Some mountain names tend to be funny or bewildering. Kotalmjoch (or Kotalpenjoch) has to be among them. It means “the col of a shitty alpine cabin” or “the col of the shit meadows around that cabin”. Uuuurrrrghhh …………. ????????????
First of all it is not a col for if you try to do a traverse you will fall down the steep northeastern rock slopes for shure.
Second those meadows are not more plastered with cows digestion leftovers than other alpine meadows with grazing cattle.
Third, if you will take in my pics you will agree with me that, despite of that bizarre name this (ski) hike is absolutely worth your while.
Kotalmjoch is a southeast - northwest running ridge, stretching about 800 meters with a steep northeast side and a more gentle southwest side, offering several chutes and dwarf pine free slopes to ski down into a hanging valley between Klobenjoch and Kotalmjoch, high above Achensee.
Kotalmjoch belongs to the small Rofan subrange of the Brandenberger Alpen range and is the northernmost summit of the main ridges of Rofan. Despite of its height - the main Rofan summits like Hochiss are some 200 meters higher - you have fantastic views especially to the east, north and west and the views to the perpendicular northern rock walls of the main Rofan range are just breathtaking.
Kotalmjoch is mainly a winter and spring ski hike. The beautiful hanging valley of Kotalm Hochleger, the steep rockwalls of Klobenjoch and the nice downhill slopes and chutes of Kotalmjoch make this mountain a ski hike classic. There is at long last a sufficiently sized parking area at the trailhead for the ski hikers (expensive, though, 4 Euros in 2010).
In summer and autumn Kotalmjoch is a lonely and remote Rofan summit. A nice hike to do in summer and autumn is the traverse from Kotalmjoch to Stuhlböcklkopf, Streichkopf and Hochiss and maybe back traversing Dalfazer Wände and Rotspitze - this is then more than “most of a day”.
The trailheads for Kotalmjoch are all in the Achensee valley.
Railway and Public Busses
Normal Routes Overview
There are four main trailheads for Kotalmjoch and two main routes:
From Hotel Achenseehof or campground Schwarzenau
follow the forest roads and trails up to Kotalm Niederleger and proceed to Kotalm Mittelleger (trail and forest road; the ski track leaves the forest road at Niederleger and zigzags up the steep woods directly to Mittelleger; downhill to Niederleger through the woods or along the forest road).
The trail / ski route enters the hanging valley between Kotalmjoch and Klobenjoch and leads up a steeper slope in the middle of that valley. Where the dwarf pines give the possibility to hike / ski-hike up the slopes to the summit undisturbed, do so. This is an off-trail part to your left.
From Maurach / Buchau
climb up the steep trail to Dalfàzalm.
From Maurach / Rofan cableway
follow the downhill slope up to a forest road, turn left and leave the road on a trail to the right, traversing the lowest parts of Rofan up to Dalfàzalm.
There is a traversing trail between Dalfàzalm and cableway mountain station, too.
Follow a trail up the valley between Klobenjoch and Dalfàzer Wände to Steinernes Tor, a col between these two mountains. Descend into the valley between Klobenjoch and Kotalmjoch, north of Steinernes Tor and immediately start your ascent to Kotalmjoch (off-trail) where the dwarf pines give way to do so.
A great traverse is: Trailhead Achenseehof - Kotalm - Kotalmjoch - Stuhlböcklkopf - Streichkopf - Hochiß - back to Streichkopf - traverse of Dalfàzer Wände - Rotspitze - Dalfàzalm - Buchau; back to the trailhead with bus or second car.
The first part to Hochiss and back to Streichkopf is a ski route, too.
Red Tape & Accommodation
Besides the parking area fee at Hotel Achenseehof parking, there are, as far as I know, no further special restrictions for hikers and ski-hikers.
Hotels, Bed & Breakfast, restaurants and campgrounds can be found mainly in the following villages:
Gear & Mountain Conditions
Kotalmjoch is a year-round summit.
In summer and autumn it is an easy hike which requires only normal hiking gear.
In winter and spring it is a ski hike for beginners but - as always on ski tours - don´t forget your avalanche gear.
Check the weather forecast here or here.
Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.