Reichenau an der Rax
where artists and therapists go into the mountains
The Rax is probably one of those mountain groups that has a top rating in world literature. This has a lot to do, of course, with the fact that it is easily reachable from the metropolis of Vienna, so that the mountain landscape around the Semmering had in the 19th century already become the preferred Summer recreation area of Viennese society., At the end of the century, representatives of the nobility, high finances and the upper classes built some splendid country estates and remarkable villas. At the same time the summer mountain landscape was a playground for creative types who quite often found new inspiration for their creative work from alpine activities.
Sigmund Freud was made aware in the Otto-Schutzhaus of the later very famous “Katharina case”, because the daughter of the lodge landlady asked him for medical help. Freud noted later: “I was again involved in neuroses, because it couldn't really be anything else with this large and powerful girl with the troubled expression. I was interested that neuroses seemed to prosper so well at altitudes above 2,000 metres.”
Another famous therapist was also closely associated with the Rax: Viktor E. Frankl was active even at an old age, especially on the Preinerwand. He once said, “there isn't really any big decision in my life that I didn't make on the Rax.”
And not least a series of alpine legends played around in the Rax: Eugene Guido Lammer, Otto and Emil Zsigmondy, Fritz Schmid, Karl Prusik (after whom the Prusik knot is named), to name just a few. The basis for the alpine scale of difficulty that is still valid today was created in the Rax, published in 1894 in a guide book written by Karl Benesch.
On warm summer and autumn weekends, an aura of gay abandon emanates from the Rax plateau. There is almost a big city flair evident on the main paths. People stroll around, there is a good chance of meeting someone well-known here whom you haven't seen in the city for many a year.
But the mountain also has an ominous side. Sudden bad weather in the summer can transform the plateau within a short time into a raging storm and bring fogs in which all orientation is lost.