Study Areas

We investigate four study areas in different  regions of the Austrian Alps to develop our methods and to evaluate and demonstrate their applicability and transferability. The study areas have a wide range of tectonic, climatic and lithological settings which makes them ideally suited to extensively test our techniques.

Grossarl and Kleinarl Valley, federal state of Salzburg:

The Großarl and Kleinarl Valleys are located in the Hohe Tauern mountain range. The Großarl Valley positioned itself as a year-round tourist destination, offering around 400 km of marked hiking trails, mountaineering and mountain bike tours, leading all the way into the Hohe Tauern National Park. Großarl Valley is also known for its high concentration of mountain huts with about 40 hut and hikers’ refuges. The characteristic mountain pastures, which are attractive for hikers, gave the valley the name “the Valley of Alpine Meadows”. In 2017, the trails in the Kleinarl Valley were severely affected by large landslides. The huge amount of material also blocked the river what led to the emergence of two new lakes.

Karwendel, Tyrol:

In the Karwendel, recent years show many mass movement activities that impact alpine trails. For example, a rockfall at the primary trail to the Bettelwurfhütte caused the ÖAV to close the trail from September 2016 until June 2017. Later, it turned out that further trails in the region were damaged as well. Another example is the Pletzachkogel, which at risk of a rockfall of larger magnitude.

South-western part of Salzkammergut, Upper Austria:

This study area in the Salzkammergut covers regions where the ÖAV sections Hallstatt, Goisern and Gosau are active. The geological settings of the area have caused numerous mass movements, including debris flows and rock avalanches, in the past, e.g. at the Mount Plassen near Hallstatt. These mass movements led to significant economic damage. For example, the risk of rockfall around the Gosausee recently led to the discussion of closing alpine trails, which would block the way to the Adamekhütte.

Hochkönig, federal state of Salzburg:

The Hochkönig is an interesting region for hikers and climbers. In recent years, the hiking trails have experienced increased damage through landslides and Erosion on screes, especially in the area of the Mitterfeldalm to the east.