The Rotsohler - Krampus in the Veitsch region

Winter customs – every year on 5 December

The Semmering-Waldheimat-Veitsch region has its very own special version of the Krampus legend: The Rotsohler, also known locally as ‘Rotzula’. Every year on December 5th, he gets into mischief in the region. A long tradition that has stayed alive until the present day thanks to the many stories and legends that make it unique. Many generations of children have been afraid of the Rotsohler, a creature which has his origin in the municipality of St. Barbara im Mürztal / Veitsch on the Rotsohl-Alm in the area of Brunnalm-Hohe Veitsch. His name is derived from ‘roter Sohle’, the ore-bearing rock of the Rotsohler Alm.

Some legends surrounding the Rotsohler

Stories describe the Rotsohler as a wild creature with a full beard, long tongue, one heavy horse hoof and fully grown horns on his skull. The Rothsohler is said to be found in alpine pastures during the summer months, where he is looked after by dairymaids. But if the milk runs out, come winter, the creature will menace the valley, and children who have not been well-behaved ought to be afraid. Another tradition recounts that the Rotsohler is kept in heavy chains on the alpine pasture all summer long. But as the days become shorter, he becomes uncontrollable and breaks free from his fetters. Accompanied by an icy storm, he comes down from the mountains into the Mürz Valley, where he hunts for bad children. His day comes around every year on 5 December. Many families take part in the old customs with their children, as this one day is their only chance to see the Rotsohler in the valley stirring up trouble. But don’t worry – St. Nicholas is keeping an eye on this monster!

Tip: Hiking around the Rotsohlalm

If you want to check out the Rotsohler and his habitat for yourself during the year, we recommend the hike to the Rotsohlalm. The starting point is the large car park on the Brunnalm (1,050 metres above sea level) at the foot of the Hohe Veitsch mountains. From here, you pass the bottom station of the lift. Then cross the lift route to reach the forest track and follow it uphill until the turnoff. Now continue left past the Alpengasthaus Scheikl to the Rotsohlalm signpost. The forest track climbs slightly to the fork – at the bend, turn left and go downhill for a few metres to the marked path 465, which you follow over the bridge to path 464, through the sunken path to the pastures of the Schalleralm and then to the Rotsohlalm, where the path levels off somewhat. However, you might want to take a carton of milk with you as a precaution.

  • Total length: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Refreshment stops: Scheikl Alpine Inn, Schalleralm, Rotsohlalm, Pflanzlhütte

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