OverviewOlperer has a very nice and symmetric east face, framed by the south-east and north ridges:
Both are of about equal difficulty and can be used to traverse the summit.
The north ridge rises a bit more than 200m from Wildlahnerscharte, and, after a few dozens of meters in 40° snow to the right of the ridge proper, is purely rock climbing, partly aided by cramps. The SE-ridge is more snow and less rock climbing.
Getting ThereThe access to the starting point of Wildlahnerscharte, 3250m, can be either from east via the ski resort of Hintertuxer glacier (a T-bar lift should go up there most of the year) or from Geraer hut, 2324 m, west of Wildlahnerscharte, which means an ascent of about 900m partly over a glacier. The latter is obviously the true alpinistic way.
Geraer hut in turn is accessed from west - from Brenner pass road via St. Jodok / Vals. The parking is at inn "Touristenrast" at about 1380 m.
The access to the SE-ridge is from Olperer hut (south side of the mountain), 2389 m, via "Riepengrat". This is almost the same altitude difference to the summit as from Geraer hut. Olperer hut is accessed from south (parking at Schlegeis reservoir, about 1800 m).
Route DescriptionComing from Geraer hut, one enters Olperer Ferner (glacier) at about 2900 m. On ascent over the glacier one should keep to the left side, quite close to the accompanying ridge (Wildlahner ridge, which itself is not recommended for ascent), in order to avoid some yawning crevasses, which are located more to the center of the glacier. Note that 1 or 2 crevasses have to be traversed anyway!
Shortly before reaching Wildlahnerscharte from Geraer hut one passes below a distinctive hanging glacier (attention especially in the afternoon!):
First the snow flank (about 40°, 60m) between the ridge and the hanging glacier is used for the ascent
Where this flank flattens one changes to the rocks (at times a marked bergschrund may have to be crossed) and follows the exposed ridge line to the summit cross.
The crux, which comes about midway, is a short overhanging section which - like several other passages - is facilitated by cramps in the form of duck feet.
This left image shows the rock structure and some of the more or less endemic fauna, and this right one shows some of the duck feet and Wildlahnerscharte.
For the descent, either use the same way back or traverse Olperer using the south-east ridge ("Schneegupfgrat") to reach the path from Olperer hut to Geraer hut. This ridge offers climbing in about the same difficulty as the north ridge (but shorter) and a long snow field. Note that this variant is about 2 hours longer, if one aims back to Geraer hut, and one looses a lot of altitude, if one chooses the way over Alpeiner Scharte. Instead of taking right at the end of Schneegupfgrat to reach Alpeiner Scharte one can alternatively take left to reach Wildlahnerscharte accross the ski resort.
It must be said that the rock is not very favorable for climbing (without the duck feet it would be grade 4-5), and is quite often icy or under snow.
Essential GearIn summer light glacier equipment for the access to Wildlahnerscharte is indicated. In winter one can do it without by skis (as the above images show). For the climbing part also light equipment should normally be sufficient (depending on the personal abilities, of course), since the more difficult parts of the ridge are secured resp. aided by numerous "duck feet".
Clothing should be selected wrt to the fact that due to the very exposed situation of Olperer the weather can profoundly change very quickly (within half an hour or so).