Location: North 47:20.244 East 012:29.714 (GPS at the summit)
Primary factor 1089 m
Difficulty YDS class 2 (winter)
Climbed January 21. 2008
How to get there:
A good starting point is the small village of Mittersill. This is south-west of Salzburg, Zell am See is
east on Hwy. 168 and Kitzbühel is north on Hwy. 161. A recommended place to stay in Mittersill is
hotel Bräurup. This place has a good kitchen and nice rooms.
They even provide Internet, however, they charge for wireless access, while providing their own PC
for free. I guess this will soon change.
Driving from the center of Mittersill, in the direction of Zell am See, you cross a small bridge,
measure from here.
At kilometer 0.8, Hwy. 161 intersects from the right, there are several gas stations in this area.
At kilometer 3.8, turn left off Hwy. 168, the sign says Stuhlfeldenr, this is a small village.
At kilometer 3.9, continue straight uphill, do not fork left. At kilometer 4.0, turn right. You pass a yellow
house on your left and you should fork left at kilometer 4.1, this is in the middle of
the small village. The road now heads more uphill as it leaves the village. At kilometer
5.7, follow the road as it makes a sharp right curve. At kilometer 6.1, similarly, make a sharp
left curve. At kilometer 6.9, keep going while making a sharp right curve. At kilometer 7.8, you
make a sharp left curve and continue uphill to kilometer 8.5. At this point, one road cotinues left,
while another road heads right, closed by a gate.
This is the trailhead, location
N47:17.760 E012:31.064, elevation 1212 meter. Route description:
From the trailhead, walk by the barrier and continue
along this forest road. When it makes a sharp
left stay with the road, a smaller track continues straight ahead. The road makes another right and
after a while there is a significant road fork.
The correct route is to stay right, ie. continue straight ahead (the other road makes a sharp left
here). The forest road heads directly towards a place where the valley makes a significant
bend to the left. The road gradually bends left as well and shortly after the new direction
is established, there is a bridge and the
road continues along the creek, but now on
its right hand side (facing uphill). There are steep mountains on your left and the valley
ends with steeper slopes blocking the way.
Almost at the very end is the
mountain hut Bürglhütte,
located at a nice plateau overlooking the inner valley. The location of
the hut is N47:19.389 E012:29.766, elevation 1700 meter.
Looking up the slope, there is sort
of only one fairly obvious route that climbs terrain without
any large avalanche danger. There are a few rather minor ridge formations that forms a quite
natural way. The skiing is not too steep and a nice left curve brings you up to somewhat
more gentle terrain at location N47:19.835 E012:29.690, elevation about 2020 meter.
Proceed uphill and towards the big bowl that the higher (and much steeper) mountain forms ahead.
The route looks difficult, but as you ski all the way into the bowl, a possible route reveals
itself to your right.
Ascend this slope as it again gains a somewhat more moderately sloping
section higher up.
A point of reference on this route may be at location N47:20.202 E012:29.605, elevation 2250 meter.
You are now just below the summit. Turn more left and continue climbing, this
time somewhat more steeply. Evaluate the snow and avalanche conditions before attempting
this final slope. One may be able to ski all the way up, however, when I did this trip
it was most convenient to leave the skis near location N47:20.246 E012:29.651, approximately
50 vertical meter below the summit. Ascend the final slope, it is fairly steep, but one may
reach easier ground towards the ridge both left and right of the very summit. Either way,
you are now only a few steps from the top. The mountain is very steep on the far side, be aware
of cornices. If you reach the ridge to the left of the summit,
your final ridge is then also quite
narrow just before the top.
I spent a good evening and night in hotel Bräurup, Mittersill, then started out
around 0800 the next morning. After taking the wrong turns a few times, I located the
proper trailhead and parked.
The valley was filled by fog,
but here the sun was already shining.
The views across the valley captured my attention.
I started out at 0905 and walked along the nice forest road with my skis on the backpack.
I had little idea about this peak and no adequate map, only "tourist" outlines. I knew that
my route should pass a (closed) mountain hut called Bürglhütte. The trailhead sign
indicated 2.5 hours to this hut, so I was pleased when arriving there already at 1030.
After a short rest, I headed up the large slope. There was clearly only one reasonable route
and at 1115, I was skiing in a very nice landscape above the initial hill already at an elevation
of 2100 meter.
The view back across the valley was already outstanding.
The steeper part of the route was behind me, the
peaks that had looked very high from the valley
floor were now much more just across.
The next section looked more complex. I had seen the Internet map which indicated
that one should gain the ridge, then follow it to the top. The inner part of the huge bowl
ahead looked steep. To gain the ridge (on my right) looked possible, but rather steep.
Just as I was pondering this question, I could see old tracks (by boots not skis), heading
up to my right. Hmm. I should likely pay attention to what "the locals" used to do, so without
much hesitation I parked my skis and headed uphill. The time was now 1130. The slope turned steeper
higher up and I got onto dry land without snow. There were no rocks, just very hard, frozen
soil. The horizon was close, showing that the terrain did not get any steeper. In order to
proceed, I should likely have put on crampons to ensure a somewhat better grip for my boots.
I definitely disliked the place and just as I contemplated my next move, I became aware of
two skiers that skied downhill. Where did they come from? They obviously had not climbed the
peak along my route, or I would have seen their tracks. Thus, there was a skiable route further
into the bowl. I carefully descended back down to my skis and (having "wasted" almost 40 minutes)
continued skiing. There was indeed a very natural slope leading higher. This nice route had been
out of sight from the earlier part of my route. I skied uphill, first a line to the left, then
a longer traverse right that brought me to a somewhat more level area. From here, the slope
gradually got steeper towards the summit. The slope had minimal snow and therefore minimal
danger of any avalanche.
I skied to about 2320 meter, parked my skies, put on crampons
(I would have managed without), took one ski pole and my ice axe, then proceeded uphill. Higher
up, I had the choice between a traverse left or right. The left seemed shorter. It brought me
to the main ridge, revealing a vertical cliff on the far side. This ridge was easy, however
quite narrow before attaining the summit area. I reached the summit at 1305, so 4 hours from
the trailhead including a 40 minute "detour". I signed the summit register, had a small
lunch and mostly gazed around on 360 degrees of mountain scenery.
The sun reflected off a top station for a ski lift, making me aware
of a ski area that seemed to
be in the middle of the mountains. Most likley, there is a gondola that takes skiers from the main valley
and up into that area. Impressive peaks everywhere, here you see
Birnhorn, one of Austria's ultra prominent mountains.
Geisstein is the tallest peak in the east part
of Kitzbühler Alpen, this
made for outstanding views (Grosses Ochsenhorn is the
highest peak to the right).
After about 30 minutes,
it was time to descend. I skied carefully, being solo and in a pretty remote location.
Back at the car around 1450, less that 1.5 hours on the return.
The upper part of the ski route. The route comes from the left, turns right
near the right side of the picture and follows the terrain up to a somewhat steeper
slope below the gras (cannot be seen in this picture). The slope lower down is also
somewhat steeper than it looks.