It starts at the very end of Ötztal in Vent and leads you through amazing high alpine landscape with many glaciers at the foot of Wildspitze in a roundtrip. Maybe this map helps you getting an overview. Do not expect small and cosy huts in this area! All are big, host glacier courses and the employees are not family members anymore but just waiters from all around Europe (who are all very nice but takes something away from a hut feeling). Despite now having the highest Austrian Mountain (Großglockner), this area is in average the highest located area. 15 out of the 20 highest Austrian peaks are located here, included Wildspitze (2nd), Weißkugel (3rd).
Parking somewhere in Vent. Around the cable car station there are parking lots.
Access public transportation
With the fast Railjet to Ötztal Bahnhof, bus 8352 to any station in Sölden. I can recommend Sölden Postamt as it is quite in the center and you have some shops around in case there is some spare time. Then with bus 8400 till the final stop Ötztal Hotel Similaun.
Day 1: It is no problem reaching your first hut on the day of arrival: from Vent you reach the Hochjoch-Hospiz in 2,5h. Make sure to start the hike on the right side of the river: if you look into the valley it is the left side where the Hotel Similaun is also located. The other river side just makes you follow a street for some time and at the Rofenhöfe the paths come together again. There you cross a spectacular rope bridge and will follow the river deeper and depper into the mountains, just along the canyon you will be amazed how deep the Rofnerache was shaping the rock here. You cannot miss the Hochjoch-Hospiz!
Path following the beautiful small canyon of the Ötztaler Arche to the back of the valley.
Day 2: Our aim for the day is the Breslauerhütte and to reach it there are two options (which can also be combined):
- crossing via Guslarspitze: in around 2h you reach the Guslarspitze at 3151m and from there you go down to the Vernagthütte in another 2h. We ascended the peak but due to snowfall we decided to descent the same path again as we knew for sure how it looks like and that the markings were nicely visible. Just before the hut we continued with the following option:
- just along the mountain: you walk around the peaks without too much ascent and descent and will reach the Vernagthütte in only 2h (or even faster as it is really flat and nice to walk for this altitude).
Pictures below show the quite snowy/windy path from Hochhochhospiz to Guslarspitze
Now there is the option of already sleeping in the Vernagthütte and continue the next day, continueing straight away or maybe staying for lunch: we chose the latter and were rewarded with a pic pot of Kaspressknödelsuppe and hot tea. To the Breslauer Hütte it is another 2h. We slept there but was probably the worst hut we have ever been to despite an awesome location so maybe consider staying at the Vernagthütte or just descending even already (can only say that soup was good, dont know how dinner would have looked like). Or just dont expect much from the hut then you will experience just little disappoinment.
Day 3: there are some different options for descending:
- via Wildes Mannle: definitly the more interesting option, till the peak it is around 1,5h and you can even cross the peak to avoid going the same path twice. You descent a bit from the hut where you will already see a bridge, there you cross and follow the marked trail. When you come to a crossroad with two signs to the peak take the one leading to the left along a ridge and kind of direction of Wildspitze. Via some rocks where you have rope securing and a need for using your help you will reach the peak, tremendous views to Wildspitze and all the mountains around Vent. For walking down just follow the ridge onwards and you will walk towards the cable car station in 1h, from there either just taking the cable car down or continue walking for 2h partly along roads and partly through grassland along a skiing slope.
- straight down: around 3,5h till Vent.
When getting closer to Wildes Mannle the Wildspitze, second highest Austrian mountain will also get visible.
Some scrambling to reach Wildes Mannle.
The cross is of Wildes Mannle, panorma view towards the south-west.
Extension day: If you want to extent your hike for one day you can just add the Martin Busch Hütte. It is also accesible from Vent (3h) and then you have the options of either going via Saykogel (3360m) to the Hochjochhospiz or in case that seems too exhausting or tricky due to weather via Vent to your next hut.
Hochjoch-Hospiz: when there is clear weather you have views till the Weißkugel, Austria´s third highest mountain on the border with Italy. The food was okay, we just had the mountaneering dish which was Spaghetti Pomodoro with our own parmesan grater!
Vernagthütte: outside the hut we saw many, many marmots! As mentioned above the soup was big and good.
Breslauerhütte: it was unfortunately the worst we have ever been to! When making a reserveration online you need to state if you want to have dinner and/or breakfast, chose both as usually you decide it just on the spot then; here no change was possible so rather dont book anything and just add it later, bet it is working as it would bring them money. Breakfast was also okay, we were not so many people so getting it from the kitchen worked well, just the times are rather bad, either very early (5ish) or rather late (think starting at 8 again), doesnt give you much flexibility with leaving. But was was really bad was the dinner: soup was supposed to be a vegetable cream soup, hot water and 5 smashed peas though dont make a whole vegetable soup! Main dish were small portions of water "Stroganoff" or really bad pasta with some kind of cheese (which probably has never seen cheese and mainly consisted of milk/water). Dessert was a tiny chocolate pudding. If you would order it seperately and think that soup and dessert cost each 5 euros it is just insane! Hut is well booked because of its great location, closest hut to reach the Wildspitze, not far from a cable car and down to Vent. If you need to stay there just try to consume as little as possible as hardly anything was good ;)
The tour is recommended as one off the main touristic paths, maybe it is true compared with being straight in Sölden but in comparison to other regions it is definitely not calm. But landscape is great, so many glaciers to see the whole time, in the end a difficult decision if you prefer something more quiet with less people, cosier huts with better food for slightly lower peaks and less glaciers or just take the big huts with all their disadvantages to be that high up.
Rofenhöfe: the farms are the highest located all year cultivated farms in Austria, back in the 13th century southtyrolean farmers crossed the alps with their sheep. A legend says that due to snowfall in early fall they couldnt go back via the 3000m high saddle and needed to spend the winter in the back of the Ötztal.
Wildspitze: it is the second highest peak of Austria and the highest of Tyrol. The old peak cross (Gipfelkreuz) was brought to the valley and is marking the only point where you can see the peak from the valley.