Achensee, Tirol, Austria

We spent a few days in Achenkirch, Tirol, Austria. My nephew wanted to do some hikes. So he chose a few in the area resulting in 4 great days in the mountains.

Overview map for the 4 hikes.
Jump directly to a hike:
1) Die Unnützen
2) Hochiss
3) Sonnjoch
4) Seekar-, Seebergspitze

“Die Unnützen” (“The Useless”), 2078 m / 6818 ft

Someone in the village told us the name of these peaks is based on the fact that all they do is block the sun. We started this hike right from our vacation rental apartment. The climbing quickly got steep and in the upper sections we had to deal with some wet and therefore slippery limestone. This stuff is slick as ice when wet. Humidity was near 100 %, so right away I was soaked. Fortunately we broke through the clouds and were able to dry out. We reached the ridge with the peaks just south of the Hinterunütz. There was a cross, but it was clearly not on the peak. From here we went south over Hochunütz (2075 m / 6808 ft) and Vorderunnütz (2078 m / 6818 ft). Later higher clouds appeared and created some dramatic views. One moment we saw nothing, one moment we had great views of lake Achensee. We got to see some Gämesen (Chamois) along the way.
Stats: 10.76 miles, 4823 ft gain (17.32 km, 1470 hm)

(click on any image to enlarge/start slideshow)

Hochiss, 2299 m / 7543 ft

Malte and I got dropped off at the Rofan Seilbahn (tram) station to start our hike. The trail up to the Erfurter Hütte, also the upper terminus of the tram, was in great shape. Here we had 3 options: (1) most direct, (2) around the Dalfazer Kamm (ridge) (3) along the Dalfazer Kamm. With (3) being the least traveled option that came with warnings about “Trittsicherheit” (surefootedness), “Schwindelfreiheit” (absence of fear of height), and “Via Ferrata”. We chose (3). We bypassed Rotspitz peak since it looked too sketchy for us with slippery, wet mud and limestone going up a slope with moderate exposure. As promised, there was a vertical section secured with a steel cable. With plenty of holds and the cable, the section was fun. We had the Hochiss peak to ourselves since it was late afternoon and most people who climb it use the tram, so they had to make sure to catch the last down trip at 5 pm.
Stats: 8.85 miles, 5180 ft gain (14.24 km, 1579 hm)

(click on any image to enlarge/start slideshow)

Sonnjoch, 2457 m / 8061 ft

We chose this for it’s amazing views of the Karwendel mountains. Our starting point was the Gramai Alm. The route follows a steep service road to the Gramai Hochleger Alm. From there it’s a nice trail to the top. Above the treeline there was some scree to deal with, but enough people climb this peak to create some good paths. We saw some chamois again and did not meet many people.
Stats: 9.42 miles, 4110 ft gain (15.16 km, 1252 hm)

(click on any image to enlarge/start slideshow)

Seekar- (2053 m / 6736 ft) und Seebergspitze (2085 m, 6841 ft)

These two peaks are on the west side of the Achensee and provide great views of the Austrian Alps in this area. It was cloudy in the valley and rain was forecast for the afternoon for the whole area. Descriptions warned again that “Trittsicherheit” (surefootedness) and “Schwindelfreiheit” (absence of fear of height) were required for the sections with “mild exposure”. Those spots turned out to be interesting indeed with one ~15-foot long section where falling to either side would have been very bad. Fortunately, the trail at this point was in great condition. We also had some longer, near-vertical sections to climb, but they had plenty of good holds. It was fun. The descent was rather tedious since we were on very steep, loose, and wet limestone. Great care was needed for every step. The rain caught us when we were back down in the forest. No easy walking here either, since all the fallen leaves, slippery roots, and wet limestone continued to demand full attention to every single step. This hike/climb was the most mentally draining of the 4 because we had to be so alert on almost every step/move.
Stats: 9.93 miles, 4900 ft gain (15.98 km, 1494 hm)

(click on any image to enlarge/start slideshow)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.