ApproachSee the main page for the Getting There info. The trailhead for the route is a t Nostra.
- Start altitude: 1038m
- Summit altitude: 2460m
- Prevailing exposition: E, later N
- Type: 4h over forest roads. 1h over paths
- Protection: marked
The usual way to ascend Rauchkofel is from Wolayer See. To get there you can either start in the north at the hamlet of Nostra or from the south from Rifugio Tolazzi near Forni Avoltri. Since I don't know the latter ascent route I'll concentrate on the northern one from Nostra.
From Nostra follow the forest road (marked 6, 437) southward into Wolayer Tal. You can drive by car but at Hubertuskapelle (1134m) you need to park and leave it there. The trail turns to the south-west, shortly before it reaches Untere (Lower) Wolayer Alm. The going gets steeper but you still are on the road. In its steepest section the road reaches a waterfall which is fed by Wolayer Bach coming from the lake which is your first destination. A few serpentines take you to an intersection, where the "Karnischer Höhenweg" trekking trail meets coming from the west. You reach Obere (Upper) Wolayer Alm and after climbing a step at the end of the valley you reach Wolayer See with the hut on its north-eastern shore.
From the lake you can either follow the trekking trail to Valentin Törl (see this route) or take trail no 436 which directly heads for Rauchkofel. Taking this latter path after a few hundred meters you'll reach an intersection. Take the right hand trail if you don't want to end up on Mahderkopf. After some shallow terrain the climbing gets steeper until it reaches a shoulder overlooking the southern slopes of Rauchkofel. Here the route from Valentin Törl meets.
From the shoulder the trail traverses the southern Rauchkofel slopes to finally end in the saddle between the two Rauchkofel summits. The western summit can be reached quickly from the saddle, while for the higher eastern summit you need to cross and climb the summit ridge. This latter part is moderately exposed, especially just below the summit block. You won't find much space on Rauchkofel so take your turn and "rotate" with the other climbers.