OverviewOf the 7 summits of the Stubai range over 3400m, Ruderhofspitze is the most central, the 3rd highest, and probably the most remote. This combined makes it a really great mountain and a noble aim.
From the summit, one has very nice views of the once heavily glaciated region of the High Stubai range, reaching from Habicht (3270m) in the southeast, over Wilder Freiger (3418m), Wilder Pfaff (3458m) and Zuckerhütl (3505m) in the south, to the beautiful pyramid of Schrankogel (3498m) in the west.
There are 2 huts giving access to Ruderhofspitze: Franz-Senn-Hütte (2147m) in the north and Neue Regensburger Hütte (2286m) in the east. Both approaches are basically glacier trips with some scrambling in nice scenery, with the 2 routes from Neue Regensburger Hütte being considerably shorter, at the expense of a much longer hut access, and the route from Franz-Senn-Hütte being the easiest and the most frequented. There are also more or less recommendable routes (including glacier-free) from the south, but there is no hut there - these routes have either to be accessed directly from the valley at about 1750m altitude, or you choose to have a bivy somewhere higher up. The direct south route via the Ruderhofferner is mostly done as a ski tour in spring.
Hint: "Ferner" is one of the austrian words for glacier.
When To ClimbDepending on the route (see below) and conditions almost all the year round.
The huts are open in summer and late spring, Franz-Senn-Hut also in late winter and spring, Neue Regensburger Hütte offers a small winter room when not guarded.
Red Tape, CampingThere are no Red Tape regulations, as in most regions of the Alps.
Camping - understood to be a big tent used for several days at the same place - is generally not permitted. Overnight bivouac - without leaving anything unnatural behind - in a small tent and above, say, 2500m is ok.
Huts and Summit Accesses
- From North - using Franz-Senn Hütte (homepage in German)
The hut - quite gigantic - is open in
- Winter: Mid Febr until beginning of Mai
- Summer: Mid June until beginning of Oct
It is reached by leaving the Stubai valley at Milders to Oberissalm (1745 m, parking lot). There is also a SP-page about this hut.
This ascent to Ruderhofspitze is quite long, taking about 6 hours and more than 1300 m of altitude difference, but it is the easiest and safest ascent. It passes over Alpeiner Ferner, which is reached at about 2750m. 2 serac zones are avoided by an S-shaped track, and except a steep 200m-zone below 3000m the glacier walk is quite decent, leading to the SW-ridge which is reached normally at Obere Hölltalscharte (3247m) and then easily (UIAA I) followed to the top. In winter and spring a shorter access to the ridge from the upper Alpeiner Ferner can be chosen, which crosses a bergschrund and follows fixed ropes through a steep couloir to a ridge point much closer to the summit than Obere Hölltalscharte. However, when the couloir is snow-free this variant is very dangerous and strongly discouraged.
This ascent can also be done as a fine ski tour (ski depot at the point where you leave Alpeiner Ferner).
- From East - using Neue Regensburger Hütte
(Homepage in German and English)
To reach the hut, continue in Stubai valley to a location of a few houses called Falbeson/Neue Regensburger Hütte for starting a 3-4h ascent (1100m altitude difference). You may arrange before for a transportation of your backpacks by the material lift (5 Euros).
The hut is open only in summer (mid June until beginning of Oct).
There are 2 different ascents to Ruderhofspitze from here: via Hochmoosferner and via Grawawandferner, both noticeably shorter than from Franz-Senn-Hütte, but more demanding.
Both ascents start with a 1 hour hike along the picturesque Hochmoos (highmoor) and the following moraine up to a nice lake bordering the moraine (Falbesoner See - Falbeson lake, 2560m), where they divide.
For going over the Hochmoosscharte, one heads straight on over Hochmoosferner (northern arm) to Hochmoosscharte (3231m) and then follows the ridge to the left (Ruderhofspitze NW-ridge) until the summit. From Hochmoosscharte, beware of possibly difficult route finding (no cables) and partly delicate terrain. Both this ridge and the SW-ridge to Hölltalscharte are well seen in this pic, a view which also justifies calling Ruderhofspitze a "Spitze" (meaning sharp peak). Depending on conditions, it is also possible to avoid Hochmoosscharte and use the beautiful 45° snowfield of Ruderhofspitze NE flank for the last 200 m of altitude (luringly visible on the above primary image).
For going over Grawawandferner one turns left (south) at Falbesoner See and makes a steep scree/snow ascent to the saddle "Grawagrubennieder" (2880m). Turning right here, one enters the easy glacier and finally, via the short (100m altitude difference) but steep and narrow couloir well visible in the adjoining image, reaches a sharp snow ridge about 150m below the summit.
Beware - the couloir may be snow-free quite early in the year (locate it here, taken around July 27th, 2006), and then it may become very dangerous or just impossible! In any case, it seems wise to climb the couloir not later than in the morning hours.
- From South - directly from the valley ("Mutterbergalm")
In principle, this is the ideal side for those who are strong enough to make an ascent of 1700m of altitude easily and don't want/need to stay in a hut. However, there are also several pitfalls and limitations.
From this side, there are 2 glacier free scrambling routes and the most direct route over Ruderhofferner.
The direct route follows the line which is also used for ski tours, see this image resp. this here. It has to be noted that rockfall from the rocky barrier between lower Ruderhofferner (actually a snow field) and upper Ruderhofferner, and from the rocks above it, becomes quite early a real danger - early both with respect to daytime and to season. Also the lower part of upper Ruderhofferner tends to become snow-free quite quickly. Therefore, in general, this route cannot be recommended after mid-July, and the barrier should not be crossed later than, say, 9 am. The crossing itself is quite easy in the very right, but if snowfree there is very much loose gravel, and when I made it 2007, July 15th I have profited from doing it with crampons on my feet.
This said, the route is very much a pleasure to go, if conditions are like those shown on the 2 following images (a few days after an unusual period of cold and snowfall in July!).
In the middle of upper Ruderhofferner the Grawawand ascent joins from the right.
One of the glacier free ascents uses the ridge flanking Ruderhof - Ruderhofspitze's south side - on the right (east). It passes P. 3050 on the DAV map (reached via Gamsspitzl or in a fierce gravel combat directly from Ruderhof) and P. 3296, where some easy climbing may be necessary.
The other glacier free ascent passes west of Ruderhof through Hölltal and attains the ridge between Schwarzenbergspitze in the west and Ruderhofspitze in the northeast at Untere Hölltalscharte (3173m), from where the SW ridge is followed to the summit. Note that there is a steep couloir leading up to Untere Hölltalscharte, which is full of loose gravel and strongly exposed to rockfall. So this ascent should only be done in winter (avalanche situation permitting) or spring, or in fall at frozen conditions of the ground.
Actual Mountain ConditionsWebcam on the web site of the nearby Stubai glacier ski resort and on the web site of the Franz-Senn hut.
Getting thereFrom Innsbruck towards Brenner and into the Stubai valley. Hourly bus service from Innsbruck train station.
Starting points for the ascent:
- Falbeson (location with a few houses) - Neue Regensburger Hütte
- For the climbs from the south, continue in Stubai valley to Mutterbergalm, the final destination of the bus and the road.
Alpenvereinskarte (DAV map) 31/1, 1:25 000
Alpenvereinskarte (DAV map) 31/5, 1:50 000
Freytag & Berndt Map WK 241, 1:50 000
Österreichische Karte 147, 1:50 000
Route description of northern ascent with pictures (in German)
- tiris interactive maps online