This route is a fine traverse of Weißseespitze from east to west. You can explore both faces of this mountain: the rock and talus face of the south side and the ice face of the north side.
The route uses some ledges of the Vernaglwände to gain the broad and magnificent Gepatschferner (Ferner = glacier), an arctic experience in the Ötztal Alps. Using the easy west ridge of Weißseespitze you gain Falginjoch and Falgintal for the descent.
Starting point for the traverse is Weißkugelhütte (Rifugio Pala Bianca; 2544 m) in the Langtauferer Valley.
You reach Langtauferer valley from Reschenpass (road Nr. 180 from Landeck / Inntal valley; SS 40 from Meran / Italy; road nr. 27 from Engadin / Switzerland) and Reschensee.
At Graun / Curon follow the signposts into Langtauferer valley until the end of the road at Melag / Melago.
There is a panoramic trail on the south slope of the valley or the trail at the valley ground, both leading to Weißkugelhütte.
Enjoy an overnight stay at Weißkugelhütte, a nice little and very cosy mountain club hut. The lavatory is a shack beneath the hut. There is a very interesting shower in there .... :-) And there is a service lift from the kitchen leading into the dining room, the only one I have ever seen in a mountain club hut !
From Weißkugelhütte follow the "Richterweg" high above Langtauferer glacier using the south slopes of the valley. Richterweg ascends to the rockface of Vernaglwände, the impressive southeast ridge of Weißseespitze and traverses them near the ice cascade of Gepatsch glacier - Langtauferer glacier "junction". This easy scramble with awesome views to this cascade with its crevasses and ice towers leads up to a little glacier basin above the ice cascade.
Follow the glacier to the north to a steep upturn and ascend it. This is the most difficult part of the route due to the mostly icy conditions.
There is a marked alternative route which uses the rockface on the west side of Gepatsch glacier. The route gains the glacier above the mostly icy upturn.
Above it follow the shallow Gepatsch glacier to the northwest until you reach Weißseespitze summit. Doing so you will cross the Italian / Austrian border.
Weißseespitze offers wonderful views all over the Ötztal Alps. Most impressing is the view of Gepatsch glacier, a huge plateau glacier between Weißseespitze and Fluchtkogel. You may see Brandenburger Haus (3272 m) on a rock above the glacier, one of the highest mountain huts of the eastern Alps and starting point of a glacier trail across Gepatsch glacier to Weißseespitze.
For the descent follow the snow and easy rocks of the west ridge (Italian / Austrian border) until you reach Falginjoch. It offers a descent to the glacier ski area of Kaunertal, north of Falginjoch.
Follow the steep scree and talus filled chute down to the south into Falgin valley; there are red marks and sometimes a trail is visible. This part of the route is not very amusing, due to the scree, talus and the steepness of the upper Falgin valley. After reaching the valley ground the trail gets better again. It crosses Falgin creek at about 2580 m height and traverses the west slopes of the valley until it reaches the Langtauferer valley again. There the trail turns to the east and traverses the south slopes of Langtauferer valley until it reaches Weißkugelhütte.
Alternatively you leave the trail where it crosses Falgin creek and follow the Falgin valley until you reach the panoramic trail from Melag to Weißkugelhütte. Do so if you want to descend to Melag directly and don´t need to go back to Weißkugelhütte.
You will need full glacier equipment, crampons, ice axe, rope, carabiner, for this traverse. Gepatsch glacier has many crevasses ...
Maps, Books and Guides
Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 25.000
Blatt Nr. 30/2
Ötztaler Alpen, Weißkugel
Alpenvereinsführer Ötztaler Alpen
Bergverlag Rudolf Rother
Ascend route description in German
Langtauferer Valley Accomodations