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January 1st, 2005 - Webcam link inserted.
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Reisskofel above the valley of Gail/Zilja
Till now none of the summits of Gailtaler Alps have been posted on SummitPost. Yet, this group, belonging to the South Limestone Alps, is worth visiting. And very much so! Its western part is a fascinating subgroup of Lienzer Dolomites. More towards east a single mountain crest is formed, where Reisskofel is the most outstanding summit. And again towards east more lower summits are arranged in some parallel crests, finally finishing above Villach town with the broad Dobratsch.
Reisskofel is unique because of its position. Surrounded by much lower mountains on east and west, being built of steep rocky walls it's a distinctive figure, despite it's relative low altitude. But also the altitude itself is considerable - the mountain still rises more than 1700 meters above the Gail (we, Slovene people call it Zila) river and the same 1700 meters above the Drau (Drava) river.
The mountain itself is actually a long ridge, stretching from Jaukensattel, 1615m, on western side, to its tail on eastern side, sinking in woods around Kreuzberg pass, 1074m. Besides the highest point in this ridge there are some more relatively unimportant points, like Kleines Reisskofel, 2148m, Dristallkofel, 2094m, Sattelnock, 2033m etc. South of the summit there's a nice and broad alpine pasture, called Jochalm, 1554m. It is opened and sunny, offering great views along and across the Gail valley.
Both northern and southern face are rocky. On the southern face one can find impressive rocks intermitted with grassy slopes, while on the northern face there's almost only rocks, and in one broad ravine also long into summer a small snowfield.
Although marked paths lead to the summit from three sides, ascending Reisskofel is not just an easy hike. But due to many forrest roads, reaching higher slopes of the mountain, the ascents are not long - they can be done in less than 3 hours. Being a highly desirable goal in the mountain neighbourhood, the summit is frequently ascended. The view from the summit is also very rewarding.
The first ascent on Reisskofel was done in 1848 by Johann Festin von Wald (Walden Hans)from Reisach. The famous paul Grohmann ascended it in 1855. The first crossing was done only in 1919 by H. Koban and E. Pichl, later that route was secured for public visit.
Summit View (Pictures)
From east you can reach Drau and Gail valley from Villach. Trailheads from Drau valley can be also reached from west - you drive along the river from Lienz. Coming into Gail valley from west (for example from Italy) is more inconvenient - you must drive from Sillian over Kartitsch saddle and by the winding road down to Gail valley. Gail valley can also be reached from Italy - over the main crest of Carnia Alps. There are two passes: Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce Carnico and Nassfeld Pass / Passo Pramolo.
Northern approaches start in Drau valley in towns: Greifenburg (or Bruggen, across the river) and Feistritz. I have no information how high can you drive by forrest roads (probably to Compton Huette, 1585m). Southern approaches start in Reisach and Grafendorf. From Reisach you can drive up to Jochalm, 1554m.
Reisskofel and (some of) its marked routes.
There are three marked paths/routes:
1. From south. Jochalm road, 1492m - Alpelspitz, 1959m - Toerl (in east ridge), 2019m - summit. From Alpelspitz you can climb also directly up and reach the east ridge very close to the summit.
2. From north. Compton Huette, 1585m (on web: 1650m) - Toerl (in east ridge), 2019m - summit. 3h 15min.
3. From west. Jaukensattel, 1615m - Reisskofelbiwak, 1799m - west ridge ferratta - summit.
Toerl in eastern ridge can also be reached from east. A marked path follows the whole eastern 'tail' of Reisskofel over Kumitsch, 1734m, Sattelnock, 2033m and Dristallkofel, 2094m.
When To Climb
Summer and autumn, when rocks are snow-free. A winter climb could be much harder.
Current weather condition shows this webcam
Climbs on Reisskofel are supported by two nearby huts and one bivouac.
E.T. Compton Huette, 1650m. Opened from end May to end September. 7+13 beds. Tel.: 04712/82036. In valley: 0664/2067672. From Drau valley or from Weissensee - 4 hours walk.
Jochalm. On this nice alpine pasture there's also a hut, but I couldn't find information how it is opened.
Reisskofelbiwak, 1799m. 5 places. Opened in summer and winter. Tel.: 04718/338. From Reisskofelbad (from south) 1h 30min walk.