In the mountaineering village of Johnsbach people know how to tell a good story, including quite a few tragic ones. At the mountaineers’ cemetery, those who lost their lives in the mountains of the Gesäuse, and indeed the world, are laid to rest. Some were caught by bad weather, others fell off rock faces or became the victims of rockfall. The tombstones and their stories are telling.
Alpinism in the Gesäuse has a long tradition. It was here that the term ‘University of Mountaineering’ was forged. Already at the turn of the last century many first ascents were being attempted and, even today, names such as Heß and Preuß are still very much inseparably intertwined with the region’s history.
Finding out about the tragedies that have occurred is saddening, but the cemetery is a very special place. And what a lovely (last) view of the Großer Ödstein Peak it offers. Walking through the remarkably beautiful tombstones and reading the stories they tell is a truly touching experience.
In his book, Johnsbach von der Knappensiedlung zum Friedhof (Johnsbach from the miners’ village to the cemetery), H. Walter describes the cemetery beautifully: “Thousands of people from all over the world visit this cemetery. Here, in this place of sadness and fame, they feel alive and commemorate the dead.” This is what heaven for mountaineers must be like.