As soon as I booked my holiday to Mayrhofen, I was determined to climb to the peak of the local mountain, the Ahornspitze, at 2,973m. Read my report to find out about my experience of reaching the summit and my tips for climbing your first 3,000m mountain.
Getting to the start of the hike
My tour starts at the base station of the Ahornbahn cable car in Mayrhofen, which can be easily reached by bus, train or car. If you take the Zillertalbahn train, you can either walk to the cable car (around 15 minutes walk) or take the bus. If you would prefer to drive, there is a large car park at the bottom of the Ahorn, which is free if you use the cable car.
Stage 1 of the summit hike: from Mayrhofen to the Edelhütte
Well prepared, with all of the necessary equipment in my rucksack, I start my hike. The first altitude metres are easily conquered with the help of the Ahornbahn cable car, which whisks me up to the Ahorn plateau at 1,960m. From then on, my legs will have to do the hard work. I follow the signposts in the direction of the Edelhütte. The path to the summit is number 514 which leads gently uphill through the Filzenkärl. After walking a short distance through alpine pastures amid blooming alpine rose bushes, I see my goal: the Ahornspitze. I am always surprised by how far away a peak can seem, yet how quickly it can be reached. After about an hour I reach the end of the first stage of my hike, the Edelhütte. I take a break and fill up my water bottle as the Edelhütte is the last hut I will pass until I return on the way back. Fortunately, I am prepared for this because I studied the route on the Mayrhofen website in advance.
Stage 2 of the summit hike: from the Edelhütte to the peak at 3,000m
Reenergised and highly motivated, I continue on my way to the peak at 3,000m. I have around 3 hours of hiking over difficult terrain in front of me. From the hut, the path leads through a corrie beneath the Ahornspitze, before making a sharp right to follow the Popbergschneid ridge. Now the difficult part begins: a steep climb leads just below the south peak of the Ahornspitze, which is officially the mountain’s highest point.
I continue to the last and most demanding section of the summit hike. From the south peak, I use the cable, hand- and footholds to cross over and finally reach the summit cross of the Ahornspitze. I have climbed my first 3,000m mountain! I am rewarded by an immense sense of pride as well as breath-taking views: The green Ziller Valley and Mayrhofen to the north, a sea of rocky mountains and icy glaciers to the south. This view is incredible – I am speechless.
My final challenge for today is to return safely to the valley, drinking a well-earned beer on the way down. Berg Heil!
Overview of the tour:
- Difficulty level: a demanding summit tour
- Length: around 10 kilometres
- Altitude climb: 1,200 metres
- Duration: around 5-7 hours (+ 30 minutes with the cable car)
- Terrain: pastures and meadows, mountainous terrain, gentle climbing (difficulty level 1), some hiking along a narrow ridge on the Popbergschneid.
- Rest stops: Karl-von-Edel-Hütte (open mid-June til the end of September – provided the Ahornbahn cable car is running)
- Requirements: Surefootedness, a good head for heights, technique and experience.
- Children and dogs: This summit hike is not suitable for small children or dogs. Only older children with a good level of fitness should attempt the 3000m peak.
Equipment checklist for a summit hike:
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Hiking map
- Telescopic hiking poles
- For less experienced hikers: a safety rope for the Popbergschneid
- Requirements: surefootedness and a good head for heights.
- Plenty of drinks and snacks