The existency of a Traunsteiner Huette on each side of the Bavarian-Austrian border on the Reiteralpe, a mighty mountain range in the North-West of the Berchtesgaden Alps, goes back to political reasons in the time of the National Socialism. On May 27th 1933, the National Socialists introduced the so-called „1000-Mark-Sperre“ (Mark was the currency then, and ‚Sperre‘ means ban) which should make the crossing between Austria and Germany far more complicated, if not impossible. 1,000 Reichsmark had to be paid when crossing the border to Austria, which was then already making money on tourism. It was supposed to weaken the tourism industry. The „Traunsteiner Huette“, built in 1901 on Austrian territory, would have been badly hit by this resolution, which would have meant the economic end.
Due to the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of the Alpine Club Section Traunstein, under its former chairman Karl Merkenschlager (a laywer) and after a short planning and construction period, a much larger house was built on the Bavarian territory at 1570 m above sea-level. Exactly 75 years ago, on September 4th 1938, the new hut was inaugerated and from then on was called „Neue Traunsteiner Huette“ (neue means new).
The location was chosen by the architect Gesaenger. He was born in Franconia and this was his first time to be on the Reiteralpe. He looked in all directions and spontaneously pointed to the site where the hut was going to be built. Some experts of the area were surprised by that decision, but nobody dared to contradict a decision of a Fuehrer’s architect.
Nowadays, it is irrelevant that the experts‘ preferred area wouldn’t have required any blasting and the view of the Southern part of the mountains would have been nicer. The hut named after Karl Merkenschlager was constantly modernised and equipped with the latest technology to produce alternative energy and a modern sewage treatment plant. So, visitors can look forward to a comfortable accomodation at the hut with Maresi Herbst and Tom Krüger from the close by Lofer in Salzburg as their hosts. They have been in charge of the hut for eleven years. Maresi indulges the guests with tasty and regional cuisine and creates delicious tea blends from herbs grown on the Reiteralpe.
The „Neue Traunsteiner Huette“ and the „Alte Trainsteiner Huette“( The „Alte Trainsteiner Huette“ is closed to the public) are situated in the rambling pasture of the Reiteralpe. It seems like a huge bowl with an edge up to 2286 metres represented by the peaks. Right through this plateau runs the nowadays insignificant border line between Bavaria and Austria which also forms the edge of the National Park „Berchtesgaden“. The hut serves as an ideal starting point for numerous short or long walks and hikes in all levels of difficulty. So it’s also recommended to stay for more than one day.