Wurmkogel is a fine looking mountain in the heart of the Alps. It can be climbed relatively easy in summer as well as winter. It is a popular objective in this part of the Otztal Alps. The official name of the mountain is Hinterer Wurmkogel, but most people simply refer to it as Wurmkogel, probably because the other Wurmkogel, called Vorderer Wurmkogel, is a minor shoulder of the higher Hinterer Wurmkogel.
Wurmkogel has an elevation of 3082 meters and is part of the Eastern Main ridge of the Otztaler Hauptkamm, a subrange of the Otztal Alps. The mountain is bounded by the Gurgler valley in the west (with the mountain’s home village called
Hochgurgl) and the Timmelsjoch passroad and Italian border In the east. In the south the Otztaler Hauptkamm ridge continues and gradually becomes higher in elevation towards famous peaks like Hochwilde and Hinterer Seelenkogel.
Views from the summit of Wurmkogel are just awesome. In the west many primary ‘Otztal Alps peaks’ are visible: Wildspitze, Schwarze Schneid, Grosser Ramolkogel and Schalfkogel to name a few. Towards the north the Otztal main valley and the Stubai Alps can be seen. Towards the east all the famous Dolomites mountains can be recognized like Marmolada, Langkofel, Sella and the Tofana’s. Towards the south the Hinterer Seelenkogel and Hochwilde dominate the view along the other high mountains of the Otztaler Hauptkamm.
Wurmkogel can be climbed in summer as well as winter. The ascent can be shortened tremendously because of the presence of the Obergurgl/Hochgurgl ski-facilities. One of the lifts goes up the shoulder of Wurmkogel making the summit ascent a short and in summer, easy hike. In winter the last part to the summit is somewhat more difficult because of the thick layer of snow present on the mountain. The summit part of the mountain is secured by steel cables which makes the ascent an easy hikers destination. I would say the grade is about T2/T3. In winter these steel cables are under a deep layer of snow, so you have to find your own way up. The slope gets as steep as 35/40 degrees, so be careful not to slip. I was able to make deep steps in the snow, what made the ascent not too difficult, no ropes needed. Crampons can be useful, but are certainly not obligated since I climbed up on my snowboard shoes.
The summer route starts in the village of Hochgurgl. Trail 2 (see map, T2/T3) leads up the west side of the mountain. The well marked trail goes all the way up to the base of the mountain where the Top Mountain Star restaurant is located. This is the ending point of the skilift facilities at 3000 meters. I suppose most people therefore take the lift up instead of taking the hiking trail. From this point on it is only about 20 minutes until you reach the summit of Wurmkogel. The so-called Gemssteig is the secured path from the Top Mountain star restaurant to the summit. This last part of the trail is graded T2/3.
A concluding note from the author: If you like to stand atop of a 3000meter peak and do not mind crowds in order to enjoy the fantastic views, then I can recommend to ‘climb’ the mountain in summer using the hiking trail (Trail 2) or the cableway up. If you are not too fond of crowds I can recommend to climb Wurmkogel in winter. Although close to the Obergurgl/Hochgurgl ski-facilities, I found myself alone on the mountain, sitting against the summit cross and enjoying the fantastic views.
How to get There
- From Vorarlberg to Tirol over the Arlbergpass or the Arlbergtunnel (S 16) - Landeck - Autobahn A 12 in the direction of Innsbruck – take exit ‘’Ötztal’’ after the Roppener Tunnel - B 186 (50km) to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- Bad Tölz - Achenpaß - B 181 - Jenbach - A 12 Innsbruck towards Bregenz – take exit Ötztal - B 186 (50km) to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- Pfronten - Reutte - Fernpaß - Imst - A 12 towards Innsbruck – take exit Ötztal after the Roppener Tunnel or B 171 Tiroler Straße until the Ötztal (No Highway Vignet needed) - B 186 (50km) to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- Garmisch Partenkirchen - Ehrwald - Lermoss - Fernpaß
- Imst - A 12 towards Innsbruck - take exit Ötztal after the Roppener Tunnel or B 171 Tiroler Straße until the Ötztal (No Highway Vignet needed) - B 186 (50km) to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- Garmisch Partenkirchen - Mittenwald - Scharnitz - Seefeld in Tirol - Telfs - A 12 in the direction of Bregenz - take exit Ötztal after the Roppener Tunnel or B 171 Tiroler Straße until the Ötztal (No Highway Vignet needed) - B 186 (50km) to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- From München or Salzburg take the A 93 towards Kufstein, after Kuffstein take the A 12 towards Bregenz, passing Innsbruck until the exit named ‘’Ötztal’’, take the B 186 (50km) until you arrive in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- From Bozen/Bolzano head towards the Brennerpass - Brenner Autobahn (Tollroad) in the direction of Innsbruck - From Innsbruck on the A 12 towards Bregenz until the exit ‘’Ötztal’’ – continue on the B 186 (50km) until you arrive in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl
- From Merano in Südtirol use the Timmelsjoch passroad to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, high alpine passroad with a maximum altitude of 2.500 m, The passroad is opened from the start of June until the end of Oktober; Tollroad. Passroad is closed in Winter!
Hotels & Camping
There are many hotels in Hochgurgl, the village at the base of Wurmkogel and the village nearby named Obergurgl. To search for accomodations See this link.
There are some beautiful campsites in the main Otztaler valley:
Maps and book
Ötztaler Alpen Kompass Map WK43
Ötztaler Alpen Kompass Map WK043
30/01 AlpenvereinskarteOtztaler Alpen: Gurgl
For operating hours of the Hochgurgl lift facilities in Summer follow this link
For operating hours of the Hochgurgl lift facilities in Winter follow this link
The official site of Obergurgl and Hochgurgl
Wurmkogel Summit Panorama
From left to right the main peaks are: Hochfirst (3405m), Liebener Spitze (3400m), Hinterer Seelenkogel (3472m), Schalfkogel (3540m), Diemkogel (3400m), Spiegelkogel (3420m), Ramolkogel (3550m, just left of the summit cross. Right of the summit cross the main peaks are Watze (3554m), Verpeilspitze and Hohe Geige. The valley is the Otztaler main valley with the village of Solden. The rocky peak in front (right of the valley) is Schermerspitze (3116m). To the right of it the Stubai Alps and Zuckerhutl (3505m)