Oetztaler Alps Ski Traverse

Tirolian Alps / Austria

6 Days Backcountry Ski Traverse Hut to Hut along the Glaciated Divide of the Austrian Alps with Peak Ascents

Oetztaler Alps Ski Traverse Highlights

  • THE classic ski traverse in Austria
  • Luxurious Mountain Huts / Lodges
  • Warm Showers in all Huts
  • Ascent of 5 glaciated peaks en route
  • Breathtaking scenery / big glaciers
  • Add a day of resort skiing in Soelden
  • Only 2.5 hrs from Munich airport

The Oetztal Ski Traverse is certainly one of Austria’s ski touring classics. Access is easy as both start and ending point is from quaint village of Vent at the very end of the Oetztal (tal = valley) on the Austrian side of the Alps divide.

In a half-circle, we will traverse hut to hut along the glaciated divide of the Eastern Alps between Italy and Austria. Along the way, there will be the opportunity to climb 5 of the highest Peaks in Austria, including the Weisskugel (technically in Italy), the Similaun and the Wildspitze, Austria’s second highest peak!

What puts this trip ahead of many ski traverses, especially those in the Western Alps is the high standard of the huts. While located well above tree line next to the glaciers, the huts always offer excellent food, beer on tab and often double or 4 bed rooms with duvets and showers / toilets in the hall way. No need to rough it!

Of course the landscape is breathtaking and the descents are long. All skiing is above tree line and often on glaciers. Most runs are northerly aspects which preserves powder well into the spring.

Itinerary

Day 1:
Meet at 12.00 Noon in Vent at the very end of the Oetztal (=Oetz Valley), about 2 hrs drive from Innsbruck, 3.5 hrs from Munich. On request, we can arrange for pick-up / drop off at either Munich or Innsbruck Airports or various train stations in the region. Most of our guests arrive a day earlier and we gladly arrange additional lodging in a nice hotel.

After an equipment check and an avalanche rescue excercise, we’ll ascend to the ‘Martin Busch’ hut (2.500m) in the afternoon. Hiking time approx. 3 hours, 600 m vertical.

Day 2:
Easy climb via the ‘Niederjochferner’ glacier to the Similaun Hut (3020m, technically located in Italy but German speaking hut keepers) for lunch and deposit of our overnight gear. Afterwards, we we climb to the summit of the Similaun (3700 m), the last 100 meters without skis. Beautiful descent back down to the hut.
6 hours, 1.100 m vertical climb, , 600 m descent.

Day 3:
A bit of a shorter day today. Climb to the Hauslabjoch (3280 m) and on to the Fineilspitze (3600 m). The last 30 minutes involve an easy scrable along an exciting ridge. Long descent to the Rofen Ache (creek) and a 30 minute climb will take us to the beautiful Hochjoch Hospitz (2410 m), a hut with lots of history and ambiance, where we will spend two nights.
6 hours, ascent 550 m, descent 1000 m.

Day 4: With light daypacks we will head to the Weisskugel (3740 m , 12,270 feet), a long route on the Hintereisferner (glacier) all the way to the Hintereisjochpass (3470 m = 11,388 feet) and on to the Weisskugel, the final ridge of which will be climbed with crampons. Descent along the same route for another night in the Hochjoch Hospiz: 8 hrs round trip, 1330 m vertical and 11 km distance.

Day 5:
Via the Kesselwandferner (glacier) to the Oberes Guslar Joch (where we can cache our backpacks) and on to the , to ski up the last snow slope leading to the Fluchtkogel (3500 m = 11,480 feet) Great run on a northen aspect down the Guslar Glacier to the Vernaght Hut (2755 m = 9,040 feet) for lodging.
7 hours, 1090 m (3575 ft) vertical climb, 750 m (2450 feet) descent.

Day 6:
We finish the traverse with a highlight in every concern: An ascent of Tirol’s highest peakl, the ‘Wildspitze (3.770 m, 12365 ft) Once again, the last few meters we have to negotiate on crampons. A beautiful run takes us down from the summit back to the village of Vent, where we should arrive mid-afternoon. Departure in the afternoon or if you have time, we recommend reserve a nice room for you in Vent to spend the night. You will be tired!
8 hours, 900 m climb, 1.300 m descent.

Detail and Logistics

Meeting Point

Midday in Vent at the very end of the Oetztal (=Oetz Valley), reachable by car or public transport from Innsbruck (2 hrs) or Munich (3.5 hrs) driving time.
On a custom basis, we can also arrange airport / train station pick ups / drop offs and we gladly assist our participants to coordinate their local transport.

Climate/Weather

February – Mid May, with March and April being the most popular time.
Temperatures can vary hugely: If wintery weather patterns prevail, you can expect temps between -5 C and -22 C. In spring the temperature spread increases from -10 C overnight to +15 C, especially on sunny days and when descending to the valleys.

Services Included in the Total Price

Guiding by an internationally (UIAGM/IFMGA) certified, multilingual, mountain guide or guide aspirant under supervision, 5 nights in huts / mountain lodges in multi-bed rooms with half board, Use of technical equipment: Harnesses, crampons, rope, carabiners, all trip organization and assistance with your pre-and post trip arrangements.

Not Included (but can be quoted separately)

Air line tickets, lunches, beverages (except for breakfast), transport from and to the trailhead in Vent / Austria, any hotel lodging in the valley (village of Vent), use of avalanche safety equipment (shovel, probe and avalanche transceiver).

Strenuous backcountry ski tour in alpine, often glaciated terrain on alpine touring (randonnée) or sturdy telemark equipment. You must be able to ski safely and controlled at all times while wearing a mid-weight backpack (7-10 kg /15 lb-22 lb). In other words, you don’t have to be an excellent skier but rather a solid mountain skier with good “survival skiing skills” to where you are able to negotiate even adverse snow conditions without falling while still raveling at a decent pace. You need to be in very good physical and mental condition, ready to be on your feet for about 8 hrs daily including, steep, continuous uphill climbs of up to 1200 meters (4100 ft) on some of the days. Some of the peak ascents require scrambling along exposed ridges on crampons, however the more challenging peak ascents can also be “waited out at the ski depot” and the guide will carry a rope for those clients who prefer a belay. There is the option for a midweek rest day as we will be staying two nights in the same hut. We do not recommend this trip for backcountry ski touring beginners!

FAQ

Equipment Rental

Some of our clients had good experiences renting at one of the larger sport shops in Soelden at a pretty good rate – they have an online portal, however it’s in German once you get past the entrance page but you can also send them an e-mail. http://www.glanzer.at/en
We also have a contact for a fellow guide in Vent (5 mins from the hotel) who has a selection of ski’s available to rent mostly skinny, carving skis that had maybe 70cm under foot. Please contact us directly if you require his contact details.

Gear List

1. Technical Equipment

• Telemark or Alpine Touring skis – Only bring your telemark skis if you are at least an advanced/intermediate telemark skier with backcountry experience.
• Telemark or alpine touring boots
• Collapsible or non-adjustable ski poles
• Climbing skins (stick-on) that fit your telemark or alpine touring skis
• Avalanche transceiver (457 Megahertz)
• Lightweight snow shovel
• Avalanche probe
• Backpack, medium sized (about 40 liters) with rain cover and outside straps to attach skis and crampons. Some have built-in rain covers (eg. Deuter backpacks). Rain covers can also be bought
separately. Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack.
• Climbing harness for glacier travel
• Crampons, lightweight if possible
• One locking carabiner
• Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with it. (Prusik slings, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide will bring a full set.
• Ski crampons
• Repair kit / spare parts for your bindings (optional)

2. Clothing

We suggest using the ‘layer system’: Light technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly if sweaty or wet. Layers can be put on and taken off fast if weather conditions change during the day.

• Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
• Wind and waterproof over pants (Gore Tex or similar)
• Warm pants (insulated / fleece/ polypro)
• Fleece or wool pullover or jacket
• Medium weight fleece shirt
• Capilene, fleece or wool underwear, top and bottoms
• 2 Pairs of gloves (lightweight and heavier weight)
• Scarf or neck gaiter
• Socks: thick (wool) outer and thinner liners
• Wool or fleece hat, covering the ears
• Gaiters (unless pants lock tightly to your boots or ski pants have integrated gaiters)
• Sun hat, preferably with wide rim
• Bandana (optional)

3. Hut lodging

• Spare underwear, socks
• Toiletries (minimum supply with small containers for soap and shampoo)
• Very small towel
• Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)
• Light stuff sacs or zip lock bags to keep your backpack organized (optional)
• Light-weight sleeping bag liner (preferably silk) – wool covers or duvets are provided by the hut
• Light hut slippers (optional). Some huts provide them, others don’t.
• Alpine Club card, if you are a member
• Ear plugs (optional but can be very useful)

4. Other items

• Sun Glasses (with very good UV protection, extra pair is a good idea)
• Sun screen and lip protection
• Goggles
• Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter
• Head lamp with spare battery and bulb
• Blister kit (optional)
• Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc. – chocolates and candy bars can also be purchased in the huts)
• Personal items (Prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses etc.)
• Pocket knife or Leatherman tool
• Passport
• (Health/Travel) insurance documents
• Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
• Camera, batteries (optional)
• Compass, maps and GPS (optional)
• Ski wax / skin wax

GROUP SIZES
Client / Guides

3 – 7 Clients / Guide

TRIP INFO LINKS
DIFFICULTY
  • Stamina required
  • Up to 9 hrs/day
  • Mid-size backpacks
  • Glaciated terrain
  • Peak Ascents on Crampons
2017 DATES

5 Nights, 6 Days of Touring:
Feb. 26 – Mar. 3
Mar. 5 – 10
Mar. 12 – 17
Mar. 19 – 23
Mar. 26 – 30
Apr. 2 – 7
Apr. 9 – 14
Apr. 16 – 21
Apr. 23 – 28
Apr. 30 – May 5

Custom trips any time, duration and itinerary!

PRICES

US $1695
CA $2189
€ 1475
£ 1325

Includes: Guide+guide expenses, 5 nights huts with breakfast and dinner, use of technical equipment.

Extras: Transport, lunches, beverages, hotel lodging, use of avalanche safety equipment.