Start: Mayrhofen, Zillertal, Austria.
Lenght: 130 km at high altitudes, between 1600 and 3000 metres.
Difficulty level: excursion (even if challenging) track.
Duration: 11 days.
Notes: you can also cover single laps.
130 km of tracks at high altitudes and 8500 metres of height difference to cover in 11 days, enjoyng nature, wide spaces and silence, making new friends but away from the tourist stream. A real "European" track.
The High Route "Tiroler Höhenweg" was inaugurated with feasts and celebrations bound up with mountain life on the 13th July 2002 at Vipiteno, the 'north gate' to Valle Isarco. Both the Italian and Austrian alpine clubs worked on it for over two years, connecting existing paths and creating new tracks. As a result, a new, long-distance "European" track was created. It adds a new chapter to the history of the hight routes and long-distance itineraries.
This track, that starts at Mayrhofen, in Zillertal - Austria, was created with the European "Leader" and "Intereg" funds. It climbs over a dozen of passes and cols and extends in front of 12 mountain chains, among which the dolomitic Tribulaun range, the symbol of the Alta Valle Isarco. The track, well-marked in each tract with standard signs, leads from Mayrhofen to the Schlegeis snowfield and to Passo di Vizze, to the Refuge Venna, to the Gerla (Landshuter Europahütte), to Spina di Lupo (Wolfendorn), then reaches the Brenner Pass. It continues by Obernberg in the direction of the Tribulaun. Note that here - and not in the Dolomites - Dolomieu, the French geologist and mineralogist discovered the chemical composition of the dolomitic rocks. The route reaches the mine museums at Monte Neve in Val Ridanna, then the Val Passiria and goes by Merano over the Tessa chain.
The path extends always at an altitude between 1600 and 3000 metres. The programme includes five overnight stays in refuges at high altitude and another five nights in little valley villages. However, you can also cover single laps: it is possible to reach the main path easily from different places in Valle Isarco - moreover, this valley offers a wide range of trekking and climbing opportunities with the Brenner Pass, Val di Vizze and Val Ridanna. If you wish to add more laps to the High Route, climb the peaks or enjoy ascents and "ferrate" in the Tribulaun. Hans Peter Eisendle, the famous alpine guide from Vipiteno, who knows each single stone in the Tribulaun, maintains that the High Route "Tiroler Höhenweg" is a splendid, lonely and silent place.
However, the High Route "Tiroler Höhenweg" does not include any ascent, it is just an excursion (in some respects challenging) track. Indeed, you meet some little snowfields, even in summer (take crampons and ice-axes!) and some difficult passes with handrails. You should be in good form, be able to move safely and have basic knowledge of cartography. You can enjoy the itinerary at best with an alpine guide. On request you can get a 1:50.000 map with track guide at 7 euro at the Consorzio Turistico Valle Isarco.