Großer Beil

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Tirol, Austria, Europe
Hiking, Skiing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
7575 ft / 2309 m
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Großer Beil
Created On: Apr 8, 2012
Last Edited On: Jan 22, 2018


Großer BeilGroßer Beil as seen from Wildschönau

Großer Beil is one of the highest summits of the Alpbach - Wildschönau range within Kitzbüheler Alpen. It is a dominating summit, too, despite of the mostly “tame” appearance of the Kitzbüheler mountains. The west and the east face drops down over 1000 meters of altitude difference to the adjacent valleys.

Großer Beil is one of my favourite Kitzbühel summits. It is a great lookout point for the western part of Kitzbüheler Alpen. The icy peaks and summits of Hohe Tauern to the south and the pale and steep rock faces of the Northern Limestone Alps to the north and west are dominating the scene.
The summit is located in the long ridge, running from Torhelm to the south to Schatzberg in the north, thus dividing Alpbachtal from Wildschönau valley. The neighbouring summits are Gressenstein to the south and Seekopf and Kleiner Beil to the north.

The denomination is strange. Beil normally means axe, hatchet. But this summit has no axe shape. If the summit would be named after an axe, the writing would be Großes Beil. But it is Großer Beil, so there must be another meaning.
I learned from the German Wikipedia entry for Großer Beil that this denomination derives from a dialect word for a sort of hunting trap. Howsoever ......

These two faces of that mountain, a smooth south side and a rugged north face, together with its central position in the long, south - north running ridge and the proximity to two main tributary valleys of Kitzbüheler Alpen makes Großer Beil an interesting undertaking. The mountain is a great and easy hike in summer and autumn, a brilliant ski tour in winter and spring. There are two interesting ridge traverses in which Großer Beil can be included. The western or the eastern ascent routes are both not very crowded. Especially the eastern route leads you in a very remote mountain valley with an old wooden Alm hut and a huge boulder, called the “devils rock”.

The tale is, that Gressensteinalm was the home of a devil. He terrorized the whole Wildschönau valley. So the locals started to build a chapel to ban the devils activities. The devil was so upset that he took a huge boulder from Großer Beil and flung it in the direction of that chapel. In this moment the bell of the chapel started to ring for the first time and the devils charms were broken. The boulder crashed down in that place below Gressensteinalm, where it can be admired today. If you look close you can see the scratches of the devils claws on both sides of the huge stone.

The disillusioning scientific truth is: it is a huge boulder transported by glaciers to its actual location and the scratches were made by glacier movements.

Getting There

Großer BeilGroßer Beil summit

Main trailheads for Großer Beil are:

  • Inneralpbach / Alpbachtal

  • Schönangeralm / Widschönau

  • Erlauer Hütte (Erla Brennhütte) / Langer Grund - Kelchsau (toll road)

  • Märzengrund / Zillertal

  • The general accesses to the valleys are described on the Kitzbüheler Alpen main page.

  • Alpbachtal starts at Brixlegg / Kramsach - Inntal valley. Follow road number L 5 to Inneralpbach parking facilities.

  • For Schönangeralm follow road number L 3 from Wörgl to Niederau and Auffach / Wildschönau; go on until you reach Schönangeralm (forest road open to traffic).
    Alternatively follow road number L 41 from Hopfgarten to Niederau, follow L 3 to Auffach and the forest road to Schönangeralm.

  • To Erlauer Hütte follow L 205 from Hopfgarten to Innerkelchsau. After the toll station go straight on into Langer Grund valley (partly unpaved road). Follow this road until you reach Erlauer Hütte.

  • For Märzengrund trailhead follow road number L 281 from Kaltenberg / Stumm - Zillertal to Gattererberg and Inneröfen.

  • Routes Overview


  • Wildschönau route:
    Follow Kastensteig or the Siedeljoch forest road to Gressensteinalm. Follow the trail to the summit.

  • Erlauer Hütte route:
    Follow the forest road to Großdostalm and the trail to Siedeljoch. Descend some 50 m from Siedeljoch to the Siedeljoch forest road, coming up from Wildschönau. Continue to Gressensteinalm and the Wildschönau route.

  • Alpbachtal route:
    Follow the forest road from Inneralpbach into Alpbacher Ache valley to Faulbaumgartenalm. Ascend to Stadelkehralm and follow the Bettlersteig trail until you can ascend the west slopes of Großer Beil off trail trail to the summit. Alternatively follow the forest road from Faulbaumgartenalm to Filzalm and Otto Leixl Hütte. Ascend Sonnenjoch and do the traverse to Gressenstein and Großer Beil.

  • Märzengrund route:
    Follow the forest roads and trails into Märzengrund and up to Otto Leixl Hütte. Traverse on Bettlersteig until you reach the route from Alpbachtal up to the summit.
    Alternatively ascend Sonnenjoch and traverse to Gressenstein and the summit.

  • Großer BeilView to Lämpersberg, Kleiner Beil
    Großer BeilView to Kreuzjoch-Torhelm range and Großvenediger
    Großer BeilView to Salzachgeier range and Großglockner


  • Sonnenjoch - Gressenstein - Großer Beil; Marked trail, some easy scrambling, great traverse from all trailheads. Sonnenjoch can be reached from Gressensteinalm (trailheads: Schönangeralm and Erlauer Hütte) or from Otto-Leixl-Hütte (trailheads Märzengrund and Alpbachtal).

  • Lämpersberg - Kleiner Beil - Seekopf - Großer Beil; cairned trail, rock scramble, another great traverse; Lämpersberg can be climbed from Inneralpbach or from Schönangeralm.

  • Großer BeilAlpbachtal
    Großer BeilWildschönau valley

    Ski routes

  • Ski route from Wildschönau valley: start at Schönanger Alm; route to Gressensteinalm best via forest road (second best via Kastensteig trail only with good snow conditions), then west and northwest on the southeast slope up to the summit; downhill is the same route – Gressenstein can be summited from Gressensteinalm as an encore.
    Easy ski tour also for beginners.

  • Ski route fom Alpbachtal valley: start at Inneralpbach, follow the Alpbachtaler Ache valley to Faulbaumgartenalm and Filzalm; ascend the west slopes of Großer Beil first to the east and then to the northeast to reach the southwest summit ridge.
    The west slopes of Großer Beil are steep – not as easy as the Wildschönau ski route!!

  • Red Tape & Accommodation

    Großer BeilOld Gressensteinalm

    Red Tape

    There are no restrictions or regulations, as far as I know.


    Kaltenbach / Stumm

    Schönangeralm at the end of Wildschönau valley is a mountain inn with a genuine cheese dairy in summer - don´t miss that!

    Gressensteinalm provides some drinks and food during the Alm season.

    Otto - Leixl - Hütte is a private hut, accessible only for members of the possessing alpine club section.

    Gear & Mountain Conditions

    Großer Beil is an all - season mountain.

    In the hiking season you need full hiking gear and good shoes. The summit routes are easy hikes on mostly marked mountain trails and - near the valleys - forest roads.

    The traverses Sonnenjoch - Großer Beil and Lämpersberg - Großer Beil do need some easy rock scramble and, with low visibility - a knack for orientation.

    Großer BeilSummit signposts for the traverse routes
    Großer BeilSchafsiedel and Großglockner mountains - summit view
    Großer BeilSummit south slope

    The Wildschönau ski route is an easy one. The Alpbachtal ski ascent is steep and more difficult. Both routes are a treat for the advanced ski mountaineer.

    Full ski and avalanche gear is required.

    Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Books

    For a wide list of Kitzbüheler maps and guide books see the Kitzbüheler Alpen main page.


    Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 50.000; Kitzbüheler Alpen West, Nr. 34/1, Deutscher Alpenverein, 2010; - topo map with trails; the same with ski routes.

    Österreichische Karte 1 : 50.000 - UTM (ÖK50), map number 3213, Wörgl

    Großer BeilGroßer Beil as seen from Sonnenjoch
    Großer BeilWildschönau valley

    Guide Books

    Available only antiquarian but an indispensable mountain guide book:
    Georg Bleier / Kurt Kettner: Alpenvereinsführer Kitzbüheler Alpen, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1984

    Horst Höfler, Kurt Kettner: Kitzbüheler Alpen. Mit Skirouten. Führer für Täler, Hütten und Berge, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1976

    R. Weiss: Skitouren Kitzbüheler Alpen mit angrenzendem Salzburger Anteil am Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Gebietsführer, Steiger Verlag Innsbruck, 2000 (there is an antiquarian edition from 1985 with only Kitzbüheler Alpen, too)

    Großer Beil

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