If you have read my last few posts about the ‘Stubai Rucksack Route’ [Stubaier Höhenweg] you will realise how enjoyable hut to hut walking in Austria is. The area is so walker friendly – ease of access, good maps, signed and waymarked paths, superb alpine scenery, excellent friendly huts providing good food and drink, English spoken everywhere …… I have no reason to doubt that the other Austrian Alpine areas are as good, I will try somewhere different next year. There are many suitable guide books available Cicerone and Rother for starters. Just give it a try.
In my first post regarding preparations I discussed the problems my feet were causing. I’d gone out and bought a new pair of Hi-Tech Eurotrek boots, cheap and light. These proved comfortable from the first day and I had no further blister problems. They were more than adequate for the rough terrain and seemed waterproof. At the end of 10 days walking there was minimal sign of wear on the treads, though with previous pairs I’ve found this is their weak-point.
My other purchase was a cheap light Peter Storm waterproof jacket. We only had one afternoon of rain in the whole trip and the jacket was only worn then. It proved to be totally waterproof but suffered from mild breathability problems that I can live with. So £20 well spent though again I wonder about longer term durability. I will provide an update on both boots and jacket in three months.
Now back home after an excellent night in Innsbruck – recommend The Golden Krone Hotel and the the nearby Steiglbrau restaurant. Despite the palpable influx of immigrants into Austria and Germany our return rail travel went well, with time for a meal in Munich before a smooth Easyjet flight to Manchester. The evenings have become noticeably darker and the dry weather distinctly Autumnal. Where to next?
The sky is clear tonight with a large bright moon shining into my bedroom. Setting the alarm for 3am to hopefully view the moon’s eclipse.
PPS When in the Austrian Huts don’t forget — — or male or female.
I’ve enjoyed that one. It seemed to have a holiday feel about it even though it encountered some pretty rough terrain.
Conrad, All I can say is Life’s a holiday.
Have inserted an extra informative photo, one for your signs collection.
HI, I enjoyed your account of your hut to hut, particualry as I was there for a couple of days, looking like we missed you at the Franz-Senn Hutte by a matter of hours. We had stayed the night and went up Rinnenspitz before setting off home. I agree about all the good points about Austrian huts, particualry the breakfasts after the mean fare we had in Italy the week before.
Its funny you mentioned waterproofs, one of our group also decided to go for the cheap option for his waterproofs, despite being warned about need for something decent. Our good luck held as well, avoiding two storms by the skin of our teeth!
Had good Hut to Huts in the Karwendal Alps quite a few years ago, combining it with climbing a few peaks. When I get round to scanning the slides, I’ll also do a blog!
Thanks. I’ll definitely look at other tours for next year.
Have just been reading your latest post on your Austrian trip but can’t find any comment area. On the question of lightweight crampons/spikes which were you using or recommending. I’ve been in a few dangerous spots in the past without any lightweight safety gear.
Hi – thanks for sharing your account and pictures which look stunning. I wondered whether you might be able to offer any advice about this tour as I’m considering it as my annual walking trip for my friend next summer. We are both very fit (marathon runners) and have completed TMB, AV1 (missing the final stage), bits of the HRP/GR10 and used to the English fells but neither of us is great with heights. We are OK with what I’d call walking – e.g. scrambling and scree etc and do the odd bit of gingerly crossing patches of snow with our poles but we are definitely not in the realm of crampons or big drops or mountaineering. Via Ferrata would be our idea of hell!
Reading the Ciccerone books about Austria there’s a lot of reference to cables/ exposure and needing a good head for heights but I also get the impression from reading and your photos they put cable in plenty of places that aren’t necessary for safety and it’s more about having a bit of help scrambling? We were thinking about attempting the Stubai rucksack route but finding an alternative/ skipping what sound like the two trickiest stages (innsbrucker hut to bremer – which I see you missed) and the other one I think you avoided. It sounds like the are plenty of escape routes and alternative options in any case. Any thoughts/ advice? Would the Zillertal rucksack route be a better option perhaps for vertigo-sufferers? Cheers – Claire
Thanks for your interest Claire.
As you see we have done ‘most’ of both routes – we missed out the 8 – 10 hour days because we would probably struggle, both opening stages are long meaning we might have ‘buggered’ ourselves for the rest of the trip.
As you are young and fit these stages wouldn’t be a problem in good conditions.
For either trip it is wise to build in a day or two extra to cope with any serious bad weather. The later you go in the season [?first two weeks in September] the less chance of hard packed snow on the passes which I think is the most dangerous problem you would encounter. Ski sticks and some sort of microspikes are essential.
Last year in the Stubai we had perfect weather in September but there were some tricky ice patches. The cabled sections there were often across steep cliff faces with lots of exposure, I’m an experienced rock climber but felt the need to clip in using a sling on several occasions, a fall would be catastrophic.
This year in Zillertal the cabled sections were more scrambly with no exposure, we didn’t use the cables for sling protection. Fortunately there was no hard snow this season.
The huts on the Zillertal are slightly easier to escape from if needed.
Both are equally dramatic.
You will enjoy either route and have no problem with the distances but in view of what I’ve described above feel you would be more comfortable on the Zillertal.
Why not start on that next year and follow up with the Stubai later.
Hope that is of some help. If you need more info please feel free to email me.
Thanks John – that’s extremely helpful advice. Claire
Hi John – hope you don’t mind me asking again about this.
We are definitely keen to give Austria a try next (just back from Tour of Jungfrau in Switzerland and excited to plan our next trip!) so I was looking at your blog again. We are most interested in the Stubai, or maybe Zillertal tours. I’ve got hold of some maps of the area and Ciccerone’s Walking in Austria book (as well as their Stubai and Zillertal tours) and I’m thinking about maybe creating our own vertigo-free version, doing part of the Stubai (second half, maybe visiting Adolf Pichler hut or doing some walks from Fanz Senn Hutte), enabling us to miss the worst sections in term of exposure. We’d only have 6-7 days in total and we’re not purists in terms of following a particular recognised route – we want good scenery and sociable/ lively huts. Very happy to walk long and hard stages if necessary – but we are no good with steep drops.
So I’m wondering which were the stages on Stubai where you mentioned you needed to use a clip for? I don’t think my friend’s vertigo could cope with that kind of scenario so I’m thinking we could maybe pick up the trail part way through and avoid any stage like that…
I looked into your suggestion about starting with the Zillertal but reading the Ciccerone guide that route sounded no better in terms of exposure than the Stubai – it’s so hard to tell from the guides though. Quite often sections that are described as ‘exposed’ don’t really bother us too much – it’s only when it’s dangerous/possible to fall off that it bothers us really.
Thanks in advance for any further advice
Good to hear from you.
Had another think about those tours.
Maybe we were lucky last year in the Zillertal, on reflection if there had been snow about it would have been much trickier. There were a lot of cables but I think as climbers we didn’t think too much about the dangers, that ladder for one!
So yes the second half of the Stubai with variations as we did would be ideal with no serious cables or real dangers.
There is a good way in from the valley, reached by bus, at a cafe/hutte [Waldcafe] to the NEUE REGENSBURGER HUT.
Then FRANZ SENN – POTSDAMER – ADOLF PILCHER – STARKENBURGER and valley.
The Potsdamer also gives access to another circuit The Sellrainer, there is a German guide for this apparently.
Hope that is of some help, feel free to ask again
Thanks for that info – that sounds like a good option. I’d heard about the Sellrainer loop as I think it’s also in the Ciccerone ‘walking in Austria’ book and I’d noticed it could potentially be linked with Franz Senn Hütte. Thanks again
Enjoy. Are you going later this summer? Let me know what you think of it.
Sadly it won’t be til 2018 – we have to fit our trips round the families and work. But we like to plan ahead and put the next one in the diary as soon as we finish one! Currently enjoying revisiting the Dolomites with my parents for their 70th birthdays so I’m acclimatising to Tyrolese food in advance. I’ll let you know we get on in Austria.