Hohes Kreuzjoch is a nearly unknown and not often summited peak in the southern Ötztal Alps, high above the upper Vinschgau valley. It is part of the Saldur group.
The Saldur group is mainly a north – south orientated, high rigde, starting at Weißkugel summit. There are still some glaciers and with Oberretteshütte one central mountain hut of the Italian Alpenverein (CAI).
The main summits of Saldur group are:
● Quellspitzen (Innere Q.: 3513 m; Äußere Q.: 3385 m)
● Schwemser Spitze (3459 m)
● Saldurspitze (3433 m)
● Ramudelkopf (3330 m)
● Upikopf (3175 m)
● Hochalt (3285 m)
● Remsspitze (3212 m)
● Litzner (also called Allitzspitze; 3206 m)
From Saldurspitze to the east there are some minor ridges.
Remsspitze and Litzner are forming the southernmost subgroup of Saldur group. This subgroup is separated by Upital valley from the main group. Hohes Kreuzjoch sits on the long southwest ridge of Litzner. There are some more summits along this ridge, all can be climbed easily:
● Madatschknott ((3081 m)
● Hohes Kreuzjoch (2992 m)
● Schwarzer Knott (2811 m)
● Kalterer (2501 m)
● Köpflplatte (2410 m)
West of Saldur group is Matscher Valley, east of it the Schlandrauner Valley and the also mostly unknown Schlandrauner mountains, another southern Ötztal subgroup.
You can hike all summits of the Remser – Litzner subgroup quite easily. There are marked trails leading up to Litzner and Remser Spitze, to Köpflplatte, Kalterer and to Hohes Kreuzjoch.
Other routes include hiking “offroad” with no trails.
All hikes are quite long and afford an altitude difference of more than 1500 m !
Hohes Kreuzjoch and the Remser – Litzner subgroup is easily reached by SS 40, the main road through Vinschgau valley, coming from Reschenpass or from Meran.
From Switzerland take the Engadin – Ofenpass – Val Müstair route into Vinschgau valley.
From Meran there is a railroad through the Vinschgau valley. Check the schedule here.
As there is an altitude difference of 2100 m from the Vinschgau valley up to Hohes Kreuzjoch you should not choose at any rate a trailhead located at the valley ground. If you want so, choose
● Eyrs / Oris
● Spondinig / Spondigna or
● Schluderns / Sluderno
for your departure. All those villages are sitting along SS 40 or the railroad track and all have their railroad station.
There are four better possibilities to get started:
from Matscher Tal:
● Oberrun (1663 m). Leave SS 40 at Tartsch between Schlanders and Mals for Matsch (road number 105). About 1,5 km before reaching Matsch, follow a road to the right, leading to Kortatsch, Mühlhof and Oberrun. Oberrun is a farmhouse standing on the east side of the Matsch valley, opposite of Matsch.
from Vinschgau valley:
● Gials (1344 m). Take the road number 109 from Schluderns center to Tanas, it should be indicated. Follow this road up to the farmhouse Platztau (after the second switchback). After Platztau take the next route on the left, leading up to Gials and Marseil (indicated at the road crossing). Follow “Gials”, another farmhouse, up three more switchbacks; after that, you arrive a parking area in the woods, where a forest road starts left of you.
● Obertels (1563 m). Another mountain farmhouse high above Vinschgau valley. Use the road number 109 from Schluderns to Tanas, pass by the farmhouse Gschnair and go on for about 4 km until you reach a crossing with a road to the left. This road leads up to Obertels. You reach the crossing too from Laas – Allitz and Tanas (number 109).
● Unterfrini (1715 m). This farmhouse is north of Tanas and the hotel Paflur located above Tanas at the road number 109. From Paflur go on about 500 m direction Schluderns and take the road leading up to Oberfrini and Unterfrini.
Be careful where you get parked so your car is not an obstacle for the farming activities near the farmhouses. If you doubt better ask where you can leave your car.
Red TapeNone as far as i know.
Trails from the valley ground:
Eyrs / Oris
Take trail number 21 from the northern parts of Eyrs up to the road number 109, Schluderns – Tanas and to Obertels farmhouse (go on with trail description from Obertels).
Spondinig / Spondigna
Take the trail number 22, it leads you up to Gschnair farmhouse. From there follow trail number 19 to Gials (go on with trail description from Gials).
Schluderns / Sluderno
From Schluderns follow the road with the trail number 23. You pass the beautiful Churburg and the Farmhouses Kofl and Schlorent. Later on you reach the road number 109, Schluderns – Tanas. Follow this route and parts of trail number 19 up to Gials (go on with trail description from Gials).
Trails out of the farmhouses:
Oberrun (1663 m)
The forest road starting at Oberrun is leading up to Runer Alpl. At Runer Alpl take the marked trail to the east, which leads up through forest and meadows to Runer Köpfl (2585 m), a subsummit in the northwest ridge, coming down from Hohes Kreuzjoch. Follow this ridge “offroad” until you reach the summit.
Gials (1344 m)
This one is my favourite. Take the upper forest road from the parking lots until trail number 21b leaves it. Follow 21b through wonderfull Lärchen woods - which are especially in late autumn like a walk through a golden dome - up to Außeralp and Mahder, a beautiful meadow. At this meadow, there is a trail junction (see also Obertels and Unterfrini). Take the left trail, leading up through meadows and forest (number 21) until it reaches an old and withered wooden cross with a breathtaking view into the Vinschgau valley and the Ortler mountains to the south.
Follow number 21 up to Köpflplatte (2410 m) above the timber line; you are now on the southwest ridge up to Hohes Kreuzjoch.
Number 21 goes on until it reaches Kalterer (2501 m). The trail 21 leaves our ascend route and goes down to Inneralp. From there you can return to Gials parking lot via number 21b. You can use this route as a descend route or as an alternative ascent but it does not provide such good views and such nice Lärchen woods.
From Kalterer follow the ridge crest up to Schwarzer Knott and to Hohes Kreuzjoch. Partly there are markings and a not maintained trail is sometimes visible. But the hike is not difficult and the ridge offers grand views to the south, west and east.
From Hohes Kreuzjoch you can continue quite easily to Madatschknott; there are more and better markings through the talus on the broad ridge.
Obertels (1563 m)
From Obertels take the trail number 21 up to Mahder meadow and follow the description Gials.
Unterfrini (1715 m)
From Unterfrini take the trail number 26 up to Mahder meadow and follow the description Gials.
Hohes Kreuzjoch is mostly a summer and autumn hike.
Thanks to a southern exposure there will be lasting snow only very late in the year. The lower parts of the hike, Köpflplatte and Kalterer, might be free of snow again early in the year.
Nevertheless Hohes Kreuzjoch can be summitted also in winter as a ski hiking tour. For further information see: Hohes Kreuzjoch
Maps and BooksThe best map is:
Tabacco, topographische Wanderkarte 1 . 25.000,
Blatt 044, Vinschgau / Sesvenna and
Blatt 043, Vinschgauer Oberland.
You will get them in nearly every bookshop or supermarked.
Some of the summits mentioned above are described in:
Walter Klier, Ötztaler Alpen, Alpenvereinsführer, Bergverlag R. Rother.