Kleine Kolbenspitze during the ascent across Ulfasalm
Cornerstones - when it comes to mountains in exposed positions over deep and profound valleys the area between Meran/ Merano, Sterzing / Vipiteno and Brixen / Bressanone can't be beat. The two Valleys of Eisacktal / Val Isarco and Passeiertal / Val Passira cut through the southern Alps from north to south in a way that they form the natural boundaries between several of the most important mountain ranges of the area. Add some east-to-west running valleys like Pusterttal / Val Pusteria or Vinschgau / Val Venosta and you can imagine that there deluxe lookout peaks all around. As the valleys are very profound, 300m at Meran, 600m at Brixen and 800m at Sterzing, even lesser summits loom above the towns and the villages of the area.
But Kolbenspitze / La Clava is far from being one of the lesser summits. With a summit elevation of 2868m it towers above the Passeiertal Valley by about 2000m. It is the north-eastern cornerstone of the Texel Group / Gruppo di Tessa of the Ötztal Alps
, a group which is separatted from the remainder of its mountain range by another profound valley, Pfelderer Tal, Val di Plan. On a fine day it offers great views to the Sarntal Alps
, the Ötztal main ridge and - most important - into the beautiful Texel Group itself. This group has been formed and sculptured by glaciers, which have retreated long ago leaving the beautiful U-shaped valleys and lake studded high plateaus so typical of mountain ranges carved by glaciers. A great number of hiking trails of all kinds of difficulties cross the group but thanks to its size only few parts of it are crowded.
The trailhead to Kolbenspitze at Ulfas is one of these crowded places. It serves several lesser summits as well as Kolbenspitze itself. Since Kolbenspitze is one of the few high summits of the Texel Group, which can be reached in a day tour, it sees quite a number of ascents. We met 4 four parties on a clouded day in September, an exceptional number for the area and the conditions.
It pays to start early for your quest to climb the summit. The ascent is rather long and around noon the typical afternoon clouds start massing around the top. Thanks to its isolated location these clouds rarely hover around the summit so that you may be able to get some glimpses even with the top in clouds. However, one of the attractions, the view to the Ötztal Alps main ridge across Pfelderer Tal will most certainly be obscured as the main ridge serves as a serious barrier to cloud propagation.
There are two routes to the Kolbenspitze summit, both starting from the same parking lot at Ulfas. The direct route leads across the slopes of lower and upper Ulfasalm to head for the Stoanermandl Saddle, where it combines with the second route which follows the long east ridge across the lower Muthspitze
. This latter route is by far the more beautiful as the southern pside of the ridge drops steeply towards the Passeiertal Valley below. However, I would suggest to use it as ascent route since it definitely takes longer and you want to be on the summit before the clouds.
Kolbenspitze also is a popular ski tour destination in winter. Two routes lead up there from different points in Pfelderer Tal.
Views from the summit
Summit view towards the east (Waltental between Sarntal and Stubai Alps)
Not really far reaching the views through the clouds on Kolbenspitze were somewhat impressive nevertheless.
The western Sarntal Alps seen from Stoanermandl on the way to Kolbenspitze. Hide / Show labels JaufenspitzeHochplattspitzeVerstadlspitzePlattenspitzeHochwartUnterbergSulzspitzeTagewaldhornHochalplspitzeHörtlahner SpitzeJakobspitzeSchafbergAlpler SpitzePfandlspitzeHirzerHönigspitzeVidegger PlattenspitzeKanzel PlattenspitzeVerdinser PlattenspitzeGroßer IfingerLauwandspitze
The trailhead to Kolbenpitze is at Ulfas in upper Passeiertal / Val Passira. The area is remote and apart from the southern itinerary it takes quite a while to reach it.
- From the north
From the Inn Valley (Inntal Autobahn A12) take the road through Ötztal (B186) which leads up to the Timmelsjoch Pass / Passo del Rombo. Cross the border where the road turns into SS44b, which winds down to Moos in Passeier / Moso in Passira. Here follow the signs to Pfelders and at Platt / Plata leave it for Ulfas on a narrow mountain road. Drive through Ulfas to a parking lot above the village.
- From the south
Take the Brenner Motorway A22 to Bozen / Bolzano where you need to turn onto SS38, direction Meran / Merano. In Meran follow the signs to Timmelsjoch and Jaufenpass which lead you onto SS44 north through Passeiertal / Val Passira. At St. Leonhard / San Leonardo turn west onto SS44b to Timmelsjoch / Passo del Rombo, which leads you to Moos. From here follow the instructions above to Ulfas.
- From the east
If you take The Brenner Motorway from Innsbruck, leave it at Sterzing Vipiteno. Take SS44 across Jaufenpass / Passo Giovo to reach St. Leonard / San Leonardo. From there turn onto SS44b to Moos and follow the instructions above to Ulfas.
The whole area of the Texel Group / Gruppo di Tessa is a natural park, with 33.430ha the largest natural park of South Tyrol / Alto Adige. Restrictions apply - like keeping dogs on leash or leaving plants and animals in their habitat.
Summit view towards the Texel Group
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