The mountains of the north-west Tux Alps might not look overly impressive when seen from one of the summits of the neighbouring mountain ranges but faraway views can deceive. While from afar the whole range looks like a series of rounded hills with smooth slopes (always dubbed Pre-Alps) at close range they morph into rocky summits with exposed summit blocks. The shallowness of the slopes ensures an easy hike to the summit ridges but from there on rocky terrain prevails.
Naviser Sonnenspitze is one of these summits. It is located in the Reckner Group of the Tux Alps, close to Naviser Jöchl, a saddle on its western border. The saddle is one of the principal passes within the Tux Alps, leading from the northern Voldertal into the south-western Navistal Valley. As a result most of the route to Sonnenspitze is a well trodden path, leading to Naviser Joch and only the topmost section, which leads through a wide couloir and the Sonnenspitze west ridge is of some minor difficulty. We climbed it in an approaching thunderstorm with very fierce winds and thus my impression of its difficulty might be exaggerated.
Naviser Sonnenspitze is a summit made up from the special kind of schist, which is typical for the area. It has two summits, both crowned with summit crosses, of which the first and lower one is the more impressive one. It is a cone shaped piece of rock, some 50m high, which is slightly overhanging on its western and northern sides. The real or eastern summit is much wider and has a steep ledge or shallow couloir which leads to its top. Views from the mountain must be great (with Karwendel to the north and the Stubai Alps to the south) but we weren’t able to see them. In fact we had to refrain from climbing to the top because of the approaching storm.
The end of the World as witnessed from Naviser Jöchl
Generally the western slopes of the Tux Alps can be called lovely, an area with smooth slopes and lots of meadows and pastures. With a fast approaching thunderstorm, however, you get a glimpse of the end of the world. On the picture above, which was taken a little above Naviser Jöchl, only the central Navis Valley gets a little rest of light.
Though there are two possible trailheads, one at Volders in the north and one at Navis in the south, the latter appears to be the more sensible one because of shorter access routes. Both villages are located in the vicinity of Innsbruck, one in the Inntal Valley, the other in Navistal Valley which is a side valley to Wipptal through which the Brenner motorway runs.
From Innsbruck take B182, Brenner Bundesstraße (not motorway for which a hefty toll is charged) until you reach Matrei. From Italy either take the highway SS12/B182 or the motorway to Matrei. From there (south of the village) a road leads east into Navis Valley and drive to its end in Navis. In the middle of the valley the road splits into two; take the upper (northern) one which leads to the upper parking lot. The lower parking lot lies deep in the valley and you have to walk a slight detour to get to the route to Naviser Jöchl (in addition to the added elevation).
About 50 square kilometres of the Tux Alps have been set aside for a military training area, the “Truppenübungsplatz Wattener Lizum”. The northern parts of the Reckner and Hirzer Groups belong to that training area and Naviser Sonnenspitze is also part of it, though barely. While in general the whole range is open for hiking and trekking, during military manoeuvres it gets closed.
Signs are posted along all trails which lead into the area, requesting you to make sure that the region is open. Unfortunately I have not been successful in obtaining phone numbers or addresses. Therefore I guess it is best to inquire in the villages before you set out for the climb (we didn’t though).
All the resorts of lower Wipptal are good bases for an exploration of the Tux Alps. Innsbruck itself, of course, is also of interest.
In addition to the weather information on the sites you find under accommodation you can look up this general site:
Maps & Books
- Digital Maps
- Regular Maps
- Innsbruck / Brenner
Kompass Map WK 36
- Stubai - Wipptal