So often, alpine passes are ravaged by their extreme exposure, but Austria has managed to keep its tarmac tidy. There is one section that’s bumpy, however – the road up the Edelweiss-Spitze, which rises like a crumbly Flake atop the smooth 99 of the main byway. It’s worth savouring the view from the summit – at 2577m, it claims to be Europe’s highest parking lot on a mountain peak – and the RS 5’s RS Sport suspension is more than capable of dealing with the rougher road.
Still climbing, we disturb the mastications of marmots, pass waterfalls and marvel at yet more picturesque peaks until, bursting from the flickering light of an avalanche tunnel, we reach Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe. The Emperor hiked up here in 1856 to see the glacier and, although the ice has receded considerably in the past 160 years, it is still plain to see why he made the effort. You should, too, if you get the opportunity. Just try to get up early.
Written by Henry Catchpole. Photographs by Greg Pajo
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