Climbing a Wheelchair-Accessible Mountain in Winter

No, the title isn’t clickbate. Schöckl mountain, located about an hour by bus outside of Graz, is so popular with the people of Austria’s second-largest city that it was recently made entirely wheelchair accessible. You can now travel from the center of Graz all the way to – and around – the summit of the 1,445 meter tall mountain. They even constructed a flat, wooden path at the top. I guess that’s what Austria does with its roughly 2,000 Euros per capita higher GDP than that of Germany.

Usually, though, people go hiking in summer, not woefully unprepared and in winter. I’m a mountain kid, but a summer mountain kid. Regardless, I took it on myself.

I was planning on reaching the summit by taking the (wheelchair-accessible) gondola lift. Unfortunately, due to high winds, it was not operating. I decided to ascend anyway. The big mistake that I made was to take the “short” path of the cleared-out strip under the gondola, straight up the side of the mountain. While the route is, in theory, shorter and the views are breathtaking, it is also very steep and not a hiking track – and very icy.

It took me much longer than the normal hiking routes up the mountain. But there was a much greater sense of achievement when I finally reached the top.

Speaking of: let me show you around the Schöckl-plateau in my little photo sequence.

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