A long but incredibly rewarding trip through the Karwendel mountains.


5 - 6









FATMAP difficulty grade



A big day this one, but the rewards (and the views) are spectacular.

The day takes you to the Pfeisshütte and then over the Stempeljoch col, over to the Lafatscher Joch col and then down to Absam village.

The hiking is quite rugged in places so this isn't an ideal route for those new to the sport.

Start by riding the Nordkette cable car network up to the Hafelekar and then get hiking.

The walk doesn't need to begin with a trip up to the Hafelekarspitze peak but it's only a 10 detour and well worth it for the excellent views.

The line drawn here goes over the peak but it's simple enough not to bother with it. Drop down off the peak and follow the clear path which hangs high above the Inn valley and follow it east underneath the Gleirschspitze.

This traverse beneath the Gleirschspitze is amazing, with epic views and the path constantly winding in and out of tiny valleys so that it never feels tedious. Shortly after passing under the Gleirschspitze there is a short climb up to a col, from where you drop onto the north side of the Nordkette ridge.

Once on the north side the hiking becomes a little more challenging and there are some sections of scree and the path is steep in places.

Follow the path as it heads due north and then climbs up to the Mandlscharte col, from where the Inn valley is visible once again. Drop off the col and follow the zig zag paths down almost to the Arzlerscharte col before heading north-northeast on a gorgeous path path down to the Pfeishütte itself.

The hut sits beneath some towering Karwendel limestone peaks and is a traditional Tirolian hut, with a long and fascinating history.

It also serves the usual array of excellent, hearty Austrian food and for most hikers, getting their hands on some of this is more important than studying the history of the hut when they first arrive! Once you've refuelled, take the time to study the artefacts around the hut. From the hut, climb steeply up to the Stempeljoch col.

Drop north-east off this down a steep scree slope and then make a long, spectacular and occasionally exposed traverse to the wild Lafatscher Joch col.

The views in all directions from the col are fabulous and from here the journey back to civilisation begins, so take time to enjoy your final moments in the high mountains.

(It would be possible from here to stay high up and traverse across to the Bettelwurf Hut, but the descent from the hut to the valley is pretty steep and unpleasant and not recommended!) Descend from the col down into the upper reaches of the Halltal valley and then continue down this to the carpark in Absam via a good path and (lower down) a tarmac road.

There's a bus that serves Absam and connects it with Hall in Tirol and Innsbruck.