The Path is the Destination – The Work of a Path Consultant
After 23 years as a path consultant, Richard Vitzthum is passing his role on to his grandson
Richard Vitzthum was the path consultant for the Austrian Alpine Club in the Salzburger Saalachtal for 23 years. Year after year he ensured the orderly and safe condition of the paths and climbs and spent every minute of his spare time in his beloved mountains. Now the time has come to pass the baton on to Andreas Vitzthum, his grandson, and to let the next generation take over: a good reason for us to meet with the congenial Loferer and to sum up the previous decades.
Not just the guests, but many locals praise the good conditions of our paths. Walking and mountain climbing is currently experiencing a great boom and it is important that people are out and about on good, safe paths.
Why this boom? Why are more people heading out into the mountains?
Because nature is becoming ever more treasured. Austria is certainly a safe country and holidays here are increasing in general. I also see a lot of young people on foot in the mountains which makes me particularly happy, not just walking but also climbing, bouldering and e-mountain biking. It seems to be to do with the search for freedom and time out in the natural world. And as I've already said, not just for the guests, but for the locals as well.
You know your local area, the Salzburger Saalachtal, particularly well, probably better than anyone else. What are your personal top spots?
That's true, I know the region very well indeed. For me, there are many beautiful places. Every village has its particular highlights. In Weißbach there is the Kallbrunnalm and the gorges; in St. Martin, Maria Kirchental – a wonderful place of power. In Lofer there is the entire Almenwelt with its seven circular hiking trails and in Unken, Heutal with the Sonntagshorn. Every one of these places is very special and always worth a visit.
A final question. Now that your grandson has taken over your job completely, will you still be out and about in the mountains, or have you seen enough in the preceding decades and prefer to remain down in the valley?
Of course I'll still hike in the mountains, summer and winter, as long as my health allows. Even today I was out and about. The mountains are a part of my life.