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Glück auf! (Fire and Steel I) Traditional Geocache

Hidden : 06/22/2003
2 out of 5
4.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

A long hike with an elevation gain of about 1100m and a nice view of the Erzberg (ore-mountain). Expect 5-6 hours of walking/climbing.

map of the cache area / karte der cacheumgebung

More than a thousand years ago, a merman (Male equivalent of a mermaid) was roaming the area around N47°34.923', E014°49.560. On sunny days he loved to lie sleeping on a rock in the sunshine. He was afraid of people and as slick as a fish so some men used a trick to catch him. They placed a keg of ale, a roast and garb soaked with tar on the shore of the lake.

When the merman got up he ate the roast, trank the ale and finally he doned the garb. He lay down and fell asleep, inabriated from the ale.

That was what the lads had been waiting for. They attacked him, captured him and dragged him off toward Eisenerz.

At N47°34.296' E014°50.905' the merman woke up, he trashed around and threatened his captors. When his threats did not succeed he begged and made an offer.

"If you let me go I promise to give you either gold for a year, silver for a decade or iron for all eternity. Choose well!"

After a short discussion the men decided to take the iron. When the merman heard their decision he pointed to a wooded, pointed hill located at N47°31.476', E014°54.718' and said: "You have chosen. There you will find iron for all eternity!"

They let him go but before he vanished into the river he shouted: "You have not asked me about the best things, the carbuncel stone and the cross in the nutshell". Then he disappeared. Even today people are still wondering what he had meant.

The Erzberg (ore-mountain) has been mined for iron for centuries. The iron and the products made from it have provided jobs for thousands of people. That's why the mountain is also called the iron loaf of bread of Styria.

The cache "Glück auf!" is located near the summit of the Pfaffenstein, a mountain opposite the Erzberg since hinking and walking on the Erzberg is forbidden. From the summit you have a wonderful view of the Erzberg and also of the mountains of the Hochschwab-range.

"Glück auf!" is the traditional salute of the miners.

In the town of Eisenerz you can take a tour inside the Erzberg an see how it was mined in centuries past and how it is mined today. More infos at

You can leave your car at the car-park for the Pfaffenstein, at N47°32.820' E014°53.657'(taken from the GPS which had an error of 35m at that time) (N47°32.719',E014°53.815' taken from the map which I think is more accurate) or in one of the roads below it, as I did.

The cache is located below the cross on the summit, but it is on the side facing away from the Erzberg. The other side would have been more challenging but much more dangerous. The real summit is six meters higher than the cross, and a bit away (N47°33.672', E014°54.902'), but when I placed the cache I had not noticed it until it was to late. So I think it's ok if you just walk to the cross. I went up on the Südwandsteig (Scharbachersteig) ( )and down on the Markussteig. ( ) I don't recommend it the other way round since the Südwandsteig is more difficult and I don't think it's fun climbing down there. You don't need a map, but it is very convenient to have one should you take a wrong turn.

The cache is a tupperware-box hidden in a pile of tiny rocks below a single large rock within some Mountain dwarf-pines (Latschen).

You should have some experience in mountain-climbing and no fear of falling. There are handrails in most of the more dangerous parts, but you still have to know you can make it. Panicking because you are afraid is not an option there.

There is also a path that should be easier (and longer) starting at N47°33.750',E014°52.555'(Urlaubkreuz), but I have not tried going up there. You can get there from the Leopoldsteiner-lake or from Eisenerz using the path 01.

Especially in the Südwandsteig you should be careful not to kick any loose rocks (there are lots of them) down on the people climbing below you.

If you go up the Markussteig don't get concerned because of the many plaques for people who died climbing this mountain. I think they all tried the Westgrat ( ), which is a direct climb to the top from some point close to where the plaques are. But be warned. You should not try that way unless you really know what you are doing.

The initial contents of the cache are:
Cachenote (do not remove)
Logbook (do not remove)
Pencil (do not remove)
Fairy tale-TV
Rubber ball
Soap bubbles
Mini-UFO (Do not try it on top of the mountain. You might forget about the dangers of falling down if you try to catch it )
Icebear rubber stamp

If you need a ball-pen you can borrow it from the summit-log, located at the "Berg frei"-sign, a few meters away. Be sure to return it there!

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Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fgnaqvat evtug arkg gb gur uvqvat-cynpr lbh pna frr gur fhzzvg-pebff, gur "Oret serv"-fvta naq gur Yrbcbyqfgrvare ynxr.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)