OverviewRüfikopfbahn cable-car from Lech to the Rüfikopf upon 2350 meters, has a normal route up it's northwest flank with a couple of rope-secured climbing bits which, by experienced mountain walkers, can easily be tackled. On all the other sides of the mountain one has to tackle steep walls (I will still find out about climbing routes). One has a wide view in all directions from the summit; towards the Bregenzerwald, the upper bavarian plain, the Allgäu Alps chain (Biberkopf and Mädelegabel dominating), the entire Lechtal Alps, the Hoher Riffler, the Ötztal Alps, the Valluga, the Verwall group, the Rätikon, the Schesaplana, the Lechquellengebirge and behind it, the Säntis in Switzerland.
Lech, 1445 meters above sea level and mostly known as a winter resort, is a charming village and offers many possibilities also in summer. There are many excellent hotels and very well-kept pensions which are open all year around and offer accommodation at moderate cost, and Lech is surrounded on all sides by beautiful and preserved mountain areas with countless hiking possibilities. The town of Zürs, on the other hand, is exclusively a winter resort. All hotels and restaurants are closed down in summer, so that oftentimes during that time of the year it appears somewhat like a ghost-town. Thus, in summer, take into consideration that there are no accommodation possibilities in Zürs!
Getting ThereNearest airports: Zürich, Munich, Innsbruck.
Here are the three simplest ways of getting to Lech am Arlberg by car:
Coming by car from Zürich: Take the motorway to St. Gallen and continue on the motorway, following the signs to St. Margrethen-Chur, as far as Diepoldsau. Here, turn left and follow the road to Hohenems (Austria). Now take the A14, following the signs to Innsbruck, past Feldkirch until Bludenz. Then follow the E60 (Arlberg-Schnellstrasse) as far as Langen am Arlberg (Langen a. A.). In Langen, turn off and follow the road leading through the village of Stuben up towards the Arlberg pass. 3 km before the top of the Arlberg, there is the turn-off towards Flexenpass-Zürs-Lech. Follow this road to Lech. Distance: 196,8 km, duration: 2h 13min.
Coming by car from Innsbruck: Head for the A12 direction Bregenz and follow it until it ends in Landeck. In Landeck, follow the signs to Bregenz and continue on the road through the Stanzer Tal as far as St. Anton. Then take the road to St. Christoph-Arlbergpass, go over the pass and 3 km down the other side. At crossroads, turn right and follow the road leading over the Flexenpass to Zürs and Lech. Distance: 116,8 km; duration: 1h 32min.
Coming by car from Munich: Follow the E533 towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen, then, in Oberau, just ca. 5 km before reaching Garmisch, turn right, following the signs to Reutte (Austria). Upon arrival in Reutte, stay on the road (no. 198) leading up the entire tyrolean Lechtal valley and in Warth, turn left onto the road to Lech. Distance: 188,7 km; duration: 2h 45min.
Coming by means of public transportation: All fast trains commuting between Zürich (Switzerland) or Bregenz (Austria) and Vienna stop in Langen am Arlberg. In Langen, change to the postal car that commutes regularly between Langen and Lech. Coming from Munich: Take one of the international trains bound for Italy via Innsbruck, alight in Innsbruck and change to one of the fast trains bound for Bregenz or Zürich. Alight in Langen am Arlberg or St. Anton am Arlberg, then take the postal car to Lech.
RoutesNormal route: Start in Lech am Arlberg. Follow the trail and the signs to the Rüfikopf (2350 meters), or save yourself approximately 2 1/4 hours and take the Rüfikopf cable-car from Lech Rüfiplatz to the top. From the Rüfikopf, follow the path that descends about 100 metres to the col separating Rüfikopf and Rüfispitze from each other (2250 meters). To the right, only 30 meters below, lies the Monzabonsee (On my photos I always named it Lake Monzabon). The path now continually follows the grassy ridge leading straight to the foot of the rocky section of the Rüfispitze ascent at approximately 2450 meters. Here, right at the foot, there is a steep climbing section of 10-15 meters heighth secured by a metal rope to be tackled. Once above this, for the largest part, except for two more exposed and a bit tricky, although rope-secured passages, there is a well-marked trail leading up the rubbled flank right up to the top. Steadiness and non-fear of heights is required, though. Duration: From Lech: 4,5-5 hours, from the Rüfikopf: 2 hours.
A possible descent route would be: Back at the col above Monzabonsee, turn left and follow the path leading to Monzabonsee and Alpe Monzabon, from there continue towards the south via Pazieltal - all this is very beautiful! - down to Zürs. From Zürs take the post-bus back to Lech. Duration Rüfispitze-Zürs: approximately 3 1/4 hours.
A beautiful hike around the Rüfispitze (I attached the photos I took along the route in question to this mountain page) is: From the Rüfikopf, descend to the col above Monzabonsee. Then turn left and follow the path leading along the northern flank of the Rüfispitze through a beautiful high valley and rising up to the scree-covered Rauhekopfscharte pass on the east end of the Rüfispitze and 2473 meters high. Here we're on the border between Vorarlberg and Tyrol. A worthwhile ascent from here would be the Wösterspitze (2558 meters, about 1,5 hours from the Rauhekopfscharte and not difficult at all). From the Rauhekopfscharte, follow the path leading past beautiful scenery on the tyrolean side to the Stuttgarter Hütte (sorry that the link is only available in german language), an alpine refuge of the German Alpine Society in which you can eat and also stay overnight. At the Stuttgarter Hütte, turn right, cross back into Vorarlberg and descend in ca. 2 hours to Zürs. The total duration of the route described here lies somewhere between 4,5 and 5 hours.
MapsThe in my opinion best maps to use are: Kompass Wanderkarte no. 33 Arlberg/Verwallgruppe 1:50000 and Kompass Wanderkarte no. 24 Lechtaler Alpen/Hornbachkette 1:50000. There are also the Alpenvereinskarte 25 no. 3/2 (Lechtaler Alpen, Arlberggebiet) and ÖK 50 Blatt 143 (St. Anton am Arlberg).
A useful guide-book for this area (in German, though) would be the AV-Führer Lechtaler Alpen Alpin, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother.