Weißbach bei Lofer
mountain meadows, ravines, climbing gardens
If you travel from Lofer through the Saalachtal to the south, then you will soon begin to feel that you are in a convoluted stone gutter, eroded by a huge planer. The expert glaciologist will recognise her the prime example of a trough valley formed in the ice age. „Hohlwegen“ is the apt local name for this area, and although the valley floor is quite wide, all the higher on both sides do the steep rock walls rise skywards. The overall impression is more cheerful than gloomy: the shimmering green river runs through meadows and small woods, individual farmhouses and small groups of houses are scattered at the bottom of the valley. Impressive mountain pyramids rise up over rough side valleys, which look as if a playful giant had piled up huge layers of stone.
At the sunniest part of the valley bottom, the modest village of Weißbach spreads out. Alpine enthusiasts will immediately notice the exciting rock ledge that rises up directly behind the parish church, and which is really crying out to be climbed. And this is indeed the location of one of these climbing gardens that have now become the trade mark of the “climbver´s village“ of Weißbach.
During the winter, Weißbach is increasingly visited by specialists: since the rough steep flanks of the Saalachtal in combination with reliably low temperatures provide ideal conditions for ice climbing. And another species likes to romp around in the village during the cold season: these are speleologists who want to wrest more secrets from the shadowy realm of the Lamprechtsofen, the gateway to which is right by the main road.
But let's return to the surface: in narrow serpentines the Hirschbichl road winds over the rock ridge to Oberweißbach. A peculiar high valley opens up. Greyish-white strips of rock run across mountain pastures, on the horizon the south slopes of the Reiteralm herald the beginnings of the Berchtesgaden Nationalpark.
The community alps of Kamerlingalm, Litzlalm and Kallbrunnalm are a popular destination not only for hikers but also for their colleagues on wheels. Here the extensive alpine pasture terrain in the run-up to the Steinerne Meer are attractive not only from alpine-culinary aspects, but also offer incomparable views of the Leoganger Steinberge that lie opposite, with the Birnhorn as the highest peak.
With the most recent establishment of the Weißbach Naturpark the area, characterised by the centuries-old tradition of alpine meadow farming has been seen in a new light. The aim is to preserve and expand the traditional cultivated landscape, with an emphasis on the four main points of landscape conservation, recreation, education and regional development. Visitors should make use of many information points and guided hikes, and be able to combine transfer of knowledge with a playful enjoyment.
But if you prefer to move independently, off the beaten track and keeping your eyes peeled, you will be rewarded with a wealth of impressions: the tradition of “stuck together fences“ that is a matter of course in some places, the movingly and carefully maintained wayside shrines and crosses, or the crevice signs close to ancient hunting paths, with their unusual symbols which are hardly decipherable for us today; a puzzling greeting, as it were, from a lost time …