Hinterer Seelenkogel / Cima delle Anime

Hinterer Seelenkogel / Cima delle Anime

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 46.80180°N / 11.04470°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 11391 ft / 3472 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Note: On both sides of the border, the language is (a dialect of) German. Many objects on the border or on the Italian side have been given an Italian name, but often these names are not used by the local population. Where I give two names, the German one is the first.

View from west by north-west. On the left is the Eiskögele (3228m), blocking the view to the Vorderer Seelenkogel (3290m). Just left of center is the Mittlerer Seelenkogel (3426m). Immediately next to it are two peaks, the second of which is the Hinterer Seelenkogel.


The south-eastern part of the Ötztal Alps is home to the three Seelenkogels. Extending roughly from north-west to south-east these are the Vorderer, Mittlerer and Hinterer Seelenkogel, meaning front, middle and back, respectively. The first two lie in Austria, the Hinterer lies on the border with Italy.

The origin of the name

There are a few small tarns below the glaciers on the western slopes of the Seelenkogel. In the local Ötztalerischer dialect, See'len means small lakes - the corresponding German word is Seelein. Kogel means summit or peak, and so, translated literally, the name means peak of the small lakes. Sometimes it is written as See'lenkogel.


The Hinterer Seelenkogel

Looking down 2 kmLooking down the east ridge at Pfelders from the summit.
ScheiberkogelThe Scheiberkogel from the Zwickauerhütte.
The Hinterer Seelenkogel is a high peak on the main ridge of the Alps. The route from Italy is popular, but not crowded.

The peak towers over the small Italian village of Pfelders / Plan in the Pfelderer valley stretching south and east of the mountain and can be climbed in one long day. On a straight line, the summit lies 3.5 km from the village - but at the same time it's 1850m higher!

North-east and north lies the small Planferner (ferner = glacier). To the west lies the larger Seelenferner, which extends north to the Vorderer Seelenkogel.
The Hinterer SeelenkogelThe Hinterer Seelenkogel, seen from the Planferner near the Rotmoosjoch
Rotmooskogel (3338m)The Rootmooskogel from the Zwickauerhütte

Three ridges

Three ridges lead to the summit. The main ridge of the Alps follows the north-west and south-west ridges, changing direction on the summit. The normal route ascends over the east ridge, which lies completely in Italy.
1 - The north-west ridge
From the Hinterer Seelenkogel, the Austrian-Italian border follows the north-west ridge to a small unnamed peak (3424m) about half way to the Mittlerer Seelenkogel. From there, it turns sharply east to the Rotmooskogel (3338m) (46.808, 11.049), Rotmoosjoch (3055m), Scheiberkogel (3135m) (46.808, 11.057) and beyond. Eventually, the ridge (and the border) drops down to the Timmelsjoch (2478m), a high mountain pass with a surfaced road.
2 - The south-west ridge
In the other direction, the border follows the main ridge of the Alps to the south-west to the Rotegg (3341m) (46.794, 11.038). The next higher peak on the main ridge is the Südliche Hochwilde (3482m), with its fine exposed ridge to its northern twin summmit, the Nördliche Hochwilde (3461m), both just over 4 km away. The lowest point between Rotegg and Hochwilde is the Langtaler Joch (3035m), giving the Hinterer Seelenkogel a prominence of 437m.
The Hochwilde ridgeView along the main ridge of the alps to the Hochwilde, from the summit of the Hinterer Seelenkogel.

3 - The east ridge
A steep rocky ridge extends directly east of the summit. Less than 1 km east, the ridge flattens out and that is the location of the Zwickauerhütte / Rifugio Plan (2980m) (46.802, 11.054).

Getting There


From the north

About 50km west of Innsbruck lies the small village of Ötz, the gateway to the Ötztal valley. Obergurgl lies at the end of the Gurgler valley, which in turn is at the southernmost end of the Ötztal valley. Just before Obergurgl, the main road turns sharply left and ascends over a series of turns to the Timmelsjoch, a high mountain pass to Italy. The nearest major city over the border in Italy is Meran / Merano.

From the south

Coming from Italy, go from over the Timmelsjoch and take a left to Obergurgl at the next junction, where the main road turns sharply to the right. When the pass is closed, the much longer alternative is to take the Brenner highway to Innsbruck, and come from the north.

Pfelders / Plan

From the south

Pfelders / Plan lies in the Pfelderer valley. This is a side valley of the larger Passeier valley. From Italy, head for the Timmelsjoch, which lies at the end of the Passeier valley, but before crossing the pass, go left to Pfelders / Plan in the village of Moos in Passeier.

From the north

Coming from the north, there are two options. Either enter Italy on the Brenner highway and then at Sterzing, just over the border, go west to the Timmelsjoch. Alternatively, take the scenic route down the Ötztal and over the Timmelsjoch and, after crossing the pass, go right to Pfelders / Plan in the village of Moos in Passeier.

The normal route

The east ridge

The reason for the popularity of this peak is that the normal route does not cross any glaciers. From the Zwickauerhütte (2980m) (46.802, 11.055), the route ascends the east ridge for about 1.5-2 hours of hiking and scrambling (UIAA I). There are cairns, painted markers and, for a short stretch, a steel cable. In good conditions and visibility, you don't really need any of that.

Roped up On Steel Scrambling Last pitch

The approach to the Zwickauerhütte

From Italy

Hiking from Pfelds to the Zwickauerhütte takes about 4 hours on a good trail (I haven't done this myself).

From Austria

A much quieter alternative is to start in Obergurgl, Austria. Take the cable car (or hike) to the Hohe Mut (2630m). From there, follow a marked trail along the broad ridge to the SE, leading to the Rotmoosferner (ferner means glacier). Day hikers regularly walk up to the glacier, but not on it, and usually there is no trail anymore. Once on the glacier, aim south for the Rotmoosjoch (3055m) (46.808, 11.055). Watch out for crevasses! In bad weather, good route finding skills (or a GPS) are important, or you might find yourself at a different pass altogether. From Hohe Mut to the Zwickauerhütte takes about 3 hours.

The Rotmoosjoch, on the
Austrian-Italian border
East ridge of the
Rotmooskogel from
the Rootmoosjoch
Scheiberkogel from
the Rootmoosjoch
Crossing the
Approaching the

Red Tape



Dark clouds over the Zwickauer HütteDark clouds over the Zwickauerhütte - the east ridge of the Hinterer Seelenkogel starts on the right
Zwickauerhütte / Rifugio PlanZwickauerhütte
The Zwickauerhütte (2980m) is situated right next to the mountain, where the east ridge flattens out a bit.

In winter, Obergurgl is a popular ski resort, Pfelders a smaller one. As a result, there are lots of accomodation options and as there are much fewer people in summer, it's easy to find a place to stay.

Wild camping is not allowed.


Coming from Italy: sturdy hiking shoes, suitable for a bit of scrambling. If you want to rope up for the scramble: rope and harness.
Coming from Austria: full glacier gear.


Coming from Austria, by far the best map is the 1:25.000 Alpenvereinskarte Ötztaler Alpen Gurgl.
Hiking from Italy, the 1:50.000 map Freytag & Berndt WK S8 Passeiertal * Timmelsjoch * Jaufenpass / Val Passíria * Passo del Rombo * Passo Del Giovo is quite sufficient.

External Links


Personal thoughts on the Italian name

Seele is German for soul, and the Italian name Cima delle Anime literally means Peak of the souls. However, as stated above, the name Seelenkogel isn't derived from Seele at all, and that makes me believe that the incorrect translation has been originally coined by someone unfamiliar with the local dialect.

Until 1918, this region of Italy was part of Austria. At the end of the first world war, it became part of Italy, but, naturally, the people living there didn't suddenly start speaking Italian. For a long time however, the German language wasn't officially recognized by the Italian authorities.

My hypothesis is that during this period, an Italian in charge of translating German names, but not really familiar with the area, came up with Cima delle Anime. Perhaps someone in Rome? Maybe a historian can look into this ...



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