A new, first-rate scope

The spotting scope at the New Thuringia Chalet in the Habach valley located in the Austrian Alps has been in use for almost 100 years and has a very special history. But now it was time for an upgrade – a ZEISS spotting scope of the highest class.

At the New Thuringia Chalet in the Habach valley, there is a large spotting scope for all nature and mountain enthusiast to use. This is unique for a small Alpine club chalet. During the season, the 1.30-meter-long instrument is mounted on a large, iron carrier. The view on the on the Habach Glacier, the alpine wildlife, the many 3,000m peaks of the Habach Loop and the large waterfall below the Habachkee are stunning!

Over 90 years old
The instrument was made in the 1920s at ZEISS in Jena – at a time when spotting scopes were not yet mass produced, but individually. The number on the eyepiece proves that it was handed over to the German Alpine Club before 1926. The history of the Thuringian section in the German Alpine Club dates back to the 19th century. Ernst Abbe, the physicist and co-founder of ZEISS, the chemist Otto Schott, founder of SCHOTT and the natural scientist Ernst Haeckel – all of them were members of the former Alpine Club section Jena.

It would be irresponsible to continue using such a historic scope until it falls into disrepair.

A new ZEISS spotting scope for the 150th birthday

Gunter Ungerecht: “The ravages of time show their signs. It would be irresponsible to simply continue to use such a historical telescope until it becomes unusable. With its unique history, it should be preserved for posterity and be accessible to the public. Whether we are exhibiting the telescope as a piece of history on the chalet itself or loaning it to a museum is still undecided. I personally argue in favor of the second option, for example the German Optical Museum would certainly be a suitable place to showcase a piece of optical history.”

On the initiative of the Meiningen section, ZEISS has now provided a new spotting scope for all visitors to the chalet. The ZEISS Harpia 95 was presented as part of the jubilee tour of the sections for the 150th anniversary of the German Alpine Club. Gunter Ungerecht and Dirk Zimmermann of the Meiningen section are delighted by the optical quality of the scope.
For ZEISS and the Thuringia sections of the German Alpine Club the action is the prelude to a closer relationship in the future Joachim Kuss from ZEISS Consumer Markets: “We are delighted to be able to revive a tradition.” Many Zeissians even today, are enthusiastic about the mountains and nature. Now everyone who comes to the New Thuringia Chalet can experience what modern optics can do.”

“Is there anything better than recounting this tale at one of the two ZEISS optical museums and experiencing it firsthand with a visit to the chalet?”

Back in April, ZEISS was contacted by the branch in Meiningen and asked for advice on whether the old spotting scope should be refurbished, or if a new, high-performance scope could be sent to the Carl Zeiss Foundation. ZEISS responded just three days later: “We’d already assigned an employee to the case.”

On 6 July, as part of the 150th anniversary tour of the German Alpine Club’s various branches, Joachim Kuss (Head of Communications at the ZEISS Consumer Markets) presented the Neue Thüringer Hütte with a first-rate spotting scope, a Victory Harpia 95, complete with a professional stand and carrying case.

“This is the finest optics system of its kind in the world!” said Gunter Ungerecht and Dirk Zimmermann. They were in charge of looking after the ZEISS guests on the day. In their brief discussions, it became clear that ZEISS is very interested in maintaining its links to the German Alpine Club.

Gunter Ungerecht told us: “It’s incredible to see what such a cutting-edge system is capable of! The clarity and resolution of the visible area are just mind-blowing. You can even make out objects that are kilometers away without any color distortion – now that’s what I call impressive!”