Journey through the Alps


Kasern (1600m) to Warnsdorfer Hütte ÖAV (2336m)A13

6 March 2017

Stage A13

Maps: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 –35/3 Zillertaler Alpen Ost & 36 Venedigergruppe

Time: 9.40hrs (dept 08.10, arrive 17.50)

Distance: 17.8km (ascent 1472m, descent 758m)

Weather: Slightly overcast morning becoming very overcast in afternoon

Notes: We made a long slow climb in deep soft snow, taking 7 hrs to the top of the Birnluckepass (2665m) - 'guidebook' time is 3 hrs. Due to the dangerous snow conditions we did not take the normal route up the obvious gully, but a longer and less steep alternative to the SE of the Birnlucke hut. We had a difficult decent in deteriorating visibility on a suspect snowpack. We joined a track made by 4 Austrians for the final climb to the hut.

Accommodation: There is a small comfortable winter room on the ground floor of the main hut. It has an efficient wood stove but no lighting and no toilet.

Accommodation options: The Birnlucke Hut reportedly has a winter room but heating and blanket provision is unconfirmed.

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Warnsdorfer Hütte ÖAV (2336m) to Kursinger Hütte ÖAV (2547m)A14

7 March 2017

Stage A14

Map: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 – 36 Venedigergruppe

Time: 7.00hrs (dept 09.10, arrive 16.10)

Distance: 11.0km (ascent 952m, descent 692m)

Weather: Bad weather. Heavily overcast with periodic snow showers.

Notes: we shared the route with a party of 4 Austrians for part of the day. Due to dangerous snow conditions we used an alternative route to the Krimmler Torl 2789m. This followed the well-marked ridge of the summer route towards Gamsspitzl and diverted north into the Torlbach gully above 2700m. The passage through the rocks on the glacier descent around 2500m was difficult to see in poor weather. The climb to the Warnsdorfer hut on the recommended winter route involves a long circuitous diversion to avoid dangerous slopes, but is well equipped with marker posts.

Accommodation: in normal conditions the winter room should be quite good with a wood stove and inside toilet. We found an outside window had been left open and the room was partially filled with snow, and a broken front door that was difficult to open from the inside.

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Kursinger Hütte ÖAV (2547m) to Matreier Taurenhaus (1512m)A15

8 March 2017

Stage A15

Map: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 – 36 Venedigergruppe

Time: 7.25hrs (dept 08.55, arrive 16.20)

Distance: 20.0km (ascent 607m, descent 1599m)

Weather: Cold and clear morning, increasingly overcast afternoon

Notes: A straightforward day travelling through high glacier terrain, crossing two passes (Zwischentorl 2917m, Untersulzbachtorl 2863m) before a long valley descent. An alternative route via the Venedigersharte 2413m would allow an ascent of Grossvenediger 3660m, but there was too much new snow for us to do this.

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Bad Weather day in Matreier Taurenhaus

9 March 2017

Weather: Snowfall all day


Bad Weather day in Matreier Taurenhaus

10 March 2017

Weather: Snowfall all day


Spent day in Matreier Taurenhaus: Unable to proceed

11 March 2017

Weather: Clear skies, warm and sunny

Notes: Waiting for high avalanche risk to reduce


Matreier Taurenhaus (1512m) to Rudolfshütte (2311m)A16

12 March 2017

Stage A16

Map: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 – 39 Granatspitzgruppe

Time: 7.40hrs (dept 07.30, arrive 15.10)

Distance: 19.2km (ascent 1932m, descent 1097m)

Weather: Clear and sunny

Notes: A surprisingly straightforward day. Grunseehutte is a very popular tour from MT. Follow the trail until around 2200m then swing east and traverse the Hoachalble and climb to pt 2407m. Climb to Dabersee 2424m then climb to Sillingscharte 2784m, avoiding the band of rocks either on the north or south. The descent to the east is easy. Drop to 2600m then head North to avoid a band of cliffs. Descend to approx 2450m then take a rising traverse, passing underneath the Karl Furst Hut (2629m), following the line of the summer footpath to Granatspitzscharte (2970m). Descend without difficulty to Weiss See and the Rudolfshutte Hotel.

Accommodation: Rudolfshutte is a large hotel accessed by cable car and located in the Utendorf/Weiss See ski area. The dormitory room is very good value.

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Rudolfshütte (2311m) to Oberwalderhütte ÖAV (2972m)A17

13 March 2017

Stage A17

Maps: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 – 39 Granatspitzgruppe & 40 Glocknergruppe

Time: 7.20hrs (dept 07.30, arrive 14.50)

Distance: 13.1km (ascent 1125m, descent 516m)

Weather: Clear and sunny. Windy in the afternoon.

Notes: On leaving the hut it is best not to follow the line of the summer path that traverses down to the Odenwinklkees. This route passes between bands of steep cliffs and is at risk from rockfall, avalanche and windslab. Instead climb the line of the chairlift NE of the hut to Mittlerer Schafbichl and descend to Bisbodenlake 2068m. Head SE along the valley floor and then follow the approx line of the summer trail to Obere Odenwinkelscharte (3228m). It is likely that the final 300m will need to be ascended on foot (ice axe and crampons). From the summit it is a pleasant ski of under an hour to the hut.

Accommodation: The Oberwalder hut has a pleasant and well-equipped winter room with a wood stove. However the entrance can be blocked with snow making it difficult to gain access

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Oberwalderhütte ÖAV (2972m) to Heiligenblut (1291m)A18

14 March 2017

Stage A18

Map: Austria ÖAV 1:25,000 – 40 Glocknergruppe

Time: 8.15hrs (dept 08.30, arrive 16.45)

Distance: 25.9km (ascent 453m, descent 2117m)

Weather: Windy all day. Overcast in the morning, clearing in the afternoon.

Notes: If there are no tracks to follow exiting the hut is not straightforward. The summer route heads south down a narrow ridge. In winter it may be safer to head north gaining a little height until it is safe to ski down to the east to gain the glacier. The summer path can then be followed until approx 2500m. At this point (close to the abandoned Hofmannhutte 2444m) it is best to descend to the Pasterze glacier. The summer traverse line to Franz Joseph Haus is not advised in winter conditions as it crosses dangerous slopes and the tunnels cannot be accessed. Instead follow the glacier to approx 2100m and climb the line of the funicular to gain FJH. The summer road can then be followed down to Heiligenblut without difficulty.

Accommodation: There are several hotels in Heiligenblut. The youth hostel is good value.

Resupply options: There is one small supermarket in Heiligenblut.

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David Hamilton
High Adventure
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