Kitzsteinhorn peak (left) above the Schmiedingerkees glacier , as seen from Schmittenhöhe, about 16 km to the North
|Elevation||3,203 m (10,509 ft)|
|Prominence||439 m (1,440 ft)|
|Isolation||3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi)|
|First ascent||1828 by Johann Entacher|
The Kitzsteinhorn is a mountain in the High Tauern range of the Central Eastern Alps in Austria. It is part of the Glockner Group and reaches a height of 3,203 m (10,509 ft) AA. The Kitzsteinhorn glaciers are a popular ski area.
Today the summit can be easily reached using the Glacier Aerial Tramway from the valley station at 911 m (2,989 ft), including the highest cable car pylon in the world, being 113.6 m (373 ft) tall with a diameter of 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in). There is a restaurant and a panoramic terrace on the roof of the upper station, at 3,029 m (9,938 ft) above sea level.
Skiing on Mt Kitzsteinhorn already began in the early 20th century, when the German and Austrian Alpine Club erected a mountain hut (Krefelder Hütte) in 1907-09. The first cable car was put into operation in December 1965, and opened up the Schmiedingerkees and Maurerkees glaciers, making it the first glacier ski slope in the Austrian Alps. Nevertheless, the resort has to deal with environmental impacts and the global retreat of glaciers since 1850.
An underground funicular railway was opened in 1974, after two and a half years of building works to create the 3,295-metre (10,810 ft) long tunnel, to run in parallel with the cable car, for greater capacity. This funicular was the location of the Kaprun disaster in which 155 people died on 11 November 2000. To replace the funicular, Gletscherjet I (Glacier Jet I), a 24-person funitel, was brought into service on 23 December 2001. Gletscherjet II, a gondola lift, followed in the next year, opening on 19 October 2002.
Notes and references
- "Kitzsteinhorn: A skiing region". BBC News. 2000-11-11. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- Banerjee, Neela (2000-11-12). "Cable-Car Fire Kills 170 Skiers Trapped In Austrian Tunnel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- "Austria tunnel fire blamed on heater". BBC News. 2001-09-06. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
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