North Tyrol’s highest mountain is only 28 m lower than Grossglockner. It rises above the Ötztal valley, but can also be reached from Pitztal. The first ascent was in 1848 and the peak attracted my attention last month when I taught a glacier travel course nearby. I remember seeing the mountain as the fog lifted and knowing immediately that I wanted to climb it.
After the bad weather of the previous week, Sunday looked very promising. The mountain was coated in 20 cm of fresh snow and me and Viki quickly decided for a one-day ascent. Our route started 134 km from my base camp in Wertach. After driving for an hour we entered the Pitztal valley, where it was raining, which the rain luckily didn’t last long. We took the Glacier Express train to the middle station of the Pitztal Glacier ski resort, where we were finally greeted by the sun. After scrambling over rocky slopes, we reached the glacier and the Mittelbergjoch, where we could already see tracks leading across the glacier to the summit of Wildspitze. A short descent down the glacial moraine brought us to the second glacier, which was heavily crevassed due to the warm weather. After joining the route from Ötztal we encountered countless mountaineers, who were either going to the top or already descending. Soon we reached the SW rocky ridge, where we left our backpacks and started for the summit. The route was unbelievably crowded. We reached the summit cross in foggy weather, which prevented us from enjoying the view, but at least it wasn’t too hot. We left the summit almost immediately because of the crowds and climbed back down to our backpacks.
After six hours of walking and climbing and covering 1100 vertical meters, we were back at our starting point. The train brought us down to the valley and a cold beer in mere eight minutes and our thoughts wandered to winter, when these slopes will become a beautiful ski-touring area.