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Photo: Mountaineering in Austria
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On our first mountaineering experience, my brother (who took this photo) and I (center) enjoyed this beautiful trek in Austria's Zillertal Alps. We started from an elevation of 2,227 meters (7,306 feet) and headed for the summit of Grosser Loffler at 3,379 meters (11,086 feet). After more than an hour of low-grade scrambling, we strapped on our crampons, roped up, and started climbing. Before reaching the rocky summit, we climbed a glacier that was continually getting steeper for almost four hours. We were rewarded with a great view of the Zillertal Valley below and the South Tyrol region of Italy on the other side of the mountain.

Eric Gordon, 26
Congressional staffer
Washington, D.C.

DIY: To reach the Zillertal High Alps in Austria, fly into Salzburg and take the train ( ) into the alpine resort town of Mayrhofen. For discounts on Austria's famed Alpine huts, join the United Kingdom branch of the Austrian Alpine Club ( If, like us, you lack serious mountaineering experience, rope up with the guides at Bergsport Zillertal (

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