The Roter Turm (2702 m) is a mountain that looks very different depending on the side from which you view it. From the north (the Schobergruppe and the valleys of the Drau and the Isel) it is the second from the right in a series of summits with tall, rocky faces, rising up for about 900 meters left of the Rauchkofel. On its south side (viewed from the Karslbaderhütte), its face looks steep and featureless, some 250 meters high; but more like a large butress than a mountain.
On its eastern side, next to the Roter Turm, is the Ellerturm. They are separated by a deep gully which is topped by the Roter turmscharte (2640m). The west side looks to be the most accessible side - but still steep enough to offer serious scrambling or easy rock climbing, depending on your taste. The Normalroute actually is on the east side.
From close by, what looked to be a solid butress from a distance is revealed to be a complicated formation, with deep cracks widening into gaps; interesting from a geological point of view.
Getting ThereGetting to the Lienzer Dolomitenhütte:
from Lienz, follow the road to Tristach, then the Tristacher See and then the Lienzer Dolomitenhütte. This road soon becomes a toll road. There is free parking near the Lienzer Dolomitenhütte.
Alternatively, there is a bus service from Lienz to the Lienzer Dolomitenhütte. More information can be obtained at the tourist office in Lienz.
Getting to the Laserzwandsattel:
from the Lienzer Dolomitenhütte, walk up to the Karlsbader Hütte, following the metalled road and path (signposted). Just before reaching the Karslbader Hütte, a well defined path starts on your left, directly before the road crosses a small stream (in dry conditions just a river bed). It ascends steeply at first but quickly levels off. A bit further you can go left or right ("alpenvereinsführer"/alpine guidebook: respectively R612a and R612), both paths join again higher up the mountain. The left option is the fastest but also the most strenuous.
Under the Roter Turm, the terrain flattens a bit as you reach the Laserzwandsattel. The path forks. Take the right fork ("alpenvereinsführer"/alpine guidebook: R586; the left fork climbs towards the Kleine and Grosse Laserzwand).
After ascending the path for a minutes, it forks. You can keep going up or right. Up leads to the Schmittsattel. The track to the right (roughly east) maintains height just beneath the south face on the Schmittband ("alpenvereinsführer"/alpine guidebook: R509).
If you continue up to the Schmittsattel, the summit can be reached via the Schmittkamin (III-, some bolts, polished in places) or the Nordwestrampe (III+, protection unknown). Silverpfeil (III+, proctection unknown) starts near the fork, on the pillar separating the west and south faces. The track to the right leads to the beginning of the easiest route through the south face, the Südrampe
(V, some bolts), as well as a selection of sport climbing routes (VI- to XI-, bolted) and the official Normalroute (difficulty unknown, but it shouldn´t be harder than III-).
To climb the Roter Turm via the Normalroute, continue the Schmittband past the gully that seperates the Roter Turm and the Ellerturm (roughly east). Beneath the summit of the Ellerturm, a ramp leads up back left through its south face (roughly west). Scramble up this ramp to reach a platform near its end (II). Climb around the corner (awkward, crux) and traverse into the gully, heading for a relatively flat area. From here, climb a deep gully in the east side of the Roter Turm to its highest point (II). From here, climb the short and polished Schneiderkamin which is on your right side (north) to gain the summit (II+).
Descend the same way.
Lienzer Dolomitenhütte - Karlsbader Hütte: 2h30m. Karlsbader Hütte - beginning of the Normalroute: 1h30m. Beginning of the normalroute - Roter Turm: about 1h. Total: 5h.
External Links and LiteratureGerman description of the Schmittkamin on bergsteigen.at
Klettern in den Lienzer Dolomiten
Book Grafik Zloebl Buchdesign und Verlag
Alpenvereinsführer Lienzer Dolomiten
Hubert Peterka, Willi End
Bergverlag Rudolf Rother - München
ISBN: 3 7633 1243 9
Österreichische Karte - Lienz (179 - BMN 3712) 1:25000