On lonely Paths

The Kreuzeck Mountains

A Film by Gernot Stadler

Documentation, 2006
Written and directed by
Production Management
ORF Enterprise

The Kreuzeck mountains is one of the few absolutely untouched and wild mountain regions of Carinthia, which has also been spared from mass tourism. Unlike in the adjacent Hohe Tauern National Park, you hardly meet any hikers in the Kreuzeck mountains, let alone entire hiking groups. This is probably due to the great distances between the few shelters or the individual peaks, the highest of which, Polinik, measures almost 2,800 meters. For the hike to the Kreuzeck, good climbers need at least ten hours.
Those who nevertheless take on the arduous tours through the Kreuzeck mountains will be rewarded with breathtaking views of vast mountain landscapes. In the sparsely populated and impoverished region, alpine farming, forestry and high hunting dominate. While in other local mountain regions, the old hay huts have long since fallen into disrepair or are only used for tourism, in the Kreuzeck group you can still meet old cattle herders who spend the months from June to October in their poor lodgings and herds of cattle and sheep.
The hut owners are also used to the loneliness. It is by no means uncommon that no hikers stray to the mountain shelters Feldnerhütte, Polinikhütte or Salzkofelhütte for days. Nevertheless, you are received with all the greater cordiality and hospitality. This is a phenomenon that has also become rare in regions that have access to tourism.
The film documents life in the Kreuzeck mountains through the four seasons, follows the cattlemen and herders on their lonely paths and accompanies the hunters in autumn when they go hunting in the high mountains. It also documents the work of the Alpine Association, which keeps the extensive hiking trails in good shape, or the lives of the hut owners, who are only served by helicopter at the beginning of the season, but have to fetch food supplies from the valley on foot. The team is also following on the heels of a small group of climbers who take on the long path over the Kreuzeckeck mountains from the Feldnerhütte to the Drava valley, past numerous mountain lakes that are embedded like dark eyes in the rugged landscape.