Otztal Haute Route
The Otztal Alps, with its range of stunning peaks, offer one of the best European ski touring areas. Located along the border of Italy and Austria, 70 km southwest of Innsbruck (Austria), the Ötztal glacial mountain range is a perfect ‘ski touring playground’. Tempting slopes guarantee great skiing and high peaks offers a challenge for every ski touring skier. With the find of the famous 5300 years old mummy Ötzi – the ice man, the Ötztal Alps present a mystic bond with the prehistoric and present time. You’ll experience warm Tyrolean hospitality in the first-rate huts with good food, beer on tab, hot shower and nice cosy private rooms and dormitory style accommodations. This ski touring trip is a great classic ski touring experience.
SET WINTER 2017 DATES:
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We usually do a round trip in Vent, a loop, also called “The Ötztal Haute Route” and a 6 day tour which can be easily adjusted to your ski capabilities and snow conditions. We’ll traverse hut to hut along the way, have the opportunity to climb some of the highest Austrian peaks, including the Weisskugel, the Similaun and the Wildspitze which is also Austria’s second highest peak.
- Guides expenses
- Guiding fees
- mountain huts at full-board (includes packed lunches and boiled water)
What's not included
- Transport to/from Visp
- Equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Uplifts according to itinerary
Who is this for?
You should be fit enough for 6 hut to hut days of hard work (5-8h/day) and capable of skiing in different types of snow. To ascent some summits it is important you have basic mountaineering experience because we’ll have some crampon work with a couple of easy rock moves. Previous ski touring mileage is essential (Ötztal ski touring trip is similar to the classic Houte route from Chamonix to Zermatt). It’s very important your ski touring equipment is in perfect shape.
Accommodation and huts
The Austrian huts have an excellent reputation where you can expect good food, beer on tap and nice cosy private rooms and dormitory style accommodations. They can cater for dietary requirements but please let us know in advance so we can pass the message on. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and so you have to buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks. Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (e.g. 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets or duvets, so you don’t need a sleeping bag. Huts provide slippers to be worn inside.
You can always expect a good atmosphere and stunning views!
Saturday: Arrive in Vent and settle into the hotel (Vent can be reached by public transport or car from Innsbruck). We’ll meet in the evening to discuss the plan for the week as well as carrying out a kit-check.
Sunday: A short and easy day to warm up the legs. Ascent from Vent through the Niedertal valley to the Martin Busch hut (2,501m), 3 hours. In the afternoon we’ll have time for avalanche transceiver training.
Monday: Early start. We head for the Similaun (3606m). A great peak with splendid views. From the summit we ski down to the new Similaun hut (3019m) where we spent the second night, 5 – 6 hours.
Tuesday: A great day. After breakfast we first go to the Tisenjoch, a place where Otzi – the ice man was found and further on to Hauslabjoch (3276m) where we have different options. We can climb Finailspitze (3516m) or ski down a bit and climb Saykogel (3360m) or ascent towards Fineil Kopfe from where we ski down through a steep glacier. In any way we finish this day at Schone Aussich hut (Bella Vista hut) (2842m), one of the best huts in the Alps (sauna, Jacuzzi, etc). 5 – 6 hours.
Wednesday: This day may be the highlight of the trip. After breakfast we ski down on piste in the ski resort (Maso Corto) and take the chair lift – in direction of a peak Egg (3217m). Ski down to the Hintereis glacier and climb Weisskugel (3739m), second highest in Ötztal Alps. A wonderful peak with superb views on the neighbouring mountains. Summit climb requires crampons. Ski down to the Hochjoch Hospiz hut (2413 m). A long day, 7 – 8 hours.
Thursday: After breakfast we head towards Guslar Spitze (3126m). We have an alternative with more distant Fluchtkogel (3500m). In any way we finish day tour on Vernagth hut (2755m). With Guslar Spitze this is a nice and relaxing day. 4 – 5 hours.
Friday: Another great day. After an early start from the Vernagth hut we descend on the Vernagth glacier. From there we ascent towards the saddle – Brochkogeljoch (3423m). On Taschach Glacier we skin up 300m below the summit of the Wildspitze. The final climb to the summit requires crampons with a couple of easy rock moves. Wildspitze (3774m) with its summit, is the highest mountain in the Ötztal Alps and second highest in Austria. We will be rewarded with spectacular views over the whole eastern Alps mountain range. From the summit we descent on feet then ski a short distance to the Mitterkarjoch (3470m). Below this is a steep section to get down to the Mitterkar glacier and the final 1500m ski descent to Vent where we finish our trip. 8 hours.
Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course
to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. Ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going for a long hill walk or cycle as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).
However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are just as good. The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains. For cardio cycling, running and rowing machines are much better than weight training, which you should try and exercise for up to a couple of
hours at a time, 4 times a week. Also yoga, swimming and Pilates help with core stability and balance, with squats and cycling a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury. Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up and preparing for the ski tour. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Remember training does not work overnight and the fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
1. Skis with ski touring bindings.Your skis should be a minimum of 90mm underfoot and should be off-piste specific.
2. Ski poles
3. Skins and ski crampons
4. Ski boots and crampons – these must fit and be comfortable as we will spend time ascending throughout the week.
5. Ski Helmet
6. Rucksack – 40-50l. with ski straps
7. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner (can be rented in Chamonix)
8. Sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
9. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
10. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
11. Insulating layers.
12. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
13. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
14. Water bottle (minimum 1l)
Remember: Kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it. It is possible to rent equipment on arrival.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Vent
You can get to Vent using public transport which is just over 2 hours by train or over 1 hour if you choose to travel by car from Innsbruck. Local airlines also fly to Innsbruck from many airports across the UK.
There are several cash points in Vent and Maestro/visa/mastercard are all readily accepted.