The Nördliche Sexegertenspitze is a 3348 meters high mountain in the Pitztal region of the Ötztal Alps, Austria. The small north face provides (depending on conditions!) an excellent introduction to firn and/or ice climbing. From Bergschrund to summit is approximately 150 meters of climbing with a steepness varying between 45 en 50 degrees. Rockfall dangers are minimal and in optimal conditions crossing the Bergschrund will prove the biggest obstacle. Care should be taken however because the map does indicate one or two crevasses in the route itself.
Later in the spring season or in summer the north face is frequently largely blank ice and in this condition the short length of the route makes it an excellent venue for practicing or polishing up ice climbing skills.
The small summit provides a very nice panorama of the Ötztal Alps, especially of the Hintere Brochkogel and the Wildspitze, Austria's second highest mountain.
The path towards the Sexegertenspitze
The Nördliche Sexegertenspitze is best approached from the Taschachhaus hut. To reach this hut it is best to park the car in Mittelberg, the last settlement in the Pitztal. There is sufficient parking space near the cleary recognizable guest houses right at the end of the road. Once parked, follow the trail which initially leads past a rocky outcrop with a large flag on it. The trail continues on into a wooded area and tucked away between the trees will be the first signpost telling you you're on the right way to the Taschachhaus.
Keep following the trail through some meadows and upwards along a broad gravel road which runs along a stream. This stream is crossed when you reach a cablecar building which can be used to transport bags to the hut when it is in operation, should you be so inclined!
Crossing the stream the path becomes steeper and somewhat less defined, finally reaching the large Taschachhaus hut at 2432 meters. Approach time is roughly 2.5 to 3 hours.
From the Taschachhaus follow the trail which leads you in a south-west direction, keeping on the east side of the little stream. The path is well marked with stonemen. Keep to the rocky sections and you won't have to rope up until you reach the end of the trail which peters out on the south-western corner of the Pitztaler Urkund. This is easily recognized. From this point on it's glacier travel so rope up pay attention as there are a lot of crevasses to cross.
There are several options how to cross the glacier. I will not go into detail here as the 'best' option is dependent on the conditions you encounter. The large number of crevasses does however demand competency in glaciertravel ropework and rescue techniques.
Reaching the foot of the Sexegertenspitze the route to the top is obvious; cross the Bergschrund and keep on going till you reach the summit!
To get down head in a north eastern direction, keeping on the southern side of the north-east ridge. At around 3200 meters traverse in an easternly direction to take the gentlest way down and when you hit the crevasses again take some time to decide on the best route through. Return to the point where you tied in for glacier travel and follow the same trail back to the hut.
Getting to the base of the route takes about 2 - 2.5 hours and the same amount of time is required to return to the hut from the summit.
Depending on snow conditions in springtime skis or snowshoes can be very useful. Bring one or the other up to the hut just in case when you are in in doubt. The patron is always a very good source of information on latest conditions so be sure to ask him before you set out!
Just before the Bergschrund, may 2007 The Sexegertenspitze summit
No restrictions known.
Camping, although prohibited, is possible on one of the several grassy meadows you pass through on the approach to the hut or among the moraines which surround the hut. Plenty of spaces to pitch a tent, but try not to camp in sight of the hut.
For those with slightly more financial means at their disposal the hut provides excellent accomodation. In the winter and spring season when the hut is closed the 'Winterraum' is open and it is very spacious, clean and comfortable. Highly recommended. Prices are 7euros per night for members and 10 (?) for non members. There is also plenty of firewood available (3Euros per night) and the kitchen area is well stocked with plates, cutlery, glasses etcetera. There is also a wood stove and the sleeping quarters are fully stocked with blankets so no need to bring a sleeping bag.
Maps and guidebooks
Map: Alpenvereinskarte 30/6: Otztaler Alpen; Wildspitze 1:25000
Guidebook: E. and J. Rabl, Firn und Eisklettern in den Ostalpen
External LinksSite of the Taschachhaus.
Excellent site for checking on the latest conditions.
Another very informative website with lot's of information on climbing in Austria.
Austrian weather website