The Fineilspitze north face is an easy snow/ice climb, about 200 metres in length near the Italian border in Tirol, Austria.
The mountain can be reached from either the Similaun hut or the Martin Busch hut and the whole trip takes most of a day. Very nice introduction to this kind of snow/ice climbing!
Slogging up to the Hauslabjoch
The north face can be reached from two huts; the Similaun hut and the Martin Busch hut. The Similaun hut is the closer of the two but takes longer to reach from Vent, the nearest village on the Austrian side from where we started.
From Vent it's a 2.5 hour walk to the Martin Busch hut. It's not long before the stunning Similaun
comes into view as you walk towards the hut and gets your adrenaline flowing for the great climbing to come!
From the Martin Busch hut to the foot of the north face is another 2.5 hour walk which can be quite tiring when there is a lot of snow. The route follows a southwesternly direction towards the Niederjochferner
glacier, roughly at which point you change to a westernly direction and cross the Hauslabjoch (3259m). The crossing is not difficult and once on the joch it is not far to the base of the route. The joch is a good place to leave skies (if you're carrying those) as you will be returning to it later.
From the joch walk around the base of the Fineilspitze (look out for crevasses!) until you are below the north face.
The trickiest part of the route is finding a safe place to cross the Bergschrund!
Tjerk enjoying the north face
With the Bergschrund being the trickiest part of the route take some time to find a safe place to cross and get your partner and yourself safely across. We took ropes and some ice gear along with us but unroped after crossing the Bergschrund as the face itself was an easy, though very enjoyable, climb through 50° firn. Not much of a description is needed; straight up is the way to go! When you near the summit ridge do pay attention to the rocks that can be just below the firn as we found it to be a bit harder going with some blanc ice in places. Once on the ridge we were faced with a short ropelength of rock climbing over an exposed and snowed up bit of ridge. Take one or two friends, a couple of rocks and a sling or two to make sure you can climb the last part to the summit safely.
From the summit follow the NE ridge back down towards the joch. The snowy ridge was exposed in places but not difficult and a fun way to end the climb.
Rope; I would take 1 strand of double rope, double it up for the rock pitch.
Ice axes; 1 is sufficient but 2 are recommended.
A couple of ice screws just in case conditions present you with blank ice.
A couple of friends, some rocks and slings.