Overshadowed by the mighty Parseierspitze, the highest peak of the Northern Limestone Alps and the only one jumping over the magic line of 3000 meters, the nearly 100 m lower Gatschkopf is located east of this culmination point.
Gatschkopf is the first summit of a long and lonely ridge stretching to the east and, due to its easy accessibility, the only summit of this ridge which is a very frequented outing. It is a simple hiking tour on marked trails, the easiest being the south approach starting at Augsburger Hütte, the accommodation on the south side just below Gatschkopf.
A second route from Augsburger Hütte uses the first part of the Augsburger Höhenweg up to the poor remnants of Grinner Ferner, a very small glacier, now buried below tons of scree and talus and thus barely visible. This route is a bit more difficult as it has to overcome steep rocks by means of a via ferrata.
A third route starts at Memminger Hütte, a huge alpine hut a good bit north of Gatschkopf and Parseier Spitze. The route is part of the Lechtal alpine trails, crisscrossing the whole area and connecting all huts.
The neighbor summit to the east is the unknown Simeleskopf, to the west it is Parseierspitze and the Bocksgartenspitzen, surrounding the Grinner cirque.
To the south there is a drop of 2000 meters of altitude difference down to Patznaun valley with the main trailheads above the village of Grins.
North of Gatschkopf is located the Lochbach valley and a huge cirque, called Patrol and bordered by Gatschkopf, Parseierspitze, Seekopf and Seeschartenkopf.
Grins, the southern trailhead, is located west of Landeck on the northern rim of the Patznaun / Inn valley.
You reach Grins by car on the Austrian highway A 12 between Arlberg and Innsbruck using the exit “Landeck West”.
Follow shorly road number 171 to the east and immediately turn on “Grinner Straße” to the village of Grins.
Follow the signposts for the public baths. Leave your car there or go on for about 200 m to the end of the public road with a hiker parking area.
Memminger Hütte as northern trailhead can be reached from Madau, the small village at the end of Madau valley, a tributary valley to Lechtal.
Leave road number 198, the Lechtal road, at the small village of Obergiblen between Elbigenalp and Holzgau for Madau and the hikers parking area.
Take the forest road heading into Parseiertal and then trail number 632 to Memminger Hütte.
Gatschkopf routes overview
Start at Grins hiker parking area above the public bath and follow the forest road up to the huge statue of a local artist, placed on the meadow of Tschafell. Stay left here and follow the trail up to Gasillboden (1597 m) with a spring.
From there you can go straight on, following Gasillbach (trail number 634) until you reach the water capture of Augsburger Hütte. Stay right there and traverse shortly to the alpine club hut.
Alternatively take the right hand trail at Gasillboden and follow the trail up to Oberer Stafel. Turn on the left hand trail at the Stafel trail junction, traverse the lower slopes of Blankahorn, enter and traverse the Furmenta valley below Simeleskopf. At its west border ascent very steeply and partly secured with ropes to a grassy patch where the so called Hummelleiter, two long iron ladders, overcome a steep rock face. At the end of the ladder follow the trail on your left shortly to Augsburger Hütte.
Summit south ascents
For the summit go back some paces in the direction of the water capture.
Take the trail to the right and enter above the water capture the huge Gasill valley. Follow the trail, the first part of Augsburger Höhenweg between Augsburger Hütte and Ansbacher Hütte, steeply up on scree and talus to a rock face blocking the ascent to the higher Grinner cirque and the small glacier. An easy via ferrata overcomes this rock face and traverses the Gasill canyon, a small and deep chute coming down from Grinner glacier.
At a signpost on top of the rock face with breathtaking views on Parseier Spitze, leave the Augsburger Höhenweg to your right and ascent to another signpost some steps above the deepest part of the huge Patrolscharte between Parseier Spitze and Gatschkopf. Follow the trail on the west ridge to the summit. Marvellous views!
Alternatively take the trail behind the hut zigzagging up the steep south slopes of Gatschkopf with some easy scrambling but nothing serious. In the upper part the trail can be slippery due to scree and marlstone.
The two routes from and to Augsburger Hütte can be linked to a nice loop.
Add Parseier Spitze (2 hours up and down, starting from Grinner glacier) to your loop, best with an overnight stay at Augsburger Hütte. I did that at the beginning of November, 2016, the winter shelter of Augsburger Hütte is excellent!
Use trail number 633 from Memminger Hütte, the so called Spiehler Weg, to Unterer Seewisee, Mittlerer and Oberer Seewisee and to Wegscharte. Traverse on that trail the huge cirque above Lochbach valley to Parseier Scharte and Patrolscharte. The last acent is steep and often covered with frozen snow!
Follow the easy west ridge up to Gatschkopf.
Red Tape & Accommodation
No red tape as far as I know.
Accomodation can be found at
Gear & Mountain Condition
Gatschkopf is mainly a summer and autumn outing and requires normal hiking gear and good boots.
Early in the year an ice axe and crampons can come in handy on the north route. If there was not very much snow during autumn the south routes can be open until the first real heavy snowfall in early winter.
Nevertheless is Gatschkopf a high and exposed mountain and requires at least some alpine experience.
Map & Guide Book
Alpenvereinskarte, scale 1 : 25.000
Lechtaler Alpen, Parseierspitze, number 3/3, with UMT grid, edition 2015
Lechtaler Alpen, Alpenvereinsführer alpin, 2ndedition 2008,
Unfortunately sold out!