Because of pronounciation I shall write here the name of this mountain as it is written in German. Otherwise the name is Slovenian (Košuta), and means a hind.
Some 120 km longe range of Karawanks mountains (karavanke / Karawanken) has quite a constant altitude of 2000 meters. Although there are no such big walls we are used to see in Julian Alps, in many parts of Karawanks mountains the feeling is also high alpine. One of its highlights is some 12 km long range of Košuta. Košuta is not one mountain. But its heigth is so constant that it can be best described in one chunk. At least six summits of this range, stretching in the west-east direction, exceed the altitude of 2000 meters and the lowest part of the ridge has still 1869 m.
Just for convenience, the range can be divided on the western and eastern part. The two are separated by Škrbina, the already mentioned notch in the middle, 1869 m. As in the other mountains of Karawanks, also in Košuta there is a big difference between the northern and southern slopes.
The southern slopes are grassy, intermitted with rocks, crags and towers. They are partly quite steep, partly not very steep. Along the whole range above the timber line there is a sunny terrace with many beautiful alpine meadows. Herds of cattle and horses are still numerous there.
The northern slopes are very steep, along the whole range rocky, in many places there are almost vertical walls, appropriate also for climbing.
It is hard to decide, but probably the most beautiful view on Košuta is from the north, from Austrian forehills of Karawanks. Košuta offers best possibilities for hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, tour skiing and also climbing, let alone other sports, which can also take place in mountains. Like the whole Karawanks range, it offers also nice panoramas. If I should be in a situation to recommend only one tour, it would probably be traversing the whole range in two clear autumn days.
Explore the map below and its many details (altitudes, routes difficulties, names etc.). Sometimes clicking on a feature gives you more information.
As the other mountains of Karawanks southern chain, also Košuta is built in its upper part of Late Triassic layered limestone, called Dachstein limestone. Below it, and seen especially on the northern side, are more friable Middle Triassic limestones and dolomites (Schlern Dolomite). These older limestones and dolomites are forming also the hills and crags on the southern side, just above Tržiška Bistrica river, and also the ridge, which is continuing from Tolsta Košuta towards the E-NE, on Šajda road pass. Also the eastern face of Tolsta Košuta, the part called Meli, is made of extremely crumbly Schlern Dolomite. Finally, there's the famous southern terrace, stretching on the altitude of some 1400 m. The base of it is formed of much older, paleozoic (Permian) slate and sandstones, which explains gentle, grassy plateau with enough water sources for pastures.
Kosutica is a nice, self-standing peak, which is standing north of the main ridge, paralelly to Veliki vrh. Between the two summits there is Hajnževo sedlo (saddle), which is easilly reachable from both, Slovenian and Austrian side. The summit is popular in dry seasons, in times of tour skiing usually only Hajnževo sedlo is reached, doing the summit with skis is a steep, demanding tour.
Veliki vrh is the highest major mountain in Košuta from the west. It is nicely seen from the south portal of Ljubelj tunnel. Towards the north it is steep and rocky, while towards the south grassy slopes are just not too steep, so they offer one of the best ski tours in Karawanks.
Next towards the east stands a non-important Kofce gora, 1907 m. It is just an elevation in the ridge, but as a home-summit of the Kofce hut it is often ascended. Also in winter skiing is possible from its summit.
Routes overview - Veliki vrh:
Routes overview: Kofce gora:
Kladivo / Hajnžturm is a strong mountain with a nice north face, hosting some harder climbs. Over the summit the marked ridge path goes, so it is often ascended when traversing the whole ridge. The summit can be recognised by a distinct rocky tower, rising from the northern slopes.
Tegoška gora is the next high elevation east of Škrbina saddle. It's a typical Košuta mountain, rocky towards the north, grassy towards the south. It offers a nice ski tour down to Pungrat alpine meadow.
Going from the west, after Tegoška gora, the ridge goes over a few almost equally high elevations, before culminating on the highest point, Košutnikov Turn. The first elevation is Užnik, 2079 m, then the double-summit Macesje / Laerchenberg comes, 2124 m, the last elevation is Ostrv, 2104 m. From the north, the walls below these summits (and the two summits temself) are called Breitwand and Mittelwand. Macesje is a double-headed ridge mountain, quite steep and rocky also on the southern side. Its northern walls (and the wall of Ostrv) host many harder climbs, the ridge path is on many places secured with ropes and is a true ferrata - medium hard and a bit exposed.
Cjajnik / Laerchenturm is a special rocky tower. Standing north of the main Košuta range, it is rocky and wild on all sides and offers no easy ascent. Because just below it the Koschutahaus is standing, it is a very popular climbing polygon.
Košutnikov Turn is the highest summit in Košuta. It can be nicely seen from all sides, but from closer positions on the ridge it appears as a mighty rocky tower. The summit is often ascended from both sides, in the northern face it has some very nice hard climbs.
Tolsta Košuta / Dicke Koschuta is the last high elevation of Košuta, standing on the very east of the long range. Still with a steep rocky face towards the north and with grassy slopes towards the south. Ascent from the south (and by the eastern ridge) is not difficult, as a ski tour very good conditions are required, as the summit slopes are steep.
The common feeling is, that with Tolsta Košuta this long ridge ends on the east. But a closer look shows you, that the main crest indeed lowers much, but continues in the same direction. The mountains which follow are not much important in a mountaineering sense, but to those who strive to explore more remote corners they can still be a nice goal. And the hike from Šajda saddle, where Košuta really ends on the east, over this ridge is a nice half day tour - depending how far you go. The ridge from Tolsta Košuta towards the E-NE is forrested, but the summits are rocky towers, still offering some nice views around.
I came there from Šajda saddle one late afternoon. Reaching below the highest summit, Kališnikovo poldne, I could not find a route on top of those rocks. The marked path is steep and narrow, occasionally exposed, but overall not difficult. But I saw nowhere a sign of an ascent route towards the right. I tried on one place, following a tiny beaten path, but that one ended soon. Having not enough time to explore, I returned very disappointed. So, I hope will be able to describe these summits more in detail some time in the future.
Otherwise the marked path starts gently on Šajda saddle, after some 20 minutes it reaches another saddle, Maležnikovo sedlo, where a nice small church stands. Then it continues by the ridge until below Režovnikovo poldne ('poldne' means 'noon' - these mountains are a sun clock for farms on the north), where the marked path branches and goes by the NW slopes of this hill. Red dots however also lead by its N ridge on top. When the marked path reaches the main ridge again (W of Režovnikovo poldne), there is a crossroads. From the left a marked path arrives up from Francl inn in Korte valley. The continuation goes towards the west. At first by the ridge, but then soon on its steep southern slopes. Below Kališnikovo poldne these are rocky, very picturesque, and because we are now moving already above the valley of Korte, we enjoy nice views towards the south, on Kamnik and Savinja Alps. In several small ups and downs the narrow path crosses the slopes, finally reaching the western ridge of Kališnikovo poldne. There it turns down towards Potok saddle, from which we can either continue towards the west or descend northwards in the valley.
One of main connections between Austria and Slovenia over Karavanke mountains is the road over Ljubelj pass (Loiblpass). This road is the fastest connection between Ljubljana and Klagenfurt.
On the southern side of Ljubelj pass a small town Tržič lies. Here from the main road a side road branches into the valley of Tržiška Bistrica creek. Along this small river a road goes along the whole southern side of Koschuta. On some places from this road side forrest roads go up to the high alpine meadows. Many of them can be done by car and they are of course also very appropriate for mountain biking. Thus we can reach the altitude up to 1300 m. All these roads are free of charge.
On the northern side the towns of Ferlach (Borovlje) and Eisenkappel (Železna Kapla) are also connected by a road, which approaches Koschuta. From this road towards the south many side roads go up along deep creeks, thus reaching high lying farm houses. Because of many side valleys and roads in them, here is an overview map, showing roughly the situation.
You can see a detailed map on: http://www.austrianmap.at/. That's in German, but as of classical maps, you can refer to:
Karavanke, Central part and Grintovci, 1:50000. Planinska zveza Slovenije.
For ski tours refer to:
If you come with bus or car on Ljubelj pass, you will need someone to pick you up next day in the valley of Tržiška Bistrica (below Dolga njiva, preferably). You climb first Košutica and descend to Hajnž saddle, ascend by ferratta Veliki vrh and hike comfortably to Kladivo. The descent to Škrbina is a bit harder. Below, you can sleep in the huts of Pungart alpine meadow (have sleeping bag with you). The second day you ascend Škrbina saddle again and continue by the main ridge over Tegoška gora and Macesje towards the east. This part of ridge is harder and requires some carefulness and easy climbing. After you climb the highest point, Košutnikov turn, you may descend down, but if you wish to continue towards the east, a narrow ridge without a path is awaiting for you. This part is a real climbing route, with some places of UIAA II. degree, predominantly I. degree. From Tolsta Košuta you descend to Dolga Njiva meadow. The traversing can best be done with the support of two cars (one waiting below Dolga njiva, the other one on Ljubelj pass). The route is equally attractive in the opposite direction.
No limitations. The route from Sela (Zell) towards Koschutahaus must be paid.
Koschuta can be climbed in all seasons. For hiking and climbing best months are July to October. For tour skiing best months are January to May (depending on snow). Weather: see here.