Pioneering by High DignitariesThe first chapters of alpine history around the Grossglockner were written by clerical dignitaries. Salm accompanied his second Glockner expedition in 1800 as far up as the Eagle’s Rest, his vicar-general Count Sigmund von Hohenwart (later the first bishop of Linz) overcame in 1802 his openly admitted fear of the airy notch between the Kleinglockner and the Grossglockner, and at the age of 57 achieved the hotly covered peak victory. The next generation of mountaineering clerics was led by the Salzburg Cardinal Prince Friedrich Schwarzenberg, who studied theology at Salzburg and had undertaken several first ascent in the Limestone Alps. Schwarzenberg later served as the Archbishop of Prague. In 1841 he achieved the risky first ascent of the Hohen Tenn (3,368m) and followed this exceptional performance with the climb of the Wiesbachhorn (3,564m) from Ferleiten over the 2,400m east flank – in a single day, there and back.
Clerical dignitaries also later undertook some daring performances: the Franciscan Corbinian Steinberger achieved in a solo climb in 1851 “with a pint of wine and a piece household bread” the Glockner tour from Heiligenblut in a single day, there and back. The Heiligenblut priest Franz Francisci made the first ascent in winter in 1953.
But then secular dignitaries turned their attention to the Glockner Group. It began in 1856 with the “highly honoured visit of his majesty Emperor Franz Josef to his crown-land (Carinthia)” in Heiligenblut. The 26-year-old monarch hiked in four hours from Heiligenblut up to the terrain level, which has since been known as the “Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe”. His imperial wife “Sisi” was satisfied with a ride to the Elisabeth Rest, which was named poetically after her.