Zwölferkogel North Ridge

A spectacular 380 metre scramble up the north ridge of the Zwölferkogel, a peak just under 3000m in Austria’s highest ski resort.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
9.2 km
Ascent
1.1 km
Descent
1.1 km
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
32˚
VIEW ON MAP
Zwölferkogel North Ridge Map

Description

At the lower end of Kühtai village, the walk-in begins from the Alpenrose hotel. Follow the road which initially runs parallel to the cables of the Dreiseenbahn chair lift, then swings round to the right heading towards the imposing dam wall of the Finstertaler Reservoir. After 40 minutes you will arrive at the Graf-Ferdinand-Haus alpine hut (which is closed in summer). Take the steep path directly behind the hut, in the direction of the top station of the Hohen Mute Bahn chairlift, which is reached in around 20 minutes. From here route finding becomes a little more difficult. Just before before you arrive at the chair lift station keep an eye out for a vague path branching off to the left and follow it uphill for 10 minutes to reach a small col. There is no marked path from here to the start of the route, but above you will see a grassy, rocky north facing ridge, scramble up this for a short time to reach the top of the Kleine Zwölferkogel, where the real climbing begins.

The route begins with some easy, yet sometimes exposed, scrambling along the ridge. As you crest a small summit you will soon be able to see the entire route above you. The remainder of the scramble is thoroughly enjoyable, and includes a few slightly steeper and exposed sections. The grade never exceeds grade 3, and much of the time it is possible to avoid these sections, meaning the majority of the route is graded at 1 or 2. Confident scramblers may be happy without a rope, but for those slightly less sure, most will be glad of the extra security for a few tricker bits.

There are no fixed bolts along the route, and minimal features to aid with route finding, hence an exact route description is of little use, every climber will take a slightly different line. However you simply need to follow the crest of the ridge, keeping the reservoir below on your left. The terrain occasionally becomes tricker, but there are always options to drift off to either side to avoid these sections.

The view from the top is truly remarkable, not least due to the sparkling turquoise waters of the Finstertaler Resrvoir down to the right, and the fantastic vista across to the peaks on the northern side of the Kühtai ski area.

To descend, head south down the rocky path on to the wide saddle which separates the Zwölferkogel and the Mittagsköpfel. From here take the clear path to the right to start descending a rocky scree slope back to the valley. After around 1.5 hours you will reach the river, from where an easy trail follows the course of the river, past a power plant and finally to a road. Turn right here and a final 10 minutes will bring you back to Kühtai village.

Difficulty

Difficult

The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Equipment required

  • Quickdraws
  • Wires and Friends

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area