Above Kals am Grossglockner
Key information: Above Kals am Grossglockner
- A walking Mecca, with several day’s walk of delights above this classic village.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest16
- Human interest4
- Negative points0
- Total rating85
- Length: Your choice
- Maximum Altitude: 2,827m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
The valleys above the lovely village of Kals, in its perfect setting deep in its valley south of Grossglockner, are beautiful and interesting; this is a walking Mecca, with several day’s worth of outstanding routes.
North-east: above the Lucknerhaus
The steep and dramatic Ködnitztal east of Kals only got a (toll) road in 1980; you can now drive to the Lucknerhaus (1,918m) 7km up the valley, from which several excellent walks can be made.
The Ködnitztal drives due north to its emergence below rocky slopes awash with waterfalls from the glacier at its head. Grossglockner looms directly above and the drama of high broken crags soaring each side. You can walk to the amazingly sited Stüdl Hut (2,802m) on the western ridge in around 5hrs return. Or you can cross the pass the hut sits on and return south-west to Kals via the gloriously remote Teischnitz valley in 7+ hrs.
The Glorer Hut sits at 2,642m on a high pass to the north-east. There are several ways to get to it. The direct route is straight up the valley (route 714) in 2 hrs+. Another is to climb (routes 67 and 67A) east across to and up the Peislachbach valley to the stunning Peislachbach Törl, then swing round to head north for a glorious traverse on the Wiener Höhenweg (we guess 4ish hrs). But the finest approach is to head up the Ködnitztal to a few 100m above the Luckner Hut, then turn right to climb up a steep but grassy hillside to turn right again (south) to join a remarkable long traverse of the upper flanks of the Glatz Schneid ridge on a stretch of the Europa Skyline Trail, which involves some exposed but very doable stretches of klettersteig, to cross one more pass before reaching the Glorer Hut. (Walkopedia would love to make this latter approach – indeed, we started but had to curtail ambitions as a result of a tired child (are we abusers?) and circle north to rejoin the Ködnitztal route. We would love to spend at least one night in these highlands, exploring beyond the ridge to the Salm Hut.)
A steep but not excessively difficult climb west then north gets you to the 2,247m Grei Bühel and on to the 2,743m Figerhorn.
North up the Dorfer Tal
The long Dorfer Tal runs due north from Kals, with the Granatspitz ridge to its west and the Zollspitz/Kreutzwandspitz goup, with 7 peaks over 3,000m, to its east. Well up the valley, but still below the tree line at 1,775m, is the Kalser Tauernhaus hut.
You can walk up through a gorge then lovely meadows and woodlands to reach the Tauernhaus in approaching 2 hrs. An hour further up the increasingly narrow and steep-sided is the marvellously sited Dorfer See lakelet.
To the west of the Taurenhaus, a superb trail (514/514A) climbs to a famous viewpoint, then traverses the steep hillside southward before dropping back to the valley bottom. This would make a brilliant long day’s walk when combined with the walk to the Dorfer See. (You can also head on south-westish from the traverse to make the stunning 2.5 day high circuit decribed below.)
To the east, the steep but gorgeous and remote Teischnitz valley climbs steadily to the Stüdl Hut (2,802m) – see above.
This not-to-be-missed long, high ridge leads eventually to Granatspitz. It is a walkers’ delight, with amazing 360° views (said to include more than 60 3,000m+ summits), superbly sited huts and a selection of stunning high-level routes; and access by cable car from both Kals and Matrei. It is particularly appealing because you can bag some glorious summits, including some 3,000m-ers, and get views of both the Glockner and Venediger groups.
Several trails from the Dorfer Tal pant their way up to the heights, but these (other than the Silesia Hohenweg, see below) are for masochists and purists.
A tough but particularly appealing route would be to walk to the Kalser Tauernhaus hut (see above) the head south-westish to cross the high and broken Granatspitz ridge (on the Silesia Hohenweg, route 514) to drop beside the Gradötz glacier to the Sudetendeutscher Hut – a demanding route but a magnificent one. Thence you could head south along the Granatspitz ridge on the Sudetendeutcher Höhenweg, and drop on the cable car back to Kals for a stunning 2.5 day walk.
As you will have appreciated by now, there are many options for making some superb multi-day walks. Indeed, the “Crossing the Glockner Group” route arrives from the north at the Kalser Tauernhaus, climbs the Teischnitz valley to the Stüdl Hut, makes the remarkable long traverse of the upper flanks of the Glatz Schneid ridge to the Glorer Hut described above, then drops on eastwards.
The Hohe Tauern are well loved, and well walked, so this won’t feel like a wilderness on the main trails, although can get away.
This can be tough walking in high and remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared.
Walking in Austria – Kev Reynolds for Cicerone: more than 100 walks in the Austrian Alps, including 18 in the Hohe Tauern, including several here. As usual, an inspiring book (indeed, Walkopedia was alerted to some of these routes by the former), packed with valuable information, including good detail on the routes. As Austrian maps are good, Walking in Austria has less on each walk that some other Cicerones, but that is fine. Recommended. Find relevant books on Amazon.
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For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Höhe Tauern walk page.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
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