of the Austria-Germany border, that runs over its western summit.

Lower Zugspitze gondola station

     South of the mountain is the Zugspitzplatt, a high karst plateau with numerous caves.

Upper gondola station from atop of Zugspitze Peak, (Highest point in Germany)

     On the flanks of the Zugspitze are three glaciers, including the two largest in Germany.

From the top gondola, looking back towards the lower gondola stations of Zugspitze

     I approached the Zugspitze summit, on July  27th, 2017;  by way of a train and two gondolas, (picture above).

The Zugsitze Summit, (highest point in Germany)
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