2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
For those looking to make the Ahornspitze an even greater challenge, this is the route for you.
The hike is high, wild and peaceful, and it features some tricker, more exposed scrambling than that found on the Ahornspitze's "normal route" - The Peter Habeler Weg. The route shown here starts from the Edelhütte but those with sufficient fitness and determination can climb the peak in a "oner" return trip from the Ahornbahn cable car.
Starting from the hut makes the summit day more manageable and gives you a good excuse to stay in a lovely mountain retreat, but it isn't strictly necessary. Head due south out of the hut on a clear path signposted for the Kasseler Hütte and with a warning that it is only for skilled mountaineers.
An ominous start! The path climbs easily up towards an improbable looking scramble through a seemingly impenetrable rock wall.
Even at the foot of the rock wall it's hard to understand how you're going to reach the col which sits about 100 metres above you, but a route has been found which cunningly finds a way up.
The route is protected by cables but a good head for heights is still required if you're to get up it safely and without issue. Upon reaching the col the vista suddenly reveals itself, and what a vista it is! Spending some time using FATMAP to identify the various mountains around you is time well spent, provided - of course - that you've still got enough hours to complete this route! Turn left from the col and follow the (at times) vague path along the Popbergschneide ridge, always marked with red paint.
The ridge is exposed in places but never technical - this is a route which an experienced and fit hiker can tackle.
There are fabulous views throughout the scramble along the Popbergschneide and the ambience is wonderful.
In stark contrast to the Peter Habeler Weg, this route is deserted and if you share it with more than a couple of other parties, you can count yourself unlucky. Eventually the ridge leads to the col where this line joins the Peter Habeler Weg.
Carry on over the col and begin the long, easy scramble up the Ahornspitze's blunt south-west ridge.
Climbing the ridge requires constant micro navigation and there are countless mini variations possible, but the "official" route is marked with red and white paint marks.
Sections of the scramble are exposed but there's nothing technically challenging and for experienced hikers the scramble is more pleasure than purgatory! The ridge leads you logically onto a fore-summit, from where you drop to the left of the ridge and follow a series of cable-protected, exposed ledges to the summit itself.
The view will likely make your recent exertions feel like a distant memory! Descend back down the same route, taking care not to knock any loose rocks onto those coming up, and descend the Peter Habeler Weg down to the Edelhütte.