See the main page for reference. As this is the north - south traverse there are two possible trailheads. The one to the north is at the parking lot of Lienzer Dolomiten Hütte, the one to the south is at the Tuffbad Spa resort.
You reach the northern trailhead
from the city of Lienz by going south to Tristach, where the "Dolomitenstrasse" the road into the Lienz Dolomites starts. It is marked by signposts. Follow this road (toll!!) until you reach Lienzer Dolomitenhütte.
The southern trailhead
at Tuffbad can be reached from the road through Lesachtal by turning north from St. Lorenzen (the road to Tuffbad starts slightly to the west of the village). Follow the narrow road to its end.
- Start altitude: 1262m (Tuffbad) / 1616m Lienzer Dolomiten Hütte
- highest point: Kerschbaumer Törl 2285m
- Prevailing exposition: N and S
- Type: 30min over forest roads, 5h over paths
- Protection: marked with cables at the "difficult" spots south of Zochenpass
Effort: 1200m altitude gain, 10km distance
Power: 1 - easy
Psyche: 1 - easy - some of the ledges south of Zochenpass are moderately exposed, also the descent/ascent to Kerschbaumer Törl from/on the eastern side is along steep scree fields
Orientation: 1 - easy
There are two North - South traverses through the Lienz Dolomites. One to the west - across Kofel Pass - is the more important one in terms of accessibility. It is used as a pilgrimage trail to the monastery at Maria Luggau in the south of the Lienz Dolomites. From a mountaineering point of view the traverse across Zochenpass and Kerschbaumer Törl, which is described here, is far more interesting since it touches all the important climbing and hiking destinations. Wherever you want to go in the Lienz Dolomites your access route certainly will run along part of this traverse. Moreover the trail goes through the heart of the Lienz Dolomites and it is of a rare beauty.
The route will be decribed from south to north.
South of Zochenpass
The trail first follows a forest road to the north along the Wildensenderbach Valley. After 1 km a path turns off to the east and crosses to the other side of the creek. Here soon the ascent routes to Soleck and Riebenkofel turn off to the east while our trail again turns north following the valley.
Where the creek bends to the east the trail again crosses to the north and starts to ascend the lower slopes of Simonskopf and Weittalspitze, the two mountains that frame Zochenpass. First the path zigzags through a pine forest which it leaves above 1800m. From here on the view opens towards the Carnic Alps in the south while Grubenspitz, Böses Weibele, Riebenkofel and Soleck can be seen to the south-east.
The path now follows some beautiful ledges, which are exposed only in some short sections. There are fixed cables in these sections so that the path should be safe for everybody. Above the timberline, the trail flattens and reaches Zochenpass. Enjoy the beautiful views towards the Spitzkofel Group, Weittalspitze and both Gamswiesenspitzen. Zochenpass is the trailhead for the "Allmaier Toni Klettersteig", the ferrata to the Weittalspitze summit.
Zochenpass - Kerschbaumer Törl
From Zochenpass to Kerschbaumer Törl the trail traverses the western slopes of Simonskopf. It runs up and down quite a bit so that you'll have an elevation gain/loss of roughly 200m though both passes are at approximately the same elevation. The path first descends into a hollow, where it meets a trail from Kerschbaumer Alm Hütte. Take the right (eastern) branch. It takes you to the base of Simonskopf where it again descends into a valley. This also leads to the same hut, so again go straight on (keeping to the right).
A short scramble follows as you get closer to the Kerschbaumer Törl Pass. The trail crosses to the northern shoulder above the valley and the final steps to the pass are almost flat. Kerschbaumer Törl serves as trailhead for Kleine Gamswiesenspitze (normal route) and the access to Teplitzer Spitze along the Ödkarscharte Pass.
Kerschbaumer Törl - Lienzer Dolomiten Hütte
The view from Kerschbaumer Törl is every bit as enjoyable as the one from Zochenpass. To the west you cann see towards Kreuzkofel and Spitzkofel while to the east you have the perfect view towards the heart of the Lienz Dolomites, the Laserz Group.
The trail now desends steeply into the Laserzbach Valley. It is washed out and covered with scree but still no major obstacle. Once at the bottom you have to cross the creek and now can decide wether you want to follow the forest road or the footpath towards Lienzer Dolomiten Hütte. Another option would be to climb towards Karlsbader Hütte but that is another route, "Drei Törl Weg", described separately. The footpath naturally cuts short the bends of the road so it is the faster route.
Hiking gear is sufficient.