The Tux Valley is renowned in the winter sports community as the home of Austria’s only year-round ski area; the Hintertux Glacier. Having worked in the valley for a long time, I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to get to know the local people and this beautiful location very well. My best memories of my time in the Tux valley are, without a doubt, the hikes I have done there. In this article I want to tell you about three of my favourites:
1. Climbing the Olperer
Climbing the Olperer, the highest mountain in the Tux Valley, is definitely one of my best ever experiences. At 3,476 metres, the Olperer peak towers majestically above the Hintertux Glacier. It was Sunday the 28th July 2013, the sun had been shining brightly since the early morning, and the temperature was set to climb above 30°C. On this beautiful Sunday, a close friend of mine who works for the Tux mountain rescue took me with him to climb the Olperer. I love to do via ferrata but don’t have much experience with alpine climbing, so I was pretty nervous. But, at the same time, I was really looking forward to this incredible challenge.
We took the Gletscherbahn 1 and 2 cable cars to the Tuxer Fernerhaus and then the third cable car to the Gefrorenen Wand. From here we started to hike across the glacier to the Olperer. The closer we got to the mountain and its craggy cliffs, the more nervous I became. Luckily, Herbert, my guide, knew exactly how to keep me calm as we climbed the northwest face. After approximately two hours we reached the summit cross. I was overwhelmed by the amazing views of the surrounding mountains below me, overwhelmed to be standing at the top of my first mountain peak above 3,000m and overwhelmed by my own achievement.
2. Sunrise hike to the Kreuzjoch
Mountains have a mystical quality, especially at dawn. In order to make an early start for this hike (3am!), I overnighted with a group of friends at the Höllensteinhütte in Tux. Our hike to the Kreuzjoch would take about 2 hours and we wanted to be there for sunrise. Guided by the light from our head torches, we headed out into the silent darkness and quietly trudged towards daybreak. As we arrived at our destination the sky was already beginning to brighten from dark blue to violet, dark red and orange. And then it appeared! The sun shone between the mountain peaks as it climbed higher and higher. It was a truly majestic view. After returning to the Hollensteinhütte, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast before making our way back to the valley.
3. Day hike Grübelspitze – Ramsjoch – Torsee – Nasse Tuxalm – Vorderlanersbach
A few years ago, on a day when the weather was not that good, I planned on going for a gentle hike. Despite the weather, I was determined to get out into the mountains, and so I took the Eggalmbahn cable car in Tux-Lanersbach up to an altitude of 2,000m. From the top station, it is just a short distance to the Grübelspitze peak which I covered in just an hour. I still felt like I had more hiking in me, so I decided to continue to the Ramsjoch where there is a cross to honour the many repeat visitors to the Tux Valley. After crossing the Ramsjoch, on my way back down to the valley, I passed lake Torsee. The lake has a very special atmosphere – to the north the Torwand mountain reaches to the skies, to the south the lake stretches to the horizon as if it were an infinity pool. The backdrop of Ziller Valley mountains completes this breathtaking panorama. After enjoying my packed lunch, I made my way across the mountain meadows to the Nasser Tux-Alm and back to the valley at Tux-Vorderslanersbach. A packed lunch and drinks are a must on this hike as there are no mountain huts between the Eggalmbahn and the Geislerhöfen.
There are so many other fantastic walks and hikes in the Tux Valley such as the Moorlehrpfad which leads from Finkenberg to Vorderlanersbach or the hike from the Sommerberg in Hintertux through the Weiten Valley to Hintertux – but I’ll save those for another time!