Hochtor is the highest peak in the Gesaeuse group. This is a beautiful limestone mountain group in north-east part of Alps. Actually it is a valley, where river Enns runs through a high alpine group referred also as Ennstal Alps. Gesaeuse is also a natural park and the whole area certainly deserves to be protected.
In Gesaeuse most of the highest summits are wild, sharp peaks with steep up to 1000 meters high walls. It is a perfect climbing area, where many good and important climbs were done in the past and of course it is also a hiking area. Many paths are marked, and it is also nice, that even though, some climbs are only marked, but not spoiled with artificial means, such as pegs, steel ropes etc.
Hochtor is the highest peak in a long mountain chain, going from the Grosser Oedstein (2335m) on south-west over Festkogel (2269m), Hochtor (2369m), Rosskuppe, 2152m (2152m) to Planspitze (2111m) on north-east. This chain has on its north-west side a great, almost vertical wall, falling down in Haindlkar valley and on slopes towards the main Gesaeuse valley. Driving alog the Enns river from Admont this scenery is a true landmark of Gesaeuse. Towards south-east this group sends also steep, rocky walls, which are not so high and compact.
Hochtor itself is sending a long ridge towards north-east to Planspitze, another ridge towards south-west to Festkogel and two more short ridges towards east and south-east. Over the north-east ridge and the south-east ridge marked approaches go.
Being the highest in its group Hochtor offers also a great panorama.
With his first ascents on summits and by publishing his prototype of a modern guidebook, Gesäuse mountains were discovered to the world by Wiener mountaineer Heinrich Heß. In 1877 he also first ascended Hochtor.
The valley of river Enns can be reached by the Pyhrn highway (Linz-Graz) if you exit in Liezen and drive by the river Enns eastwards to Admont (where the famous Benediktine Abbey is) and further on. All starting poits in this valley (in the canyon) are low (on the altitude of about 600m) as no road goes into the park. But there is one exception. At the railroad station Johnsbach a side road deters towards south and leads around the Hochtor group in the Johnsbach valley. But also this road ends on the altitude of 851m, at the Koelblwirt inn, where a popular south approach starts.
Through the Enns valley a railroad runs and Admont and Hieflau are also connected by bus.
AV-Karte 1:25000, No. 16 - Ennstaler Alpen / Gesaeuse.
You can see a detailed map (1:50000) on-line on:
1. From Hesshuette on the eastern side of the mountain over the south-east ridge.
2. From Hesshuette to Peternscharte and by the north-east ridge to the top.
3. From Haindlkarhuette to Peternscharte and by the north-east ridgeto the top.
4. From Koelblwirt in Johnsbach over the south face (Schneeloch).
The ascent from Haindlkar over the NE ridge is one of the most beautiful easy climbs - a long, constant II. grade climb - still below the limit where you would need to be belayed.
For the Hochtor ascent there are three mountain huts, which can help you cut the altitude difference to the summit:
1. Hesshuette, 1699m. Opened from mid/end May to mid/end October, 150 beds, tel.: 0043/663/039888.
2. Haindlkarhuette, 1121m. Opened from mid May to mid October, tel.: 0043/3611/22115.
3. Koelblwirt Inn, 851m. Tel.: 0043/3611/216.