• Grossvenediger
  • 3666 m
  • Primary factor 1199 m
  • Hohe Tauern, Austria
  • Location: 47.10927, East 012.34540 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed April 20. 2018


How to get there:
The starting location is the small village named Neukirchen am Grossvenediger. This town is located along Hwy. 165 going west from Mittersill. You get to Mittersill by travelling west on Hwy. 168 from Zell am See. Zell am See, in turn, is reach via Hwy. 311 going south then west from Bischofshofen. Bischofshofen is near A10 south of Salzburg.
As you travel west from Neukirchen am Grossvenediger, turn left only a few hundred meter after leaving town, on a smaller road serving Sulzau. Pass through this tiny farm community, heading for the valley that exits towards this plain. Turn right and cross a bridge (the river), then head left (south) as this forest road climbs into the valley.
In April, the road was closed already at location N47.22382, E012.24481, elevation about 940 meter, where there is limited parking on the left side. This is just opposite the location of a small quarry.
Note that later in the season, there are more transport options, see below.
Route description:
Hut climb:
First, follow the road to the border of the national park. There is a good sized parking lot here. Thus, later in th season (mid May?), one may drive to, and park here. This location is N47.19330, E012.26182, elevation about 1300 meter. Later in the season when the road is ok further up and into the valley, there is a taxi service that have permission to drive people a lot closer to the Kürsinger hut.
In winter (spring), the route follows the road and there are two distinct uphill sections in this valley. After the first uphill where the road climbs in zig-zags, a more level section follows and one arrives at the Postalm hut. This is a good starting point for a climb of Grosser Geiger. Next, the valley has another step before you enter the last, more level section that runs below the Kürsinger hut. One follows the valley to its very end where a steeper section climbs to reach a very distinct (glacier) lake. The glacier used to be here, but after retracting a lake has formed. One must cross this lake, then turn left there is a slighly shorter route that ascends a gully or one may ski a somewhat larger arc and have a more gradual climb. The route continues to find its way uphill while tending left until it reaches its highest point at location N47.12280, E012.30517, elevation about 2620 meter. From here, follows a descent (down left) in order to reach the Kürsinger hut, located at N47.12257, E012.29986, elevation about 2550 meter.
Route description:

About the Kürsinger Hütte:
This hut is rather large, capacity about 150 guests. It opens in early March. The staff is friendly and the service and food is similar to many Austrian alpine huts.
However, this hut has a few problems that other Austrian huts fortunately have avoided. I have stayed at about 20 such huts in Austria and the problems at Kürsinger seems to be specific. First, they operate with a web-based reservation system that has a very poor design. It is difficult to make a reservation. I believed I had succeeded when getting a confirmation, but it turned out that they also required an advance payment, this was not at all obvious and if I had detected it, very difficult to use with foreign payment. As a result, I was informed that our booking had been cancelled and our reserved room had been allocated to another party. The man in charge solved this (only 5 guests when we arrived). However, we quickly understood that climbing Grosser Geiger on our last day would be easier if we only stayed for 3 nights instead of the original plan of 4. Thus, I asked that we be refunded one night, a total of 40 Euros. The (new) guy in charge (not the guy that gave us a room) now postponed this request for more than a day saying that his boss would have to decide and she came late the next day. When asking her, she immediately consulted with the former guy and then informed us that we could get the refund by sending a letter to Salzburg. Great! We needed Euro there and then, since we were running low, 40 Euros is certainly not something to start writing letters about.
They did accept Visa/Mastercard for an additional fee of Euro 5 per transaction, insisting that every single purchase should be paid immediately. A beer at Euro 4.40 would then be 9.40, very reasonable indeed.
The head of the hut claimed that it was beyond her authority to deal with a matter as large as 40 Euros, she admitted that the hut was overbooked (on Saturday night) and that she would sell our "unused beds" an extra time. I shall say no more, the lack of flexibiity and fair service was appalling.