The longest ski traverse in the Alps: 60,629 ft elevation gain and loss over 87 miles of skiing!
Join us for a memorable ski traverse through the Austrian Alps. We will tag some of the most stunning summits of the Eastern Alps including Grossvenediger (12,053 ft) and the highest mountain in Austria, Grossglockner ( 12,460 ft).
We start in Hinterbichl in the Virgen valley and ascend to the well-equipped Essener-Rohstocke-Hut. Each night we stay at a different mountain hut, which serves us traditional Austrian cuisine like Schweinsbraten (awesome pork stew) or Spätzle and Apflestrudel (apple strudel).
The highlight and the grande finale of the “Hoch-Tirol” is climbing the highest mountain in Austria, an exposed, but not-too-difficult scramble along the summit ridge includes some climbing in grade I/II (PD, glacier 35°, UIAA II).
Day 1: Departure to fascinating mountains
From Hinterbichl in Osttirol to the Essener-Rostocker-Hut.
Total length: about 3 hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 3,280 ft
Cable-car available to transport backpacks
Avalanche safety review
Optional tour above the hut in the afternoon
Day 2: Face to face with ice giants
Essener-Rostocker-Hut – Grosser Geiger, Climb 1,152 vertical meter/ 3,779 ft – Rappel access to a glacier-route to the Kursinger Hut, Descent 1.239 vertical meter/ 4,064 ft.
Total length: about 6 ½ hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 3,779 ft
Total descent: 4,046 ft
Day 3: Earn your turns
Kursinger Hut– Ascent to Großvenediger (3.674 m), Ascent 1.553 vertical meter/ 5,095 ft – Descent across Schlaten Glacier, past the (closed) Prager hut (2.796 m), and down to the Innergschlöss (1.691 m) and finally down to Matreier Tauernhaus (1.512 m), Descent 2.162 vertical meter/ 7,093 ft.
The 7,093 ft ski descent leads through one of the most beautiful valley’s in the Eastern Alps, the Innergeschlöss.
Total length: about 8 hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 1,553 ft
Total descent: 7,093 ft
Day 4: Stunning panorama, solitude.
Matreier Tauernhaus – Ascent to Daber lake, Amertalerhöhe, Ascent 1.277 vertical meter/ 4,189 ft – Descent to Landeck Valley, Descent 344 vertical meter/ 1,128 ft – Ascent to Granatscharte and then to Sonnblick, Ascent 648 vertical meter/ 2,125 ft – Descent to Alpine Center Rudolfs Hut, Descent 777 vertical meter/ 2,549 ft.
Total length: about 7 hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 1,925 ft
Total descent: 3,677 ft
Day 5: Moderate climb to steep descent
Rudolfs hut – Ascent to Granatspitze, Ascent 2,542 vertical meter– Descent to Dorfer lake – Dorfer valley – Kalser Tauernhaus – Taurerwirt, Descent 1.586 vertical meter/ 5,203 ft – shuttle transfer to Lucknerhaus – Ascent to Stüdl hut, Ascent 881 vertical meter/ 2,890 ft.
Total length: about 7-8 hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 5,433 ft
Total descent: 5,196 ft
Day 6: Top of Austria
Stüdl hut – Ködnitzkees (glacier) – Adlersruhe (3.454 m) – Großglockner (3.798 m), Ascent 997 vertical meter/ 3,270 ft –Descent 1.880 vertical meter/ 6,167 ft.
Grading: PD, glacier 35°, UIAA II
Total length: about 6 ½ hrs
Total vertical gain: Climb 3,270 ft
Total descent: 6,167 ft.
This is a floating rest, weather, or powder day that we will use as appropriate.
Participants must be advanced intermediate skiers with prior backcountry touring experience, be familiar with how to use all necessary ski touring equipment (including avalanche safety equipment) and be able to safely descend steep snow in varying conditions. They should also be fit enough to carry a 15 kg pack uphill for 4-6 hours a day at a steady pace for multiple consecutive days.
Multiday Ski Traverse Packlist
SKI SET UP
O Alpine Touring skis with touring bindings and skins or
O Telemark skis with Tele-binding and skins
O AT or Tele Boots
SKI MOUNTAINEERING GEAR
O Ski crampons – must fit bindings and ski width
O Boot crampons – a ski-boot specific crampon made with light alloy is best
O Ice Axe (50-60m) – ultra light is best
O Light ski harness
O 2 locking screw-gate carabiners, 24” sewn sling, webbing 1,5 m, 5-6 mm (for short Prusik), webbing ca. 2,5 m, 5-6 mm (for long Prusik)
O 1 Ice screw
O Ski or Climbing Helmet. Climbing helmets are often lighter.
SNOW SAFETY GEAR
O Avalanche Transceiver (457 kHz), less than 5 years old with fresh batteries as well as spare batteries
O Ski pack (35-40 liter) with a strap system to carry skis (e.g. 35L Patagonia Ascensionist Backpack)
O Plastic bag for wet clothes
Next to skin layers:
O Short sleeve T-shirts (2 pr.) – light merino wool or Capilene
O Long sleeve light merino wool or Capilene or zip t-neck
O Merino wool or capilene briefs (2-3 pr.)
O Merino wool or capilene light long johns
O Ski socks (2 pr.)– wool or synthetic
O Fleece pullover or full zip (ideally Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody)
O Soft-shell mountain pants (Patagonia “Guide Pants” or similar – synthetic stretch woven fabric)
O Puff jacket, nylon with synthetic insulation ( e.g. Nano-Puff Jacket) or a Down jacket (e.g. Down Sweater Full-Zip Hoody)
O Light alpine wind shirt (e.g. Alpine Houdini) or
O Light outer water resistant jacket (e.g. M10 or Super Cell jacket)
O Light wool hat
O Light neck gaiter (Buff or fleece)
O Sun hat – with visor
O Gloves – Medium weight, warm ski gloves and light gloves for spring conditions
O 1-Liter water container or hydration system or large thermos
O 1⁄2 liter steel thermos (optional, but strongly recommended)
O Sunglasses with side protection
O Goggles with light lenses for storm conditions
O Sunscreen – 50+ SPF (small amount dispensed in squeeze bottle)
O Lip balm – 50+ SPF
O Small personal first aid kit – Moleskin tape (protective heel applications recommended, e.g. Compeed Blister Plasters),
O Bandaids, aspirin, personal meds
O Small toilet kit – toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
O Light headlamp with fresh, long lasting batteries. Extra batteries are usually available for purchase at huts
O Camera, with charger or extra batteries
O Small pocket knife
O Ear plugs
O Ultra light hut sleeping bag (required at all huts e.g. Meru Mummie)
O Alpine Club membership card
O Rescue Insurance information
O Cash and Credit Card
O Ski Bag – Medium zippered duffel bag with pad lock
O Clothing and footwear appropriate for spring continental travel
O Passport and Passport pouch
O Credit Card
FOOD DURING THE TOUR
At all the huts and lodges you will get complimentary hot tea. Other drinks including beer, wine or additional water may be purchased individually.
Lunch Food: Skiing food, bars or sandwiches will be available for purchase at the lodges. At some huts the lunch food is complementary, but not at all.
Some people my wish to bring certain products they are familiar with from home such as energy bars. We request each person calculate their lunch food carefully for the amount they will need as this can add a lot of weight. High carbohydrate and caloric value are recommended.
HochTIROL TRAINING PROGRAM
The Hoch Tirol is one of the premier ski-adventures in the world; tracing the crest of the famed Tirolean Mountains, and ending on Austria’s highest peak, Grossglockner. The longest ascents and descents exceed 8,000 feet! The name of the game here is endurance and recovery. Building the endurance needed to skin all day, for a week, will be important to maximizing your enjoyment of this beautiful trip.
If regular endurance exercise isn’t already part of your routine, you’ll need to start this program eight weeks before the start of the trip. And develop the endurance you’ll want to engage in a minimum of two 1-hour bouts and two consecutive half-to-full day excursion; running, cross-country skiing, or ski touring; each week. All should be completed at an intensity where you can breathe through your nose while running or skiing. To train at a higher intensity is to train the wrong system, we’re primarily concerned with developing your aerobic system.
The first first three weeks are roughly the same amount of training in terms of time. For most people this will range between five and 12 hours of total time.
Weeks one-three, the same amount of training time each week.
Weeks four and five, increase your training time by 10% over week three.
Weeks six and seven, increase your training time by 5% over week five.
Week eight, drop to 50% of the training time of week seven to consolidate your gains and allow your body to enjoy some rest and arrive fresh and ready for the tour.
IInterested in a more structured approach to training?
Read Steve House’s and Scott Johnston’s Book: Training for the New Alpinism
Check Out Uphill Athlete’s training and coaching options