Not got any plans for the summer yet? Looking for a challenge and stunning scenery? Then this is the trek for you. Austria is renown for having fabulous mountain treks yet none compare to the Stubai Glacier Tour in the province of Tyrol which you can follow in Trekking in the Stubai Alps by Allan Hartley.
The six day tour links up six fantastic huts across the Stubai Alps and also offers opportunities to visit others via alternative routes. Although the tour is a considerable hike, the reward for this effort is the infinite variety of glacier scenery from the many peaks and passes that are crossed which begin at the fabulous Franz Senn Hut.
In this context the word ‘hut’ is a misnomer. All the huts in the Stubai as described here are more akin to mountain inns or guesthouses, all providing overnight accommodation and some form of restaurant service.
This generally includes soup, a choice of main meals, cold meats, cheese and sometimes cakes and sweets. The huts are usually open from mid-June to mid-September and all serve drinks, tea, coffee, beer, wine and so on and most will have a small shop where you can buy postcards, chocolate and biscuits. This means there’s no need to return to the valley every few days to stock up.
The Stubai Glacier Tour, as the name implies, involves much glacier work. To do it it is essential that you have the necessary skills to deal with the great variety of terrain that will be crossed. (You must be familiar with the use of ice axe and crampons, be able to belay on rock and ice, have practiced prusiking and crevasse rescue techniques and know all about rope management for glacier travel.)
That said this spectacular route is ideal for climbers visiting the Alps for the first time, just so long as you have done the necessary preparation. It will suit aspirant alpinists wanting to add to their alpine experience without feeling over-committed and out of their depth, as you might find yourself to be in the higher mountains of the Western Alps.
Although there are other routes which skirt round sections of the Alps the very essence of this glacier tour is to traverse them. All in all, it’s six days of superb mountaineering.
There are several ways to arrive at the beginning of the Stubai Glacier Tour from the old city of Innsbruck which are detailed in the book. There is a regular bus service and if there are a few of you, you may want to hire a taxi.
This may seem a bit expensive but is actually good value and will save precious time getting to the hut. That time could surely be much better spent having an afternoon stroll on the Sommerwand!