Hoher Dieb (which translates as "High Thief") is one of the easternmost mountains of the Orter / Cevedale Group. It is located so far east that indeed it might be questionable to attach it to that mountain range. You can find the mountain on the long ridge which separates the Vinschgau / Val Venosta and Ultental / Val Ultimo Valleys, to the east of Hasenöhrl / L'Orecchia di Lepre, the easternmost 3000er of the Ortler Cevedale Group. With 2730m Hoher Dieb certainly is one of the lower mountains of the range but it makes up for it with a gorgeous 360° view.
Every major mountain range of the area, whether the Geisler-, Langkofel- or Latemar-Groups to the west, the Brenta-, Presanella- or Adamello-Groups to the south, the bulk of the Ortler/Cevedale-Group to the west or the Ötztal Alps to the north: every single one of the major mountains is on full display. The deep view into the Vinschgau / Val Venosta Valley over almost 2000m only adds to the overall impression. The valley itself rarely gets much rain (even less snow). Due to the chimney effect the air, which warms up over the valley floor, pushes back the clouds north and south over the mountains. It is therefore almost mandatory that you start the ascent of any of the major peaks of the area very early in the morning. Around noon the clouds will settle on the mountaintops and obscur any view you might otherwise enjoy.
My guidebook (see section below) claims that Hoher Dieb is "a rarely climbed mountain". In September 2001, when we climbed it this was certainly the case. But we ran into one of these cloud banks which settled on the summit just as we reached it. Still the area around Hoher Dieb is a popular hiking destination. Don't get me wrong - the whole Vinschgau / Val Venosta is rather solitary - but here you have the Kofelraster Seen / Laghi del Covolo, two lakes which draw a certain amount of hikers. They are accessible from both Vinschgau and Ultental and actually one of the more important ridge crossings of the Ortler / Cevedale Group leads by their shores.
The peak bagging crowd then is divided into those who climb Hoher Dieb and those who climb the slightly higher Munteggrubspitze (2736m) to its east. Both mountains are popular ski tour destinations in winter, again from both valleys
Getting ThereThe best trailhead for this mountain is at Tarsch / Tarres on the southern slopes of Vinschgau / Val Venosta. There is a lift that takes you to Tarscher Alm / Malga di Tarres at 1940m. An Alternative is Sandhof on the shores of Zoggler Stausee / Lago di Zoccolo in Ultental / Val Ultimo. The starting altitude here is roughly 1250m.
Tarsch / Tarres trailhead in Vinschgau / Val Venosta
- From Italy
Take the Brenner motorway (A22) which you leave at Bozen / Bolzano south. Take S38 (Vinschgauer Staatsstrasse) northwards towards Meran /Merano). The road follows the Etsch / Adige Valley into Vinschgau / Val Venosta. Follow the road westwards until you reach Laatsch / Laces. Go into the village (the main road circles around it) and follow the signs to Tarsch / Tarres turning left on a side street. This leads you through apple orchards towards the village of Tarsch and on to the bottom station of the Tarsch ski lift (operated also in summer).
- From Austria
Take Inntalautobahn (Motorway A12) westward from Innsbruck to Landeck. At Landeck turn onto road 180 which winds its way upwards the upper Inn valley towards Nauders. Between Nauders and Reschen /Résia you cross the border and are directly on the shore of Reschensee / Lago di Résia. Follow the main road down towards Laatsch / Laces from where you go on the road to Tarsch, this time turning right.
- From Switzerland
Take motorway A3 from Zürich or E43 from Bregenz southwards in the direction of Chur. Shortly after the motorways meet turn off onto road 28, direction Davos. Behind Davos at Susch the road splits (27 / 28). You can take either roads - the southern one (28) leads you over Ofenpass (Passo dal Fuorn) into Vinschgau (there take the main road downwards (east)), the northern one (27) goes to the swiss-austrian border near Pfunds where you turn southwards again on 180 and head for Nauders, Reschen and on through the whole Vinschgau valley until you reach Laatsch / Laces.
Sandhof trailhead in Ultental / Val Ultimo
- From Meran you can drive to the southwest into Ultental / Val Ultimo. At the western end of Zoggeler See /Lago di Zoccole you'll find the hamlet of Sandhof. Park your car here and start your ascent northwards.
Red TapeHoher Dieb / Gran Ladro just lies outside the park boundaries of the natural park Stilfser Joch / Parco Naturale dello Stelvio. No restrictions apply but the usual leave no trace restrictions.
When To ClimbThe mountain can be climbed all year round. It is one of the more popular ski tour destinations in winter. The ski tour ascent in winter is probably more popular than the summer hike.
AccommodationFor accommodation you can contact the Vinschgau Tourism office at
Tourism association Vinschgau
I - 39028 Schlanders
Southtyrol - Italy
Tel. +39 0473 62 04 80
Fax +39 0473 62 04 81
E-Mail : email@example.com
Web page: www.vinschgau.org
Another worthwhile web page is www.suedtirolerland.it.
And last but by no means least you can find a lot of useful information on www.seilschaft.de. The pano on top of this page was linked from that site.
Weather ConditionsFor up-to-date weather information look up the following link:
Maps 'n' BooksMaps
I'm usually using the maps of Kompass Verlag. Hoher Dieb / Gran Ladro is located at the intersection of three of their sheets:
- Vinschgau / Val Venosta
Kompass Map WK52
- Meran / Merano
Kompass Map WK 53
- Ortler/Ortles Cevedale
Kompass Map WK72
I know of two books, both in German, which cover the area:
- Vinschgau / Ortlergruppe
Kompass Wanderbuch 950
Trips and mountain pages in the Vinschgau / Val Venosta Area
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