Wildspitze, the Giant in Tirol

Wildspitze mountain Austria
Der Wildspitze, a true bucket-list giant.

The Wildspitze is the second highest mountain in Austria and the highest in Tirol. With more than 100 different ski villages, the Wildspitze is a well-known setting for many wintersport enthusiastics looking for a memorable winter holiday. In summertime, the historical towns, rich culture and traditional Tyrolean customs, make this spot on earth a great location to stay after a long day out and about.

About

Located in Ötztal in Austria

The Wildspitze is located in the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol between the Ötztal and the Pitztal. It is the second highest peak in Austria with an altitude of 3772 meters. Only the Grossglockner reaches higher. The mountain was first ascended by L. Klotz, a local farmer, in 1861. However, in 1848 a group of climbers had already successfully climbed the southern summit, which is slightly lower. During the twentieth century, the snow on the north peak melted away, making the south peak higher. According to some, the ascent of 1848 is considered the first one.

The route via the Breslauer Hut is the most common. It starts in the village of Vent and the summit climb takes about four hours. An alternative route includes a stay over in the Braunschweiger Hut. As this route is more glaciated, there are more crevasses to cross, expanding the climb to 6,5 hours.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Wildspitze

The mountain is heavily glaciated and has twin summits; the South summit which is quite rocky at 3,768m and the North summit which is mostly firn-covered at 3,760m.

Best Time to Climb Wildspitze

The summer months of July, August and September are ideal especially for the normal routes. In case you want to avoid crowds during peak season, climb during weekdays. Due to ice melting on the North face route during summer, there has been increased danger of rock fall. Therefore, spring and winter seasons are recommended while using this route.

Wildspitze Climbing Routes

The Normal Route

Wildspitze (photo Fuchs Robert)

This route is considerably easy; however complete glacial equipment and experience will still be required. A local mountain guide is recommended for the glacier crossing.

The normal route starts from the Breslauer Hut which is at 2,840m over the Mitterkarjoch. Most people opt to spend the night at this hut and proceed to the summit the next morning. You could also take the chairlift from Vent up to Stablein at 2350m. An uphill ride costs €11

Two routes lead to the Breslauer Hut from Vent (1,900m); via Rofen or via Stablein. The route to Rofen has a suspension bridge across the river and is more scenic. The trail gets steeper to the north while following the Rofen Bach and after 600m, the Stablein trail joins from the right. The trail zigzags towards the west for about 200m to the hut.

The chairlift that operates in summer that can take you to Stablein. After which it will take roughly one and a half hours to the Breslauer Hut. You can opt to hike through the trail from Vent to Stablein.

There are two trails that go west from the hut; the upper one goes to Wildspitze and the lower one goes to Vernagt Hutte.

Aiming for the Mitterkarjoch, stick to the valley centre while gaining altitude; make a wide turn to the north and eventually north-east on the glacier.

Once you get to the Mitterkarjoch, the Taschachferner will stretch towards the west. Be on the lookout for crevasses here. The rocky south ridge is the easiest way to reach the summit.

The North Wall Route

This route, like the other north face routes is currently succumbing to the effects of global warming, therefore winter season is recommended as ideal to attempt a climb.

From Pitztal ski area, you can take the lift to Mittelberg Joch and then descend to the Taschach Glacier. On its left side, head south through crevasses, then west to the base of the steep wall. Once beneath this steep wall of ice, the best summit routes will be generally on the right side of the rocks that are in the middle of that face.

From the Pitz Valley Glacier

From Mittelberg Joch, which can be accessed via a cable car, head southwards to the Taschachferner glacier’s eastern edge. Without height gain and under an icefall, proceed westwards. There will be crevasses on your left.

From the snow bridge, turn left heading south-east, pass below the Hinterer Brochkogel and proceed beneath the Mitterkarjoch. The slope is much steeper from here. Make a right turn once you reach the base of the summit. The last hundred meters to the summit are completed by foot over icy snow and rocks.

Pitztal Valley

Pitztal Valley
© Ben The Man

The Pitztal Valley is one of the most-visited places around Wildspitze. A unique family atmosphere permeates the village streets. You find yourself in the middle of the Alps. Pitztal is a side valley of the Inntal. The villages of Wenns, Sankt Leonhard im Pitztal and Arzl im Pitztal are the most important stops for tourists.

Ötztal

Ötztal
© Daniel Fuchs

Idyllic is probably the best word to describe the nature in the Ötztal from hilly alpine meadows to the eternal snows high up in the mountains. There are several villages in this valley that will immerse you into the traditional Tyrolean culture: Sautens, Haiming-Ochsengarten, Sölden, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Vent. All of them are great starting bases to discover the many hiking trails leading through this region.

Mountain Huts near the Wildspitze

Breslauer Hut

Mountain hut - Breslauer Hut
Breslauer Hut

The Breslauer Hut is a German Alpine Club mountain hut located at the base of the Wildspitze, the highest mountain in North Tirol. Due to its elevation of 2844m, it isthe perfect starting point for ascents up Mount Wildspitze. When the hut was built in 1882, there were only 15 sleeping places inside. Nowadays, it accommodates at least 172 people. It takes about three hours to reach the cabin from the village of Vent. Popular mountains climbed from this hut are the Hinterer Brochkogel, Ötztaler Urkund, Wildes Mannle and the Wildspitze. Hikers often stayover before hiking further to Braunschweiger Hutte, Taschachhaus or Vernagthutte.

Braunschweiger Hut

Mountain hut - Braunschweiger Hutte
Braunschweiger Hutte

The Braunschweiger Hut is slightly lower than the Breslauer Hut with an elevation of 2759m. The hut, owned by the German Alpine Club,is situated close to the Mittelbergferner Glacier along the E5 long distance hiking trail. Its wooden interior evokes the charm of the Tyrolean Alps. The smell of the traditional Austrian cuisine servedadds to the atmosphere. Many hikers set the cabin as their goal to get tremendous views of the Mittelbergferner Glacier. You can opt to hike your way up or use the Gletscherexpress lift, before descending your way down. The hut has 56 beds and 127 matress dormitories.

Vernagthutte

Mountain hut - Vernagthutte
Vernagthutte

Starting from Vent, it takes about three hours to reach Vernagthutte (2755m). The cabin is open from March to mid-May, and from mid-June to mid-September. There are 192 places to sleep.

 

 

Accommodations in the region of the Wildspitze

Tirol stretches over Austria and Italy and has become a popular winter sport destination. In the summertime, the region around Wildspitze lures active travelers from all over the world with its fine mountain vistas. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

geierwallihof
Geierwallihof

I highly recommend Geierwallihof in Vent. It is the last building up in the valley, where the road ends and the mountains begin. I stayed there a few times with my father and we had a lovely time. The Klotz family takes care of groups with the same personal touch as if you are by yourself. Enjoy the cordial and refreshing atmosphere surrounded by the most beautiful mountains of Tyrol.

Hubert is also an experienced  mountain guide who takes his guests for beautiful hikes. The route is discussed and fixed the day before. Food and drinks are prepared by their kitchen. When required, the hotel bus provides transport, free of charge.

 

Hiking near the Wildspitze

Vent: Webcam − Blick auf
 Live view of Vent

If you are looking for an active summer holiday, the Otztal in Tyrol has plenty to offer from family circular walks to glacier tours. The many huts, lakes and trails that connect them provide great fun while in the nature of Tyrol.

Mittelbergferner Glacier

From the village Mittelberg at the end of the Pitztal, you can take the Gletscherexpress or hike your way up to the Mittelbergferner glacier. This takes about 2 to 3 hours. If you wish to stay in the nearby Braunschweiger Hut, you will need proper equipment to cross the tongue of the glacier.
Starting from Sölden in the Ötztal valley you can hike to Pitztaler Jöchl.

Sellrain Hut Loop

The Sellrain Hut Loop is a tour divided into 7 stages with walking times between three and six hours. It is ideal for beginners and mountaineers planning for higher targets. The alpine paths lead from hut to hut all the way through the Sellrainer mountains. The tour often starts in Sellrain and has an overall distance of 78 kilometers during which it gains and loses 5,950 meters of elevation.

Nature exploration trail

The nature exploration trail is one of the many thematic trails found in the region. The hike is suitable for all levels across the Sölden ski area. The trail starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogelbahn and ends at the Edelweiss Hut. Along the way of this 7km trail, you will be educated about several topics including the fauna and flora to be found there or the ancient customs and traditions of the Ötztal. Furthermore, it offers insight into the dangers that can be found on the mountains. Hiking the Nature exploration trail takes about two hours during which you ascend 100m and descend about 450m.

Hike to Heidealm

Starting in the village of Sölden, you walk to the church and take the steeply-rising trail leading to the hamlet of Innerwald. Then continue your hike to the area known as “Stiegele” before a rising pasture trail takes you to the Gaislach forest road. This will bring you to the Gaislach Alm mountain inn where you will find the further trail to the mountain hut, Heidealm. The remaining hike willascend and wind. This trail is rated an easy hike and can be completed in 1h30 min. However, most of the trail you will be ascending towards the hut, so make sure you are fit to undertake this hike.

Hut Tour Windachtal

If you have an active holiday in mind filled with hiking in beautiful mountain scenery, this hut tour might be perfect for you. This hut tour starts in Sölden and can be completed in three to five days, depending on your preferences. If you choose the five-day itinerary, you will find yourself hiking for 4 to five hours a day. Along the way, you can sleep in several mountain huts, where you can rest and enjoy some Austrian specialties. The severe elevation change (4000m+) makes this a difficult tour for experienced walkers.

Ötztal trek

For those with more time on their hands, the Otztal trek affords the ultimate Tyrolean experience. A total distance of 400 kilometers, divided into 22 sections and gaining over 30000 altitude meters, this multi-day trek guarantees picturesque mountain views, idyllic mountain lakes and thrilling trails leading to even better vistas. The Ötztal trek is a string of exceptional viewpoints to the summits of impressive 3000 meter peaks in the high alpine terrain.

Hochoetz

The alpine hut region, Hochoetz, is truly a hikers paradise. The Acherkogelbahn takes you up to 2020m in no time, at the starting point of several well-marked hiking trails. It is recommended whether you are looking for easy hikes to nearby mountain huts or a more challenging tour over the mountain tops and sidevalleys of the Ötztal.

Hiking with kids

If you are on an active holiday with young children, you can find many family-friendly hikes around the area. However, if there is one hiketo recommend, it would be the Zwerglerweg. This hike starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogel gondola and leads to the quaint Goldegg hut. The hike will give the children an opportunity to discover different stories and fairytales. The hike only takes about 40min and leads downhill, making it an easy walk.

Things to do around Wildspitze

Mount Wildspitze is located in Tyrol, Austria, a region where visitors are enchanted by the imposing mountain surroundings. The Ötztal is surrounded by several mountain huts and alms, making for great daytrips for hikers. Don’t forget to soak up the traditional culture by participating in one of the festivals during the summer or enjoying typical Tyrolean specialties such as Tiroler Gröstl and Kiachl with cranberry jam.

Ötzi
In Umhausen (1031 meters) you will find the Ötzi Museum, which was established as a result of the discovery in September 1991 of the Ötzi iceman.

From the car park of the Ötzi museum you can take a walk to the highest waterfall in Tyrol. The Stuibenfall falls 150 meters in depth, and is the highest waterfall in Austria

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Wildspitze Map

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Wildspitze Map 46.885429, 10.867260

Dykh Tau – Europe’s second highest after Mount Elbrus

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Dykh-Tau

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Dykh-Tau 43.052500, 43.135000

With the altitude of 5204 meters, Dykh-Tau is the second highest mountain in the Caucasus and the whole Europe after Elbrus. That’s why it’s a must-visit destination for those who aim to stand on the highest Caucasus summits or the mountaineers who have set the Second Seven Summits list as a target.

The Second Seven Summits list

Dykh Tau is on the list of the Second Seven Summits. This is an alternative list to the well-known and more popular Seven Summits quest. This list includes the second highest mountain peaks on every continent and is regarded as more challenging and difficult than the traditional list as it includes ascents of K2, Mount Kenya and Dykh Tau, three climbs that are harder than the highest peaks on the continents.

Though not as popular as the Seven Summits list, it is a often set goal for experienced mountaineer who lack the popularity of the Seven Summits and the huge tourist-mountaineer traffic that comes along with it. And it makes a bigger challenge.

Dykh Tau versus Mount Elbrus

Even though elevation is less, there are more climbing skills required to summit Dykh Tau than for Elbrus, making it a more difficult climb than the highest mountain of Europe. Among 10 available climbing routes to the top, not one is easier than 4A by the climbing classification. However, the real danger is a high possibility of avalanches. The safest period to climb is from July to September.

Route options  for a Dykh Tau climb

This mountain located in the western end of the Northern massif in Bezengi is famous for its technical difficulty. The level of climbing and the frequent avalances make it a huge challenge for every mountaineer as there is no easy route to the summit

During the first ascent in 1888, Mummery and Zarfluh used the route up the SW ridge which was a great accomplishment at that time. However, nowadays it’s not longer used as the normal route. Mountaineers climb via the North Ridge route instead which is graded 4B. This route starts at Misses Kosh where one crosses the West Ridge before reaching the Russian Bivouac. From this camp, it takes about two days to climb the peak.

How to get there?

Dykh Tau is located 5 kilometers from the border with Georgia. The nearest airport is Mineralny Vody, which has domestic flights going to from Moscow and St Petersburg. From the airport you will need transport to the Bezengi Village in the national park. Your best option is to contact Bezengi Camp as they can help you getting picked up from the airport. Another option is renting a minibus in Nalchik and drive to Camp Bezengi. Along the route you will pass many military checkpoints, so make sure you have all proper documents. Again, Bezengi Camp’s Head office in Nalchik can help you with this. Camp Bezeng is situated at an elevation of 2180 meters. This is the last of the alpine bases dating back from the Soviet era. From the camp it takes about two days to reach the base of the climb.

What documents do you need?

If you are using the services of Bezengi Camp, the head office in Nalchik will help you get all documents required. For a visit to Russia, a visa is required, as well as an invitation letter to Russia (often given by hotels, tour agencies or climbing companies). Visa requirements differ widely in every country, so it is best to check at the embassy what the requirements for your country are. Also make sure that ‘Bezengi’ is written on your invitation letter to Russia.

There is no summit fee or permit required for any of the peaks in Bezengi National Park. You do have to register at Camp Bezengi however and pay an entrance fee to the National Park, costing 3 euros per day. This fee includes free camping, the rescue service and the free access to Camp Bezengi, which is the main spot for mountaineers and mountain lovers. You can also use all facilities at Camp Bezengi, which includes training room, optional storage of your gear, sauna, etc.

If you consider to make an attempt of climbing a mountain which is graded 5A/TD or harder, you are obliged to borrow a walkie-talkie from the administration in Camp Bezengi and use it to report to base every three hours. The only exception is made if you are part of a large party consisting of well-experienced mountaineers. Since all routes on Dykh Tau are considered dangerous, this use of walkie-talkies is also obligated. The walkie-talkies are given to you free of charge.

When to climb Dykh Tau?

Despite the fact that summer is the best season to climb the mountain, it is climbed in all seasons. Winter season can be extremely cold in this. Avalanche danger is a treat all year long. Still, because of the difficulty level of the mountain, it attracts mostly very experienced mountaineers who like the extra challenge of rough winter conditions.

 

How dangerous is it to climb Dykh Tau?

Anyone who takes a look at the north face of the mountain will see the technical challenge of the climb. For those who still doubt, this mountain is not for novices, it is for the most experienced mountaineers. Hence, this is why most fatalities on Dykh Tau are caused by a human factor. Allthough it should be said that the frequent avalanches have their share of the deaths as well.

Besides the technical difficulty and the avalanche danger, there is the risk of getting altitude sickness, a syndrom caused by a lack of oxygen. Altitude sickness starts with symptoms similar to a hangover (nausea, vomiting, headache) and can result in serious conditions such as high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) which can prove to be fatal if not threatened. However, since a basic expedition on Dykh Tau takes only about ten days, altitude sickness isn’t that common as a death cause.

Also it should be mentioned that the Northern Caucasus has some safety issues as well. Eventhough it is no longer the case that tourists are getting kidnapped or get shot in a civil war, there are still some dangerous border areas that are best avoided. Organized crime, separist activity and government counter-actions against radical Muslims are still possible in this region. However, since the highest mountain of Europe, Mount Ebrus, is located in this same region, it hasn’t made a stop to the traffic of mountaineers willing to complete the Seven Summits challenge. And so far, accidents or violence to them are very rare, making it not a risky region for mountaineers. The Bezengi Area and almost all areas west from there are considered as safe. However, there is a big chance you will see armed forces protecting the area. Especially when getting closer to the Georgia border, they will make sure you don’t end up in dangerous areas.

Basic itinerary for the Dykh Tau climb

Your expedition starts when flying into the Northern Caucasus area via Mineralny Vody and a drive to the Bezengi

Bezengi Camp

Base Camp at the altitude of 2180 meters. This is a first stop for getting acclimatized to the altitude. Those who feel strong enough will find two milestones on the way to the very top – the Russkie Nochevki Camp at 3500 meters and VCSPS Camp at 4650 meters. The following day you will be ready to climb the summit. Plan to spend at least 10 days for the whole climb.

The cost of a Dykh Tau expedition

Since Dykh Tau is the second highest mountain in Europe and part of the Second Seven Summits, it’s a very common goal set by experienced mountaineers. Due to the level of difficulty (and not being the highest on the continent) it is less popular than Mount Elbrus though. There are a few commercial expeditions every year offering this climb in the Bezengi region. The cost however varies from 2000 to 2500 euro (excluding flights) which is more expensive than Mount Elbrus. The main reason for this is that these commercial tours offer a 1:1 guide ratio, making the cost higher. Some organizations offer the combination of climbing Dykh Tau and Mount Elbrus in a 15-day itinerary.

Mountaineers who have extended experience in mountaineering might be able to climb Dykh Tau on a budget. There are no permits needed or cabins to pay. The only real cost is your logistics such as transport to the base and the entrance fee to Bezengi National Park. Adding up your food , it might be possible to minimize your expenses to 1000 euros (excluding flights to Russia).

 

 

 

 

 

Lhotse

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Lhotse

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Lhotse 27.962600, 86.933600

Located only 3 kilometers away from the great Everest, Lhotse appears on most photos together with the roof of the Earth. Although Lhotse will never outperform the legendary neighbor, still it is one of the highest (8516 meters) and most adorable peaks for professional climbers.

The summit of Lhotse
The Everest Massif

How to Get There?

Located on the Everest Massif, Lhotse is divided between Nepal and China. Climbing the peak from the Nepalese part, you will move through the Sagarmatha National Park. On the other hand, the Tibetan (Chinese) part attracts tourists with the unique culture. 

Routes to the Top

Needless to say, the summit of Lhotse is extremely dangerous even for the most trained and experienced mountain climbers. No wonder it has the least number of routes among eight-thousanders. Open the map, and you will find only three ways to the main peak.

Climbing the South Face is one the riskiest ventures ever. A number of the most experienced mountain climbers in the world failed to climb this route, and some of them even died.

Thus, you can overlook the majesty of Lhotse from the Everest Base Camp or the Tibetan trails.

Be inspired, and don’t forget to take a selfie with two the most magnificent peaks in the world!

 

Kanchenjunga

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Kanchenjunga

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Kanchenjunga 27.702500, 88.147500

Kanchenjunga attracts adventure-seekers with its snow-white shapes and the title of the third highest summit in the world after Everest and K2. The mountain consists of 5 peaks and the most upper Kanchenjunga Main reaches 8586 meters above the sea level.

Kanchenjunga top
The summit of Kanchenjunga

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Everest

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Everest

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Everest 27.988100, 86.925000

Everybody mountain lover secretly wishes to climb the roof of the Earth. Thanks to the height of 8848 meters Everest is the most known summit worldwide, and one of the most popular to climb.

the top of Everest
Everest Summit 8 848 meters

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Kazbek

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Kazbek

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Kazbek 42.696700, 44.514900

As the highest peak in Georgia, the mountain of Kazbek attracts tourist from everywhere to climb 5033 meters above the sea level. We bet this climb is worth your efforts! You will be amazed by endless mountain ranges in the background staying on the top of the mountain.

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Elbrus

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Elbrus

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Elbrus 43.349900, 42.445300

The two-headed mount of Elbrus beckons mountain climbers, snowboarders, and nature-lovers. With the altitude of 5642 meters, the western peak of the mountain deserved to the title of the highest point in Europe. However, the eastern peak is only 21 meters lower. Believe us; you won’t notice this difference on the way to the summit!

Mount Elbrus
Elbrus

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