The Pastirica Glacier (Pasterzengletscher) lies below the north-eastern slope of the Veliki Klek (Grossglockner, 3,798 m), the highest mountain in Austria.
The area is part of the Hohe Tauern National Park. The glacier is shrinking intensely and in the period from 1960, where the lower station of the funicular is, to 2008 it lost ~ 150 m above sea level. The length of the glacier (September 26, 2021) is 5,910 m.
Situation August 2008:
the lower part of the glacier measures 4,420 m in length (as of August 2008, measured with a Garmin 60CSx GPS), and a maximum width of 670 m (ice without side moraines), a glacier area with a maximum slope of 1,220 m) and an accumulation area of 2,100 m.
With a length of approximately * 7.4 km (2008), the Pastirica Glacier is the longest glacier in Austria. A cable car leads to the lower station (2,220 m) from the Franz Josef-Josefs-Höhe lookout point (2,369 m), and then an approximately 150 m altitude difference of the arranged footpath to the bottom of the glacier (2,073 m, August 2008).
Situation August 2012:
the lower part of the glacier decreased by 186 m compared to 2008. The length of the glacier: 7,210 m.
Situation September 2021:
the lower part of the glacier decreased by 1,300 m compared to 2012. The front of the ground moraine is located 600 m below the front of the glacier. Glacier length: 5,910 m
The road to Franz-Josefs-Höhe is part of the Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse, a high-altitude road opened to traffic in 1935 and connecting Dölfach in the north with the village of Sveta Kri (Heiligenblut) (1,297 m) in the south. The name of the glacier "Pasterze" comes from the original Slovenian name for the whole area "Pastirica" (also pasture).
Below the glacier, there are two smaller lakes (Sandersee, and Margaritzenstausee).