OverviewIt is one of the highest peaks in the Verwallgruppe and the St. Anton and Pettneu region, as well as one of the most strenuous to climb. Its 2 Glaciers are distinctly visible from Pettneu and the views from the top are wonderful, including the Wildspitze (Austria's 2nd highest peak) and several other peaks in Italy and Austria. If you are staying at the Gridlon in Pettneu, the views are particlarly interesting, since you can perfectly see the hotel from the top and with binoculars it is easy to spot your friends at the hotel!!!
During the peak season (late June - September) there is a fairly large number of people at the hut and on the Riffler. During the day when we summited in August 2003 there were probably about 100 people that summited. However, during the offseason there will be only a few other climbers. When we summited in June 1995 we were the only group on the summit.
Easiest route (from the Pettneu trailhead): I would describe the easiest route as a class 2 climb. With almost 6000 ft. in altitude difference between the trailhead and the summit. (can be climbed in a single day) At the trailhead a time of 6 hours to the summit and 3 hours to the Edmund Graf hut is given; most conditioned climbers will be able to reach the summit in 4-5 hours and the Edmund Graf hut in 2.
Getting ThereFrom Pettneu (a small town near St. Anton) the trailhead is only a few miles away. There are signs in the town showing the way to the trailhead.
Red TapeThere are no fees to climb in this area. As far as I know the area is open for climbing all year around.
However, the surrounding mountain huts usually only open between the end of June and the end of September. (There are fees to stay in the Edmund-Graf Hut, please see the following link for additional information: Take me to the Edmund Graf hut To decrease the cost of a stay in the huts it is recommended to be a member of an Alpine Club (usually Austria, Germany, ...)
Parking is available for free at the trailhead.
When To ClimbThe recommended season is between June and September.
(I have never climbed the Hoher Riffler during other times of the year.)
CampingThe Edmund Graf hutis the common place to stay when climbing the Hoher Riffler, however, the climb can be done in a single day.
Additional trails from the hutEdmund Graf Hut: At this point several trails meet, one of which goes to the Hoher Riffler. Another trail leads to Eissee (a lake that is usually partially frozen) and then on to the Niederelbe hut (listed time: 4 hours 30 minutes). Another trail leads to the town of Kappl.
- Austrian Map online
Online digital maps of Austria (OEK 50, OEK 200 and OEK 500) by the BEV (Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen) - in German