The "somewhat different" hut in Kufsteinerland
The Hans Berger Haus on the Wilder Kaiser
It's an alm hut and also mountaineering school on the Wilder Kaiser. But you can hardly put into words all the things that you can experience at Hans Berger Haus. As well as the Mountain Library, the ladies' climbing courses and the cooking workshops, the untamed nature and warmth of the hosts also enchant the hikers. Hut hostess Silvia Huber gives an insight into life on the mountain, and the many highlights that a visit to see her contains.
The history of this special mountain hut
At first glance Silvia Huber is "just" the hostess at Hans Berger Haus. But anyone who has stopped in at the rustic hut, located at 936 meters, knows that there's a lot more to her than that. She's been living in the mountains since she was a child, to be specific since she was six years old, continues to run the mountaineering school of her late father, treats her guests to delicacies, and attracts more and more hikers with her unusual ideas. Some of these are the climbing workshops exclusively for women, cooking courses, writing workshops and the highest Mountain Library, all offered by Silvia Huber in Hans Berger Haus. And all this in the middle of the Wilder Kaiser! Let's start at the start.
Ladies (climb) first
Even as a small child the lively hostess scrambled up the rocks of her local mountain, the Wilder Kaiser, with her father. As she grew up, in what she thought of as "the best place in the world", the young Silvia Huber noticed something: "I only had male friends up here on the mountain". But why is that? Asked the enthusiastic climber. The idea for a climbing course exclusively for women came from her slogan "more women in the mountains". "Women are skilled on the rock, but often let men take the lead", observed the hostess on guided tours. Another reason to put her idea into practice.
For some time now, up to five times a year, this means: "Ladies, put on your climbing harnesses and get up on the rock". And the students are impressed. "Climbing here, on the Kaiser, is really beautiful. But the courses are about much more. Self-confidence is strengthened, fears are tackled, and at the end everyone is happy and proud", says Silvia Huber
Learn to cook at 936 meters
Once a year, at the start of the season, the wooden spoon is brandished at 936 m at Hans Berger Haus. And no, not just by the cook, but also by the guests – at least those taking part in the cooking course. With the motto "earthy kitchen, wild paths", herbs are collected from the side of the path on a hike and then cooked with in the kitchen.
They are used in delicious "Girschknödel" or fresh nettle spinach. "The cooking course always books out fast. Anyone who wants to take part next year should register with us soon", grins Silvia.
Hike and learn
Anyone who thinks there are only libraries in the valley hasn't been to Hans Berger Haus. There are books from all over the world in the cupboards and on the tables, just waiting to be devoured by the guests. As well as "The Wall", "The Last Shaman" or "Submerged Country", there are also many other works that are popular with the guests. "Hike and learn", just like Silvia Huber describes it, as she offers biographical and literary writing seminars and text workshops on the side, with her friend and children's book author Brigitte Weninger.
Project Mountain Library
It's not only rocks that Silvia Huber is interested in, she also likes books. And the library at Hans Berger Haus is not her only literary project. Under the name "Die Gipfelbibliothek" (The Mountain Library) she gave her mountain guides 20 books in wind and waterproof sacks, to be put on various peaks – from Totenkirchl to Ellmauer Halt or Kleinen Hall. For the finders there was a little note included: "This is a book from the Mountain Library. As the finder you must first read it, then get in touch with us and take it to a different peak. From then on the books moved around. From the Wilder Kaiser to the Hochkönig, to the Brenta or even to South Africa. "In the early years hikers called me frequently, lately that has slowed down a little. Despite that I regularly send mountain guides off to the peaks with more literary works", says Silvia Huber laughing.
Or do you just want to eat?
Amongst all the options you almost forget the most important things: The culinary highlights of the Hans Berger Haus. And Silvia Huber says there are a lot of them. A fattened roast from a Kaisertal alm ox, or fresh spinach dumplings with Parmesan slivers? In any case the products come from the region, that's important to Silvia. On the topic of regionality: Cows graze directly in front of the house, and at some stage in the future will land on the plates. "It's nice when you know where the food comes from. When I look out the kitchen window I see next year's roast grazing in the field", laughs Silvia Huber.
(Almost) all paths lead to Hans Berger Haus
The shortest hike to Hans Berger Haus takes about two hours. The ten kilometre long path starts at the Kaisertal car park, and follows gravel and forestry roads to the adventure hut at 936 meters altitude. The route is perfect for families with children.
"You can look at a lot of photos of our hut and the surroundings, but if you really want to feel nature in all its facets, then you just have to come up and visit", says Silvia Huber finally, and lays herself down on the alm meadow to gaze up at the sky.