6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
A varied tour with numerous different slope aspects and angles, this is a good test of your ski touring skills.
In a strong field it might be the best ski tour around Innsbruck because it combines some excellent skiing with fabulous mountain views and ambience. Ride the Nordkette lift system all the way to the Hafelekar station.
Walk to the hut to the north of the cable car station and then follow a snow slope to the east up for a couple of minutes to reach the top of a funnel-shaped couloir.
Drop into this and enjoy increasingly technical turns as it narrows and then fans out onto a wide slope below.
Ski the slope and follow the valley it leads into north to the foot of the Mandltal valley.
Put your skins on and skin up a fairly steep slope leading onto the long and incredibly beautiful west ridge of the Gleierschtaler Brandjoch.
Skin along the ridge, savouring the huge mountain scenery all around you, to where it narrows considerably.
Take your skis off, put them on your pack and traverse for 10 very exposed metres to where it widens again, just before the final slope to the summit.
Skin up this slope to reach the top of the Gleierschtaler Brandjoch east face.
From here you can choose to tag the summit or just get stuck straight into skiing the east face, which provides an exciting descent into the tree filled valley which is home to the Pfeisshütte. The hut is closed in winter so there is little point in detouring to it.
Instead, pass to the south of it and skin up to the Stempeljoch col, which enjoys commanding views of the Rumer Spitze and Großer Lafatscher peaks. Drop north off the col into the utterly wild Halltal valley.
The initial drop off the col is very steep (pushing 40 degrees) but only for 20 metres or so, after which it quickly mellows into a wide slope which provides some fast, rip-able ski terrain. The slope from the col eventually leads you down to the bottom of the Halltal valley itself.
Follow the foot of the valley through some almost-flat terrain until you reach the tree line.
Here things get a little steeper as the valley narrows down into a gorge.
Follow the gorge (which will be snow filled and can be skied on either bank or straight down the middle) as it winds down to a jeep track which serves as a sledging route in the winter.
Ski down this, possibly crossing a few sections of avalanche debris en route, all the way down to the road at the end of the Halltal.
Walk or catch the bus down the hill to the charming village of Hall in Tirol, where a beer at the Augustiner pub is highly recommended!