Trekking in the Zillertal Alps
Guidebook to trekking the Zillertal Rucksack Route (or Berliner Hoehen Weg) and the Zillertal South Tyrol Tour in the Austrian Tyrol. The ZRR avoids glaciers and difficult passes so is suitable for inexperienced trekkers, while the ZSTT traverses the range along the Austro-Italian border. Each takes 8-10 days and has excellent Alpine huts on route.
Seasonsthe summer alpine season starts when the huts open in mid-June through to the end of September. Snow can linger on north facing slopes well into July. Mid-July through to mid September is warmer and more settled
Centresthe Zillertal is easily accessed by regular train and bus services from Jenbach via Munich, Innsbruck and Salzburg, to the charming resort town of Mayrhofen the main centre and starting point for trekking in the Zillertal
Difficultyall tracks and trails are waymarked and frequently signposted. Unless you intend to venture onto the glaciers no special equipment is neither needed nor additional climbing skills required
Must SeeZillertal Rucksack Route Hohenweg; South Tyrol Tour; fabulous scenery in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol and Eastern Alps
Few areas can match the Zillertal, in the Austrian Tyrol, for a first Alpine season. Shapely peaks, good paths and some of the best huts in the Alps make it ideal for experienced trekkers and mountaineers alike.
This guide describes two popular hut-to-hut routes, both of which can be accomplished in eight to ten days, with the option to add in day excursions from the huts to climb local peaks on both sides of the border, including the Zillertal’s highest summit, the Hochfeiler.
The Zillertal Rucksack Route, or Berliner Hoehen Weg, links eight huts without crossing glaciers or difficult passes, with ample opportunity for scaling nearby peaks. It starts above Mayrhofen and follows a circular route ending high above the charming village of Ginzling. The length of this tour is 70-80km, depending on your exact start and finish points, and ascends some 6700m. As the name suggests, the Rucksack Route can be traversed entirely without crossing glaciers and without specialist climbing skills. However, it does involve negotiating steep ground, crossing late summer snow and making use of fixed wire rope here and there that are installed to aid stability.
The Zillertal South Tyrol Tour traverses the whole range along the Austro-Italian border, starting at Turistenraste then linking back to the Rucksack Route to make a circular tour. It is virtually unknown outside the South Tyrol, which helps make it into an interesting and unusual route choice. Overall it is about 55km long and ascends just over 5000m (not including any additional peaks.) It is a physically demanding trek, providing an excellent challenge to more experienced alpine walkers who wish to undertake a tour that is remote and challenging.
- Both routes are illustrated with sketch maps and profiles.
- Glossary, hut directory, alpine walking tips and lots of other practical information included.
Easy access to the routes from Mayrhofen.
The Rucksack Route and South Tyrol Tour
When to go
Accommodation in the valley
The Zillertal valley and Mayrhofen
Trekking with children
Health and fitness
Emergencies and mountain safety
The Austrian Alpine Club
Maps and guidebooks
Alpine walking skills and equipment
Using this guide
Zillertal Rucksack Route (Hoehenweg)
Stage 1 Mayrhofen to the Karl von Edel Hut
Excursion 1.1 Ascent of the Ahorn Spitze
Stage 2 Karl von Edel Hut to the Kasseler Hut
Excursion 2.1 Ascent of the Woellbach Spitze
Excursion 2.2 Ascent of the Grune Wand Spitze
Stage 3 Kasseler Hut to the Greizer Hut
Excursion 3.1 Ascent of the Grosser Loeffler
Stage 4 Greizer Hut to the Berliner Hut
Stage 4a Greizer Hut to Berliner Hut via the Floitenkees glacier or Schwarzenstein Hut
Excursion 4.1 Ascent of the Berliner Spitze (Horn Spitze III)
Stage 5 Berliner Hut to the Furtschagl Haus
Excursion 5.1 Ascent of the Grosser Moseler via the west spur
Stage 6 Furtschagl Haus to the Olperer Hut
Stage 6a Furtschagl Haus to the Olperer Hut via the Pfitscherjoch Haus
Excursion 6.1 Ascent of the Olperer
Stage 7 Olperer Hut to Friesenberg Haus
Excursion 7.1 Ascent of the Hoeher Riffler
Excursion 7.2 Ascent of Peterskopfl
Stage 8 Friesenberg Haus to the Gams Hut
Excursion 8.1 Ascent of Vorderer Grindberg Spitze
Stage 9 Gams Hut to Mayrhofen
Zillertal South Tyrol Tour
Stage 1 Touristenraste to the Geraer Hut
Stage 2 Geraer Hut to Pfitscherjoch Haus
Stage 3 Pfitscherjoch Haus to the Hochfeiler Hut
Excursion 3.1 Ascent of the Hochfeiler
Stage 4 Hochfeiler Hut to the Edelraute Hut
Stage 5 Edelraute Hut to the Nevesjoch Hut
Excursion 5.1 Ascent of the Grosser Moseler
Stage 6 Nevesjoch Hut to the Schwarzenstein Hut
Stage 7 Schwarzenstein Hut to the Berliner Hut or the Greizer Hut
Appendix A Route summary tables
Appendix B Further information
Appendix C German-English glossary
Appendix D Further reading
The following maps are required for both tours in this guide. The maps are published by the Austrian Alpine Club and available from the UK Section of the Austrian Alpine Club (www.aacuk.org.uk).
Alpenvereinskarte Zillertal Alpen (scale 1:25,000)
- Sheet 35/1 Westliches (West)
- Sheet 35/2 Mittler (Central)
Also recommended, covering the complete region at a glance and available from major map retailers, are
- Freytag & Berndt Wanderkarte: Sheet 152, scale 1:50,000, Mayrhofen, Zillertal Alpen, Gerlos-Krimml
Kompass Wanderkarte: Sheet 37, scale 1:50,000, Zillertaler Alpen; Tuxer Alpen
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The following are updates to the guide posted at August 2017
Page 20 Hotels
The Siegelerhof Gastehof has changed hands and is now managed by Michael Thaler. Contact Mike at 0043 664 3410423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Page 24 Bus Services
Mayrhofen, Ginzling, Schlegeis
Schlegeis to Mayrhofen
Page 64 Ascent of the Woellbach Spitze
Due to previous posts in 2013, the route continues to deteriorate due to a lack of traffic and further deterioration of the Stilluppkees glacier. The traverse of the mountain as shown on the photograph on page 66 is no longer possible. The normal way via the Stangenjoch should be followed by making a rising traverse over very difficult ground of boulders and loose rubble to access the glacier.
Page 73 Ascent of the Grosser Loeffler
Due to further retreat of the glacier the climb/route is becoming increasingly problematic. Enquire at the Greizer Hut.
Page 83 Greizer to the Berliner Hut via the Floitenkees glacier
Due to further retreat of the glacier, access onto the Floitenkees glacier is becoming very difficult. Access is only possible at the point of the letter N of the word Floitenkees on the AV map via a steep sliver of ice. Enquire at the Greizer Hut.
Page 141 Ascent of the Hochfeiler
The summit snow arête has now almost disappeared making the ascent very straight forward over rock.
Page 143 Hochfeiler to the Edelraute Hut
Para 1, new wires have been installed, however access onto the Glider Ferner glacier remains problematic.
Page 146 Edelraute to Nevesjoch Hut
The Gesprutt sign mentioned on page 148 has now been removed and the path is open aided by a new bridge over the menacing ravine.
Page 159 Schwarzenstein to the Berliner Hut or Greizer Hut
Both routes are still possible but are becoming increasingly problematic due to glacial retreat. For the Greizer Hut the only way off the glacier is at point N on the AV map as mention above.
Page 167 Friesenberg Haus
The hut is now managed by Florian Schranz and Susanne Alberini,
Tel 0043  676 749 7550 email email@example.com
4 October 2014
Stage 4; Greizer Hut to the Berliner Hut
Page 79, photograph, the RED line indicating the route going to the left hand
gap/col is incorrect and should go to the right hand gap/col.
The map however on page 78 is correct
Stage 7; Olperer Hut to the Friesenberg Haus
Page112; General info panel, ascent given as 580m should read 245m
General Update at September 2013
Hotels; Page 20
The hotel is now managed by Michael Thaler all contact details remain the same
Hut Information and Reservations; Page 33
For small groups……………………………..
With the advances in mobile technology it seems most folk are reserving beds. Best to make a reservation particularly at weekends.
Ascent of the Wollbach Spitze; Page 64
The traverse of the mountain via the Wollbachjoch is not recommended due to a general retreat of the glacier and a rockfall near the col making access very difficult.
Schwarzenstein Hut; Page 188
Gunther Knapp has left the hut. Contact details remain the same.
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Allan Hartley has maintained his close links with Austria, which he discovered by accident in the early seventies in respite from atrocious weather conditions on the higher mountains of the western Alps. He has climbed extensively throughout the Alps, in east Africa and in the greater ranges in Nepal and Pakistan.View Articles and Books by Allan Hartley
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