Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 47.11188°N / 12.41173°E
Additional Information County: Land Salzburg
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Bouldering, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 10508 ft / 3203 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Panoramic View
When Johann Entacher decided to scale Kitzsteinhorn, he could  know little or nothing
about which way cookie is going to crumble in the century and half to follow.
All he could see was the virgin pyramidal peak, towering the surrounding valleys
and because of its shape, looking much higher than it actually is.
Year was 1828.
Mountain tourismus was still in its early stages.
Grossglocner was scaled for a first time quarter of a century ago.

Almost 180 years later, view to "his" mountain would ceartainly catch mr. Entacher by surprise.
As the name does suggest, Kitzsteinhorn is a classic type "horn",
pyramidal peak formed thanks to the tireless activity of the 2 opposite kars,
with long and nicely shaped arete dropping gradually toward the valley of Kaprun,
decorated with emerald green glacier lake at the bottom end of the moraine.
And all that decorated with cables, chairlifts, cablecars, even more cables, and glacier shuttles.

At a present day, Kitzsteinhorn is one of most famous European 3000ers.
Not for mountaineering reasons, though.
It is the largest wintersport hub of the Eastern Alps, a major tourist honeypot
for massive number of skiers and snowboarders from Europe and around the world, year-round.
Still, one can see people in sturdy boots with and without walking poles,
strolling around numerous marked paths, finding the beauty in the detail
and simply paying not too much attention to the ski circus rumbling above their heads. 

Road to glory and the sombre side of fame

Development of mountain tourism industry in Austria was slower in comparison to Switzerland
and never really reached heavyweight infrastructure like the one in the French Alps.
This is because Austrians had to wait for the country re-unification after WWII. And this occured only in 1955.
Since they got it at full steam (early to mid 1960s) Kitzsteinhorn area has been both the flaghship and role model for the rest of Austrian Alps.
At the break of centuries, Kitzsteinhorn-Kaprun seemed to be fully featured 21st century mountain tourism resort.
New modern cablecars from the Kaprun valley, with the highest cablecar pylon in the world (113.6 m tall with a diameter of 2.2 m).
Dedicated cable tv channell "Kitz-Tv" running 24 hours a day. World longest underground funicular railway with 3300m long tunnel.
167 persons boarded the funicular raiway at the Kaprun valley station on morning november 11th, year 2000., knowing they will gain
1535m  altitude difference in only 8 and half minutes. But, they never made it. Fire that broke out in the funicular tunnel killed all but dozen
passengers, making it the worst tragedy in the contemporary moutain tourism history and largest loss of human lives in post WWII Austria.
(Some may remember documentary about the disaster being broadcasted both on Discovery ch. and National Geographic ch. several times)
As single trouble never comes alone, year after the funicular disaster,
northeast foothill of Kitzsteinhorn in Kapruner tal was hit by worst storm for a decades.
If you ever take a drive or hike through the Kapruner tal, smashed trees and acres of flattened woods are still clearly visible.
Authorities decided to leave the woods regenerate the natural way.

On the other hand, funicular train service was discontinued, and the tragedy venue was gradually left out of sight

Getting There

Kitzsteinhorn is located on the northern edge off the Hohe Tauern NP.
Common startpoint is village Kaprun lat/lon 47.16219/12.45283, 9km northeast of Kitzsteinhorn at the low end of the Kaprunertal (Kaprun valley)

Nearest intl airport is the Salzburg airport
By car: From North, direction Munich/Bavaria
drive down the highway for Innsbruck, pass Kufstein, take-off left at Worgl and drive for St. Johann,
at St. Johann turn right for Kitzbuhel and down south for Mittersill. At Mittersill turn left for Bruck and Zell am See.
At Furth,  turn right for Kaprun.
From Northeast, direction Vienna/Salzburg
Wienna-Linz-Salzburg highway, from Salzburg continue south down the A10 highway, at Werfenweng take-off right for
Bischofshofen-St.Johann im Pongau and further via Schwarzach/Lend/Taxenbach till hub at Bruck`s.
Here, turn right for Kaprun.
From South, direction Slovenia
drive for Villach-Spittal-Obervellach and  forward north via Mallnitz (tunnel), Bad Gastein,  Bad Hofgastein till Lend.
At Lend hub, turn left and drive via Taxenbach till Bruck hub. Here, turn left for Kaprun.
If you prefer the Grossglockner highalpine road, then at Obervellach turn left for Lienz, drive via Stall, Lainach till Winklern,
here turn right for Heiligenblut, catch up with Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse and descend  into the Fusch valley (Fuschertal)
Again, at Bruck hub turn left for Kaprun.
From South, direction Italy
easiest way is to catch with autostrada A22  Verona/Trento/Bolzano/Bressanone. After Bressanone take-off right at Schabs
and drive East via Brunico/Dobbiaco/Mittewald/Lienz. At Lienz turn left for Ainet and drive north via Huben, Matrei,
through  Felbertauern tunnel till Mittersill. Here, turn right for Bruck and Zell am See. At Furth, turn right for Kaprun
If you prefer the Grossglockner highalpine road,  at Lienz do not turn left for Ainet, drive up for Dolsach and further till Winklern.
Here, left for Heiligenblut, catch up with Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse and descend  into the Fusch valley (Fuschertal)
Again, at Bruck hub turn left for Kaprun.
By train: Nearest train stations are Bruck-Fusch and Zell am See.
For international connections, German railways search engine is the best choice.
By local transport: For Kaprun,  you can easily catch either the local bus, or shared taxi right infront Zell am See train station.
Local Post Bus nr. 660; departure infront of the Zell am See railway station every day at:
  • 7.23AM
  • 8.23AM
  • 9.23AM
  • 10.23AM
  • 11.23AM
  • 12.23AM
  • 1.23PM
  • 2.23PM
  • 3.23PM
  • 4.23PM
-it takes 17 minutes drive (or 13 stops) to Kaprun central (Kaprun Ortsmitte), convinient take-off  if you want to hike-up via the Maiskogel
-have another 2 stops if you want to take-off near the Kaprun camping site .
- Additional stop takes you to the Maiskogelbahn valley station,
which is is also closest stop for the Kaprun gorge (Sigmund Thun klamm)
- forelast stop is the Kaprun gletcherbahn valley station
-last stop (33 minutes ride from ZaS railway station) is Kesselfall/Alpenhaus. This is private owned hut at the upper corner of the Kaprun valley.
From here you can hike it up to Waserfallboden reservoir,  if you continue, very long hikes will take you
either to the Heinrich-Schwiger-haus or Alpinzentrum Rudolfshutte.
Post bus service in reverse orther: departures from Kesselfall/Alpenhaus from 8.02AM  and then every 60 minutes till 5.02PM


There is no consistent path allowing ascend by foot all the way, from the foot of the mountain to the summit.
Major trails:
Arnoweg  this is Salzburg county round trail, opened in 1998. Kitzsteinhorrn related part goes from the Kaprun village, follow trail nr. 35
beggining opposite of the high school, continuing along the Schaufelbergstrasse till the first bend. From here, straight to the Orthelen farm, than right for Vorderweisstein mountain inn. Here, turn right and over the stone path passing by the top station of the Alm lift. After 200m or so, branch off toward left,
another 150m or so and then catch a narrow path to the right. From here, path is winding through timber woods to the  Maiskogel trackand finally left to the upper station of the Maiskogel cable car. Walking time: 60-75 minutes. From here catch with the
Alexander Einziger weg  marked nr. 5  toward the Glocknerblick mountain inn . Continue uphill over the Trogler Kopfel and Dreiwallner-Hohe and on towards the Schoppbachhohe. Path continues over the ridge to the Stangerrhohe and makes short ascent to the cirque under the Tristkogel and the Lakarschneid.
Continue accross the pastures through the Grubalm cirque toward the Krefelder hut. From here, follow the marked trail for the Alpincenter (30-40 minutes).
From the Alpincenter, take Gipfelbahn to the Gipfelstation. Enter the building, walk up to the terrace, turn left, youll see the path for the summit, in the morning
path is shadowed and icey (light crampons not bad idea) in the afternoons snow softens under the sun (walking poles handy), pass the avalanche protection fence and safety rope, follow the path straight up till the small notch, here catch left with the main ridge, untill (surprisingly) large cross on the summit appears infront of your nose.
Walking times: Kaprun-Maiskogel cable car upper station 60-75 minutes. Maiskogel cable car upper station-Krefelder hut 4 hours, roughly.
Krefelder hut-Alpincenter 30-45 minutes. Gipfelstation-Kitzsteinhorn summit 45 minutes declared, some can do it in 30,  some of us will need an hour.
Variations:  Follow the marked Alexander Einziger path nr. 5 till Drei-Wallner-Hohe, here branch off left following the Grubalmkarweg path 5a ,  descend  in several windings eastbound toward the small mine and further down the alpine moor to Hausalm farm, pass by the Langwied cable car and the top of the reservoir dam and catch marked path nr. 711 for the Krefeder hut. Goin in opposite direction, this is the most convinient way to get by foot from the Krefelder hut down to the Kaprun centre. (or one can fork out money for the cable car instead, of course)
Variation 2: From the Gipfelstation,  take glacier shuttle down to the Schmiedinger glacier, here follow the glacier round trail ("gletscherpfad") till panorama tunnel, from the tunnel one may cath up with the steep ridge and reach the Gipfelstation terrace from the right side, and further on following tho normal route to the summit. This is not the recommended path out of many reasons, one of them is that slope right (looking from beneath) of the terrace has been discovered by snowboarders
and now they are using it for the off-the-pist boarding, which may lead  into lethal colisions.
Loop hiking trails from the Alpincenter:
Panoramaweg Gletscherblick  41a, round from  the Alpincenter to the Glacier moraine andback. Time required: 45 minutes
Naturlehrpfad Gletschersee  41b this goes same as  K1, only it does take you all the way down to the glacier lake and back Time required: just under 2 hours
Naturlehpfad Rettenwand 41c above 2 trails are going east o the Alpicenter. This one goes westbound, toward the geological stone formations at the foot of Rettenwand. This is the major climbing site here, so it may be interesting  to the rock climbers.  Time required: 90 minutes or so
Other important trails:
Hochkammerweg trail nr. 726 this one goes from Krefelder hut via Alpincenter and Glacier lake (Gletschersee) then eastwards to the Kammerscharte depression, from here path is winding on the eastern slope of Kitzsteinhorn, then down to the Furthermoaralm on the western side and above the Wasserfallboden reservoir. From here one may  catch the bus for Mooserboden reservoir (starting point of the trail nr. 734 for Grosser Grieskogel and Hocheiser, or , if you cross 2 dams and continue left, starting point of the 2 hours ascend over trail nr. 718 for Heinrich-Schwaiger-Haus)
or take bus back to the Kaprun valley. This is  more than half day long crossover, not leaving you much time for enything else. Parts of the path are guarded with fixed ropes.Ground often covered with frozen snow inplaces during spring and the early summer. Not to be undertaken in bad weather conditions.
Lakarscharteweg trail nr. 719 another long and time consuming trail, connecting the Krefelder hut and Muhlbachtal valley over the Alpincenter and the Lakarscharte.


Camping: Nearest camping site is in upper part of Kaprun, between the main road and the Kapruner ache creek.
Another one is further down north, at the south end of the Zeller See at Jagereck,
another one at Woferlgut, close to the Bruck-Fusch train stop and Bruck hub,
and there is another one, all the way down on the north end of the Zeller See .
Krefelder hut   lat/lon 47.12448/12.41492 at 2295m/7527f,  owned by the German alpine association.
Open early July-end of September, early December-end of May.
Phone 0043 6547 7780, fax  0043 6547 77804
Access: from the Gletscherbahn Kaprun valley station
- by gletscherbahn  till Alpincenter, then half an hour descend  to the hut, or
- or by following the marked path nr.711 from the Salzburger hutte 40 minutes,  pass the Geisstein and uphill
- or from the Wustlau gasthaus in Kapruner tal by following the marked path nr.711 over the bridge towards the west and up
over the Hinterwalberg to the Ederalm pasture. From here, continue over the Grubbach cirque and the Grubbach catchment area
to the Salzburger hutte and up  for 40 minutes
- or take Maiskogel-Seilbahn from the Kapruner tal. From Maiskogel upper station follow the southbound and uphill Arnoweg path
for 3 hours till the Krefelder hut.
For further options, please see the Paths chapter.
Salzburger hut at 1867m/6124f
Open mid June-end of September
Access: by Gletscherbahn I from the Kaprun valley, take at the first stop, circumvend the small reservoir on your left
and descend to the hut
- or from the Wustlau gasthaus in Kapruner tal by following the marked path nr.711 over the bridge towards the west and up
over the Hinterwalberg to the Ederalm pasture. From here, continue over the Grubbach cirque and the Grubbach catchment area
to the Salzburger hutte
Grossglockner-Kaprun-Zell am See WK122 1:50000  freytag & berndt
Zell am See Kaprun  Walking paths 1:45000  Schubert & Franzke

Panoramic view from Kitz

Small, first-aid English-Deutsch dictionary

A -  H J - S S - W
Abseilen --> Abseil, to Joch -->  high pass Schnee --> Snow
Bergrettung -> Mountain rescue Kamin --> Chimney Seil --> Rope
Biwak --> Bivouac Kar --> Cirque Seilbahn --> Cable car
Eis --> Ice Karabiner --> Karabiner Sessellift --> Chair lift
Eispickel -> Ice axe Kees --> Glacier Spalte --> Crevasse
Erste-Hilfe-Set -> First aid kit Kletterei --> Climbing Spitze --> Mountain top
Fels --> Cliff Klettergurt --> Harness Steig --> Climbing trail
Geröll --> Scree Koge l--> Summit Stein! --> Rock!
Gletscher --> Glacier Kraxeln --> Scrambling Tal --> Valley
Grat --> Arete Lawine --> Avalanche Wald --> Forrest
Gruppe --> Range Nur für geübte experienced climbers only Weg -->  trail
Handschuh --> Glove Platte --> Slab Wanderkarte --> Hiking map
Helm --> Helmet Route --> path Wanderstock --> Hiking poles
Höhe --> Altitude Sattel --> Saddle Wanderweg --> Hiking trail
Hütte --> Hut Scharte --> Notch Wanderpfad --> Steep  hiking trail

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