Wildspitze – Austria second highest summit

After yesterday ascent to Similaun and a bit difficult day we change our plans. Originally we want to do something similar. However we will go only to Breslauer hut (2 844 m / 9 331 ft), which is starting point for Wildspitze hike (3 770 m / 12 369 ft). Trek takes about 4 – 5 hours and we need to save some energy for highlight of the trip.

Hike is almost flat. We have to ascent few minutes early at the beginning near Hochjoch Hospiz hut, where we have spend night. As soon ascent is over it is going to be nice walk. About in a half of the day is Vergnagt hut, we need to go up to the hut and back by the same path. Will see if we are going there.

Until we came to side valley where is Vernagt hut, I keep looking back. Somewhere at the end of this valley is Weisskugel (3 776 m / 12 388 ft) – third highest summit in Austria. I did all my best to fit it into this trip, but we could not make it. Mainly, because there is no official hiking path from this valley to the summit. Main path is going from Italy.

Few minutes below Vernagt hut we are taking decision if we are going there. I am lazy guy and don`t want to walk all the way up :) Me and Lucka keep walking to Breslauer Hut. Vlado and Renata are going to see Vernagt hut. Today we can split without any problem.

Path thru valley offers great views. Far in front is Vent village and path which we have started our vacation. Great tiny lake on the right is full of “stone men”, which helps with navigation. Most of all we finally see Wildspitze. Highlight of the trip.

Wildspitz by itself looks great and I am already looking forward for tomorrow ascent. Now it is time to compare map with what I see and assume how we will get up to the summit. It seem the path is not visible from this side. Lets see tomorrow.

Breslauer hut is really close. We did whole hike in less than 5 hours. For the rest of the day we are going to enjoy this place and save energy for Wildspitze ascent. Windy weather makes me to go to bad and take a nap. In the evening all of us are sitting together and talking about tomorrow.

We agree to leave at 6:00 am. In four hours we should be at the Wildspitze summit and we need about 3 hours to get back to hut. In reality we are 30 minutes late and leaving at 6:30. Lot of people is going our direction and we are in the middle of it. It is cloudy and I hope weather will be better, when we get to the summit.

Path thru the valley is easy walk, almost same as yesterday. We ascent a bit at the beginning, but it is mostly going up very slightly. As everyone else we go around the mountain lake, cross few streams which are created from melting snow. Early in the morning they are of course frozen. Before we reach end of the valley we have to cross few snow fields. As they are frozen, we can easily walk on the top. It probably wont be that easy on the way back.

At the end of the valley it is clear how we are going up and which saddle we have to reach. It is time to put on crampons and start using ice ax. Snow field at the end of the valley is steeper and steeper. Snow is frozen so walk is relatively easy. At the end it is almost vertical. Short via ferrata brings us to saddle. All the places are well secured besides one, where is via ferrata covered by snow.

We have reached Mitterkarjoch saddle (3 470 m / 11 385 ft). We need to continue on glacier to reach Wildspitze summit. All of us put on harness and tight to each other by the rope. Saddle offers great views on other side. We all enjoy looking at Hinterer Brunnekogel (3 440 m / 11 286 ft) with cable car stop in shape of UFO.

Acent thru glacier is easy. Only some places are steep. Just after first steep part we have Wildspitze in front of us. We need to walk few more minutes on the glacier and then we will follow snowy and rocky ridge to summit.

Last few meters are mix of snow and rocks. At the beginning it is mostly gravel and few snow fields. Close to the summit it is easy climbing. My girlfriend Lucka is still on the rope. Vlado and Renata decided to walk without it. Ascent is relatively easy and it it less technical then via ferrata. However the wind make it more complicated and we can feel the cold.

At Wildspitze summit we meet with guys, who came from the other side. After quick chat we decided to go down by the same path. We are not going to spend lots of time. Cold wind is pushing us down. Anyway there is no space for lots of hikers and others are comming. Of course we want to spend here lots of time, take a picture and enjoy it, but others are coming.

In my original plans I wanted to do circle, but based on information from the guys a prefer descent same way. Beginning of the descent is slow, because lot of people is still going to Wildspitze. As we pass easy climbing section is much faster and we are at the glacier again. This is the place where each of us is secured by the rope.

On the way down we walk thru big crevasse. Next to the path is big huge hole. Nobody has noticed it on our way to Wildspitze. We do not want to stop here to take a picture and continue to the saddle where is via ferrata. It is nice and warm on the glacier. Even crampons are getting to be useless in melting snow soon. Way down under via ferrata will be “interesting”.

In Mitterkarjoch we are having short break. Enjoying the warm weather. None of us want to say goodbye to such a perfect view. Currently we don`t see Wildspitze, but mountains around us are still stunning. From time to time we can hear falling rock. On the white snow it is easy to find the spots, where they fall most often.

First of all we have to secure our self on our way down thru via ferrata. Descent is slow, and it seems like it will never end. Worst part is still in front of us. After via ferrata there is steep snow field. In melting snow are crampons almost useless.

My fears were fulfilled. Snow is melting and crampons are not holding on it. We have to descent very carefully and always make sure ice ax is holding as it should. From the beginning is descent very steep. It is much safer to descent with face towards snow and walk back. After few meters I believe the worst part is over and I can start walking normally.

I don`t remember if it was my third or fourth step, but crampons could not hold me in the melting snow and I am sliding down. Of course this is the faster way how to get down, but I don`t like it. Quickly I have to turn around, put up my legs and push ice ax as hard as I can into the snow. Ice ax works and I am slowing down, but really slowly. Unfortunately it is not that fast as expected. I slide only couple of meters, but my heart rate reached the peak. Stopping the fall is something, I have trained couple of time, but this was my first time in reality.

At the end of the snow field we take off crampons and ice ax is back on back pack. We have only nice path to the hut. In hour or so we should be there. As we are going from Wildspitze by the same path, I exactly know what to expect. It is just nice walk with few snow fields.

At Breslauer hut we relax and plan rest of the trip. Original plan was descent tomorrow and get closer to Zugspitze, highest peak in Germany. Weather forecast is changing our plans. We will descent tomorrow and go home. In the afternoon we stay in the hut and relax. There is not much we can do, because it is cloudy and from time to time couple of raindrops fall from the sky. Big storm is coming during the night.

Next morning we have plenty of time. Our plan is descent 1 000 m / 3 300 ft and drive home. All of us enjoy last breakfast, pack stuff and get ready to descent. Most of the people who were on the Wildpistze with us are going down as well. Whole descent is quick and nobody want to loose time. Of course we do couple of pictures and try to enjoy the view. In less than 90 minutes we are at parking place.

Finally we are at parking and my car has a note for me. It is from my friend Jan, who help me plan this trip, because he knows those mountains very well. I want to say thank you to him also this way.

We spend quite a lot of time on parking. Weather forecast for Zugspitze is not better. As we have no other plan, we will go home. All of us want to change the clothes and I have to pack all the stuff into the car. I local information desk we check what we should see here.

Our last stop will be Otzi village. First couple of kilometers it is raining a bit. Luckily rain stops and we can visit Otzi village. There is plenty of thinks to see and we spend here about 3 hours including lunch. At 2 pm we are heading back home.

This was my first hike in Tirol, because it is far from my home. I have really enjoyed 4 days in those mountains. In the future I am sure I will come back. There is plenty of beautiful summits, where I want to go. Some of them catch my attention on the way to Similaun or Wildspitze – second highest summit in Austria.

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