View over the Venediger group from the Larmkogel's summit
The summit cross on Larmkogel
The Larmkogel, situated on the ridge that separates the two valleys Habachtal and Hollersbachtal in the northern, Salzburgian portion of the Venediger group, the rivers of which flow northwards into the Salzach, is a more “discreet” 3000er. As a peak, it does not have much appearance, being merely more than a 100-meter elevation above the Larmkogelscharte col. And yet it is a very rewarding goal, particularly for hikers and mountain walkers, as apart from a harmless little via ferrata section just below the summit there are no technical difficulties at all - the trails on both sides of the mountain are easy and very well constructed and taken care of - and the great views over the entire Grossvenediger group with it’s still spectacular glaciers are something the Larmkogel is well known for! Apart from the technical ease, there is also the possibility of doing this mountain as a crossing over tour from Habach valley to Hollersbach valley (or vice versa). This makes this peak specially attractive for those who like to do hut-to-hut hikes.
There are two huts, one on each side of the mountain; to the west, high above Habachtal, the Neue Thüringer hut, and to the east, above the very end of the Hollersbach valley, the Neue Fürther hut. Both these huts are guarded during the summer months, meals are served and there are mattress dormitories and even beds.
View down the Hollersbachtal valley
The two valleys of Habach and Hollersbach are very beautiful, but also very long to walk through. If you start in Bramberg, it’s nearly a 4-mile walk through the Habach valley to where the path starts rising towards the Neue Thüringer hut, and if you start in Hollersbach, it’s even 9 miles of walking through the Hollersbach valley. That’s why taxi services have been introduced; from the parking lot at Habachklause, there are shuttle buses to Gasthof Alpenrose in the Habach valley, and from Hollersbach, there are taxis to the bottom of the material lift to the Neue Fürther hut (only upon reservation!).
Nearest airports: Salzburg, Munich.
If you intend to cross the mountain from west to east, you must first go to Wirtshaus Habachklause, which is between the villages of Bramberg and Neukirchen am Grossvenediger.
Coming by car: From Munich Airport, take the motorway and follow the signs to Salzburg. Follow the A8 as far as Rosenheim. Here, switch to the A93 in the direction of Innsbruck. Follow it as far as Kufstein Süd. Here, go on road no. 173 and follow it to St. Johann in Tirol. Turn right, follow road no. 170 to Kitzbühel and keep driving in the same direction past Jochberg and over Pass Thurn to Mittersill. Turn right and follow road no. 165 in the direction of Gerlospass to Bramberg. Once past Bramberg, take the road that turns left towards Habachklause. Leave your car at the parking lot at the entrance to the Habachtal.
Distance between Munich Airport and Wirtshaus Habachklause: 213,4 km (132.6 miles)
Duration: 2 hours and 32 minutes
From Salzburg Airport, follow the motorway A10 in the direction of Klagenfurt as far as Bischofshofen. Here, turn off the motorway and take the B311 to Zell am See. Just before Zell am See, in Schüttdorf, turn left and follow the B168 to Mittersill. From here, as above.
Distance between Salzburg Airport and Wirtshaus Habachklause: 137,6 km (85.5 miles)
Duration: 1 hour and 49 minutes
Coming by means of public transportation: Take either from Munich or Salzburg the fast train to Zell am See. From here, take either the post-bus or the little Pinzgau train (Pinzgauerbahn) to Weyer-Habach, which is just after Bramberg (note that the train only stops on demand – press button). From Weyer-Habach, it’s about a quarter hour’s walk to the Habachklause and the parking lot.
If you intend to cross the mountain from east to west, then the first place to get to is Hollersbach im Pinzgau, the neighboring village of Bramberg in the Salzach valley. From Munich and Salzburg, travel exactly as described above, only that Hollersbach comes right after Mittersill.
On the trail to Neue Thüringer hut high above the Habachtal valley
Larmkogelscharte col, with Grossvenediger in the background
The best and most rewarding way to do Larmkogel, as mentioned above, is as a passage from Habachtal to Hollersbachtal or vice versa. I will describe the route from west to east, the way I did it.
Start either at Habachklause or take the shuttle-bus to Gasthof Alpenrose in the upper part of the Habachtal valley on 1400 meters and begin the hike there. The broad road continues for about a kilometer until just after the alpage named Moaralm, then it becomes a broad trail which still follows the Habach river for about a mile upstream. Soon comes a crossroads point; from here, there are two possibilities to reach the Neue Thüringer hut on 2240 meters: either stay on what is indicated as the Normalweg, or the normal way, following the river right to the very end of the Habach valley and close to the foot of the Habach glacier, turning left, rising in serpentines until 2250 meters, then turning left again and crossing the wide alpine meadow horizontally for about a kilometer, approaching Neue Thüringer hut from the south. Or, follow the trail that rises immediately in steep serpentines (also very well constructed, with wooden steps, flat stones, wooden bars and occasionally ropes to hold on to) to nearly the height of the Neue Thüringer hut and approach the hut from the north. This route is the shorter one of the two by a whole hour.
From Neue Thüringer hut, trail no. 918 rises first moderately steeply through the alpine grass – one still comes past cows and sheep grazing here – then steeper but completely unproblematic on the very well marked trail through scree and boulders to the Larmkogelscharte col on 2934 meters. Already from here one has a very impressive view to the Grossvenediger and it’s surrounding peaks and glaciers! At the col, turn left and rise the remaining 88 meters to the summit of Larmkogel (an easy scramble up the broad ridge with one harmless little via ferrata passage just before reaching the summit).
Just before reaching the summit
Go back down to Larmkogelscharte col, turn left and descend the excellently constructed and marked trail first through scree and boulders, then more and more grassy parts, past the beautiful alpine lake named Kratzenbergsee on 2162 meters and up a very short rise to the Neue Fürther hut on 2201 meters. From here, trail no. 916 descends to Hollersbachtal valley. Given you reserve in advance, you can save yourself a nearly 9-kilometer plod down the valley right to Hollersbach by taking the taxi shuttle from the bottom of the material lift for the Fürther hut down the broad dirt road. The walk as far as Wirtshaus Edelweiss (1219m) in the middle of the valley is beautiful, though!
I myself went up to Neue Thüringer hut in the afternoon, spent the night there, went up Larmkogel starting at seven in the morning and was down in the Hollersbachtal valley at the bottom of the material lift by half past one in the afternoon. If one starts early in the morning from the Gasthof Alpenrose in the Habachtal valley, it is absolutely no problem to go right to the Larmkogel’s summit and down the Neue Fürther hut in one day – the pure walking time would be about six and a half hours.
Gasthof Alpenrose-Neue Thüringer hut: 6 respectively 7 kilometers (3.7 respectively 4.4 miles), depending which one of the two ways you chose to go; the difference in height is 840 meters (2756 feet). Duration: between 2.5 and 3 hours.
Neue Thüringer hut-Larmkogel: between 2 and 3 kilometers (between 1.2 and 1.9 miles); the rise is 782 meters (2566 feet). Duration: ca. 2.5 hours.
Neue Fürther hut-Larmkogel: about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles); the height difference (calculating from the shore of the Kratzenbergsee lake on 2162 meters) is 860 meters (2822 feet). Duration: ca. 3 hours.
Wirtshaus Edelweiss-Neue Fürther hut: about 7 kilometers (about 4.3 miles); the height difference is 982 meters (3222 feet). Duration: ca. 4 hours.
Apart from good mountain shoes and good wind and rain protection, no extra gear is needed.
Neue Thüringer hut: Open from beginning of June to beginning of October. Warden: Gertraud Aberger (for overnight stay requests, call at the lodge phone number +43 664 427 32 14)
80 places; 30 room beds, 50 mattresses.
Neue Thüringer hut
Neue Fürther hut: Open from middle of June until beginning of October. Wardens: Hans and Gabi Scheuerer
Telephone numbers: Hut: +43 664 8606 787 and +43 720 345870 (both from July to October). Warden: +43 664 200 24 01 and +43 664 433 16 48.
82 places; 34 beds, 48 mattresses.
Neue Fürther hut
Taxi services up Habachtal valley and Hollersbachtal valley
For the Habachtal valley: Bus enterprise Innerhofer, Walter Innerhofer, Sportstrasse 226, A-5733 Bramberg, Tel. +43 6566 7451, mobile +43 664 342 06 09, fax +43 6566 7451-4, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, website www. Innerhofer-busreisen.at
From Bramberg/Parkplatz Habachtal parking lot to the Enzianhütte or further to Alpengasthof Alpenrose. Per person one way: € 7.50, return ticket € 13.-; for children one way € 5.-, return ticket € 8.-.
From May to June daily departure from Parkplatz Habachtal at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. From July to September daily departure from Parkplatz Habachtal at 7:45 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Return rides from the Alpengasthof Alpenrose to Parkplatz Habachtal: From May to September daily at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Pre-booking by telephone is always advisable.
For the Hollersbachtal valley: Fürther Hütten Taxi. Only people who intend to go up to Neue Fürther hut can use this service. Price per person and shuttle from the parking lot at the valley entrance to the material lift at the very end of the valley: € 39.- (when it’s four people and more requiring a transport, the fee is reduced to € 11.- a person)
Preliminary reservation per telephone (+43 6562 8218) is compulsory! The times of departure are upon arrangement per telephone.
From June 4th to October 3rd there is a fixed departure time for a shuttle service from the parking lot at the valley entrance to Senningerbräualm (close to Wirtshaus Edelweiss somewhat more than halfway up the valley: at 9 a.m. departure from the parking lot; at 5 p.m. return trip from Senningerbräualm.
The best maps to use are: Kompass Blatt 38 “Venedigergruppe / Oberpinzgau”, 1:50.000. Or AV map no. 36; freytag & berndt Nr. 123; Österreichische Karte Nr. 152.
A couple of words about the Habachtal valley
Typical Habachtal emerald on matrix
The Venediger group has a long history of great prosperity in mineral and precious metal excavation. To this day, remarkable findings of giant quartz crystals, deep green titanites, apatite, pyrrhotine, perikline, amethysts, epidotes, rose fluorites and many other precious stones are made on the high slopes of the long valleys that carve their way southwards from the Salzach valley into the Venediger massif. The Habachtal stands out in particular in this aspect though, as it is the only place in the Alps where emeralds have been found – and still are found - in substantial quantity and quality. The famous scree-covered gully named Leckbachrinne in the very middle of the valley, high up above the Gasthof Alpenrose, has produced for centuries emeralds of the finest quality. The trade of these was widespread – it has been proven scientifically, for instance, that the emeralds on the crown of the kings of France originate from the Habachtal. To this day, people go hunting for emeralds in the scree and also in the river in the Habachtal, although the probability of finding a really good one is more or less comparable to winning the jackpot in the national lottery, and the actual emerald mine is now licensed only to a couple of professional mineral hunters.
Every year, in March, the finest mineral findings of the past year in the Pinzgau region are displayed at the Mineralieninfo in Bramberg - and one still sees emeralds on matrix being shown, year after year...