Geographical Classification: Eastern Alps > Hohe Tauern > Villgraten Group > Rote Wand
Rote Wand (Red Wall) is a hiking mountain at the north-westernmost end of the Villgraten Group in Hohe Tauern. It is located in one of the long southern side ridges and fittingly is the highest summit of its ridge. It towers above Lake Antholz / Lago di Anterselva but is dwarfed by its direct neighbour across the valley, Hochgal / Collalto. Rote Wand is very popular among hikers though three of the four ascent routes to its summit are far from easy. The shortest approach is from Stallersattel, a road pass between the Italian Antholzer Tal / Valle di Anterselva and the Austrian Defereggental. The pass is located at an elevation of 2052m which makes the ascent of Rote Wand a moderate day tour. The summit block, however is rather steep and the space on to is limited. Be sure to start early on this expedition, otherwise you'll hardly find a place to sit down :-)
The three other routes start at the valley floors of Antholzer Tal (1400 - 1630m) and Gsieser Tal / Valle di Casies (1600m) and require quite some endurance. Moreover they either cross long and steep scree fields or run along the exposed southern side ridge (Knebelstein - Hellensteinspitze - Rote Wand). Be sure to account for long ascent times.
Like all of the mountains of the Villgraten Group, Rote Wand is on helluva lookout summit. Besides the direct close-up view of Hochgall you can see the whole Dolomite Panorama stretching from the Sexten / Sesto Dolomites in the east to Peitlerkofel / Sass da Putia in the west. To the north you have a good view on Großglockner and the surrounding Glockner Group.
For me Rote Wand has a special meaning. It was one of the first mountains I actually summitted. In the years before bad luck would always drive us back from the summits with bad weather, lack of time, injuries, whatever. We broke the spell with this mountain and I'll always have fond memories of it ;-)
Though I have numerous pictures of the area, Rote Wand always eludes them. You see the western slope here the northern slope there but the mountain obviously wants to be invisible. Anyone with a picture of the mountain is invited to post it here.
There are four routes up onto Rote Wand, none of which are really difficult. Three routes will include serious scrambling and large elevation differences while the route from Stallersattel is short and easy.
- Stallersattel between the Antholz and Derfereggen Valleys. Shortest Ascent Routes in terms of elevation gain and difficulty.
- Lake Antholz in (you guessed it) Antholz Valley. Steep scree ascent along the valley of the Montal Creek
- Antholz-Obertal (the uppermost village of Antholz Valley). A little south of the village a steep trail leads to Grübel-Scharte Pass and from there on across the exposed ridge towards Hellenstein-Spitze and Rote Wand.
- St. Magdalena in Gsies Valley. At the beginning a hike along a forest road th ascent evolves into a steep scramble across some scree fields.
Rote Wand is most easily reached from the south, from Pustertal / Val Pusteria. The Antholz / Anterselva and Gsies / Casies Valleys all run north from Pustertal and lead to Rote Wand which is located at the end of and between both valleys. The Derfereggen Valley in the north also leads to Stallersattel and thus into the Antholz /Anterselva Valley and thus qualifies as itinerary for the three Antholz trailheads.
Take the Brenner / Brennero Motorway A22 from Innsbruck (north) or Verona (south). At Brixen / Bressanone turn onto SS49 into Pustertal / Val Pusteria. Depending on your preferred location turn north at Olang / Valdaora or Welsberg / Monguelfo.
Take B161, Felbertauern Road, from Kitzbühel south. After passing Felbertauern Tunnel you reach Matrei, where you can turn into Derfereggental Valley. If you go on, you'll reach Lienz, where you can turn west ino Pustertal Valley.
Take Motorway A2 from Klagenfurt to Villach. There turn onto A10 north which leads you to Spittal. A little north of Spittal turn west onto B100, which follows the Drau River Valley to Lienz and on into Pustertal Valley. For Derfereggen Valley turn north at Lienz onto B161, which you leave at Huben.
Take motorway A27 from Venezia north to Belluno. At the end of the motorway take SS51 north to Cortina d'Ampezzo an on to Toblach/Dobbiaco. Here you are already in Pustertal Valley. Go west and turn north at Welsberg / Monguelfo or Olang / Valdaora.
No red tape can be found anywhere in the Villgraten Group. If you want to reach Stallersattel from the south you must take into account that the narrow road is operated as a one way road for either direction twice an hour. If you happen to get to the base of the pass at the wrong time you will have to wait half an hour.
When To Climb
Rote Wand is - again like all other major summits of the Villgraten Group - an all year climbing destination. The route from Stallersattel is a popular ski tour in winter and only the summit will be tricky in winter conditions. The hiking season is - like always in the Alps - June through late September with October hikes possible depending on the weather.
For accommodation follow one of the following links:
- Hochpustertal Lodging
- Antholz / Anterselva Lodging
- Innichen / San Candido Lodging
- Toblach / Dobbiaco Lodging
- Antholz / Anterselva Camping
See the respective pages of Tyrol (Austria) and South Tyrol / Alto Adige (Italy)
In winter the avalanche danger rating often is lower than in the northern or central parts of Tyrol. On the other hand it is possible that until January there is not enough snow for tour skiing.
Maps 'n' Books
I always use the maps by Kompass Verlag. They are scaled 1:50000 and show all the necessary informations.
- Taufers - Ahrntal / Tures - Valle Aurina
Kompass Map WK82
Kompass Map WK45
An excellent hiking book is (in German)
- Pustertal, Tauferer Tal Ahrntal
Kompass Wanderbuch 955