|Stretch:||Unterkainisch to Koppenrast|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to V|
|Flows:||150 cms was high but fantastic. “The River App” states ~90 to 145 as the runnable level.|
|Gradient:||68 fpm average (104 fpm for 2 miles starting at the first bridge)|
|Put-in:||Near the Bad Aussee train station in Unterkainisch|
|Take-out:||Parking lot for the Gasthaus Koppenrast restaurant in Koppenrast|
|Shuttle:||5 miles, <10 minutes one way|
|Season:||Spring (snowmelt / rain) and othertimes from rain|
|Featured in A Wet State #113 and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
Austria & More 2016: Day 1 Evening
After the Rettenbach, we tried to get a park and huck on the Offenseebach called “No Brainer” which is a sweet stack-up of waterfalls that drops maybe 60 feet in a set of 4 drops over 100 feet of length. But, arriving, the water was very high and the weather was very cold. We quickly scratched that idea and went to our final run of the day, the Koppentraun. The unexpected highlight of this was that we drove straight through the town of Hallsatt which is a famous town on an alpine lake. Super pretty. Would have loved to stop and take pictures but it was raining and you couldn’t see the scenery anyways so what was the use?
The run was definitely on the higher side, but that actually made it a great flow. I would call it class IV to V, mostly because a swim would be catastrophic. But most of the rapids also had easier lines to avoid some of the meat. I am sure at low water most of the run drops down to class III to IV, but I bet the big rapids are still class IV+. In total, this run was my favorite from our first day and one of my favorites from the trip. It was short (or at least due to the high flow, we made quick time through it!), but the easy access and deep canyon that the river is contained within made the run a fun one for sure.
Not that not far after the third bridge you will want to get out and scout on the left as there is the first steep rapid that has some mean holes on the left. You can go around them on the right. Below is the biggest rapid on the run, also a scout on the left. This one is a maze of rocks and holes that funnel down to a very large hole on the left. Below is a few hundred yards of intense runout before it begins to blend with the continuous rapids. From there down it is a non-stop roller-coaster of a ride through class IV+ big water. It is all good and fun until you find one of the large holes lurking in the rapids!
That evening we ate dinner at the restaurant at the take-out and then drove to Harry and Reiner’s Aunt and Uncle’s house where we crashed for the night (thank you!). This was awesome for two reasons 1) their house was heated and we were just below the snow line and 2) Harry needed to weld his boat and his Uncle had a heat gun.
For reference we had 150 cms and this is considered on the higher side. But by no means the upper limit.
Thanks to Harald and Reiner Glanz for sharing photos and for making the trip possible!
Last: Austria & More 2016: Day 1 Afternoon - Rettenbach (Upper)
Next: Austria & More 2016: Day 2 Morning - Untertalbach
- Weir (U). Get out on the left and portage the weir. The right side was a death trap for sure. At lower flow apparently the far left side is ok and a slide of sorts.
- First Bridge (III to IV). Things start to pick up as you pass the first of two train bridges. Stay on your toes, you will then approach a footbridge that marks your signal to get out on the left a few hundred yards later to scout the first big one. This section was just boogie but at this flow, a swim would cause you to be in the water for some length and potentially into the bigger set. So pay attention!
- First Big One (IV+ or V). At high flow there were two lines, the easier was on the right, start far right to avoid the mean hole in the middle, and then work back right of center down the tongue which off angle holes hitting you from either side. The harder line is to boof the left side of the entry hole and then exit by boofing the large flake on river left. Our group was split half sneaking and half running the meat. At lower flow apparently the left line is the normal line and not nearly as beefy.
- Biggest One (V). Just below the recovery pool (the only one on the river it seems), this rapid greets you. Scout on the left. It is a really long rapid, the crux of which is at the bottom of the first part. Harry and I ran an offshoot channel on the far right. Reiner and Jim mainlined it right and then center. The key once moving center is to avoid the hole on the left that the water funnels down into. Below, the runout was class IV+ for several hundred yards and continued around the corner. Eventually, it just kinda blended into the continuous nature of the river at the high flow.
Boogie (IV to IV+). The boogie just continues, non-stop. Most of it was reasy to read and run, there were a few sections though with large holes that we had to get creative with zig-zagging to avoid. There were literally no pools and very few eddies at this flow, so stay in your boat!
- You hit the border between Styria and Upper Austria and things quickly die down and get much easier, just class II from here to take-out.
Take-out: From the very well known tourist town of Hallstatt, continue south around the lake and head East on Hallstattersee Landesstraße which when you cross the Traun a second time becomes Koppenstraße. This second bridge is also the take-out, we parked on the far side of it.
Put-in: Continue for 5 miles on Koppenstraße. When you finally are directly next to the river, park in a turn out and put on!
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