Reconstruction of Gamsscharte

Eastern Alps

The aims of the German Alpine Club (DAV) include the advancement of sport, especially in the Alps and lower mountain ranges and the conservation of nature and the environment. The association also promotes projects which can be undertaken by individual sections of the DAV, as well as undertaking and managing joint projects.
 

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The Project

The Gamsscharte is an important alpine passage in the Eastern Alps. It connects Alpine refuges in the Tirol, Salzburg and Südtirol along the ‘Three Countries Trail’. Due to a receding glacier the passage has become dangerous and has had to be closed. The specialist reconstruction work, which involves the relocating of the path is urgent, but also very difficult due to its inaccessible location, requiring extensive rock handling, complex securing arrangements and materials being flown in by helicopter. The project requires:
  • Identifying the course of the new trail
  • Clearing and securing stones in order to construct the new path
  • Purchase and installation of stair clamps, ties and cable handrails
  • Promotional campaign for the Three Countries Trail
 

The Update

Following intensive local discussion, the trail has been transferred from the glacier over to a wall of solid rock nearby, running under an overhang thereby protecting users from rockfall. The onsite work happened a little later than planned due to the lateness of the year’s snowmelt. Blast operations and the installation of security equipment such as stair clamps, metal ties and wire handrails were necessary and carried out by a specialised company. Manual labour was carried out by local volunteers, including the removal of any rockfall.

The trail was finished during September and technically approved. The work on the remaining parts of the trail on more accessible ground will be carried out by volunteers during the summer of 2010. The whole operation required 35 helicopter flights, 360 holes drilled, 155 clamps assembled, 100m of wire handrail and steel ties and approximately 450 man hours.

With the completion of the Gamsscharte, hikers can cross several counties within Austria and northern Italy on long distance trails again. The well-equipped trail will not only attract alpinists, supporting green tourism, but also keep them away from the sensitive and unsafe areas.

Regular maintenance will be carried out by a team of honorary workers for the DAV.
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage