5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
High above the famous ski touring village of Navis, this is a serious and exciting peak which needs to be saved for the right day, when the weather is perfect and snow conditions stable.
If you get your timing right, your patience will be rewarded with one of the finest days out in Tirol. Park in Navis village centre and start your ascent by following a clear jeep track due east into the forests.
Follow this as it gently climbs and then swings to the south and enters a large clearing, opposite the Urbesalm mountain hut.
Carry on following the track back into the trees and then out into the huge valley to the north of the Schafseintenspitze.
Once in the huge valley, turn right (east) and skin up a steep, tree-filled gully to gain a flat area at the northern-most end of the Schafseintenspitze north ridge. Turn again to the south and skin along the north ridge, which gradually narrows and becomes more spectacular with every metre.
As you climb the views just get better and better, with more ranges revealing themselves, from the Karwendel mountains to the peaks of the Stubai and Ortler. 200 vertical metres from the summit you encounter a rocky section of the ridge, and this is considered the crux of the whole day.
The rocky section needs to be climbed on foot and requires the ability to scramble up and down in exposed positions.
The scrambling is never hard but it is "real" scrambling, requiring you to use your hands and not be put off by some intimidating situations.
If you don't want to negotiate this section, it is possible to skirt around the rocky section of the ridge by dropping down to the right, but this involves some steep and exposed skinning which will be pretty scary itself if conditions are not perfect.
If neither solution looks appealing, you can ski off the ridge to the east from where the mountaineering section starts and join the descent route. Once past the mountaineering section put skins on and make the final climb onto the summit.
With the summit (and the descent route) having been visible for much of the ascent, it feels amazing to be on top, especially with so much good skiing to choose from on the way down.
There are numerous ways to ski off the summit and the line shown here is the most popular option.
Those looking for a little more adventure will certainly be able to find it by dropping directly off the summit or walking along the Schafseintenspitze's east ridge and dropping in from there.... Whichever exact descent you take you will end up in the huge open valley where you first emerged out of the trees at the start of the day.
The final section of skiing down to this is threatened by avalanches coming down from above, so once you've exited the north face proper, don't linger until back on mellow terrain. Once in the open valley, either descend via the ascent route or (as the line shows here), push out right and enjoy some mellow meadow skipping down past the Urbesalm mountain hut and then follow a jeep track back to the village.