Similaun 3599 m is one of the most famous icy peaks of the Alpi Venoste/Ötztal Alps, located on the border between Austria and Italy (Alto Adige). It is a beautiful mountain frequently climbed along the Normal route. In addition the peak caught the attention of the media in 19th September 1991 because of a very singular event. Similaun in fact is located near the place, named Giogo di Tisa 3210 m, where it was found the mummy of "Ötzi", the Iceman.
Similaun is also well-known for its icy North face. Unfortunately the classic North face routes described in this page has now become very difficult to climb. Like different other ice walls in the Alps, theN orth face of Similaun has definitely changed, due to the climatic changes of the last decades. Now it is not easy to find good conditions to climb it, due to the massive melting of the ice cap in the upper part of the wall and the consequent danger of falling rocks. So this climb can only be done maybe in spring after a winter with much snowfalls. I climbed it in the summer of 1998 and already in those days I found bad quality snow and loose rocks.
Mt. Similaun is above all known due to Oetzi the Iceman, who was found on the 3,210 m high Giogo di Tisa saddle in 1991. As the mountain belongs to two national territories, first it was not sure whether Oetzi should be awarded to Italy or Austria. Nowadays, however, the world-famous mummy can be visited at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Bolzano, and on the place of discovery there has been established a giant obelisk.
From the Martin-Busch-Hut: 3 h until the foot of the northface (3250m) over the Marzellglacier, direction: Similaunjoch.
From the Rifugio Similaun
The Northface is quite regularly steep, between 45° and 55° (key passage at the end). It does not have seracs. It is 350 m high. You need 2 1/2 - 4 h for the face. In early summer, there is no objective danger except snowboarders coming down ... Later in the summer, it becomes snowless, and the danger of rockfall rises. This northface is not difficult and therefore suitable for beginners of northface climbing. Nevertheless, the view is beautiful. Normally, you do not need any rope. It is simply a pleasure tour. The route goes through the middle-left part of the northface and directly to the summit. The problems at the end (at the climbing out) are the snow cornices.
Rope, harness, haelmet, 2 ice-axes, crampons.
No fees no permits required
The former maintainer of this page and early SummitPost member Rahel Maria Liu died for hypotermia on 24/25 August 2004 after being caught in a freak snowstorm while attempting to climb the Innominata Spur on the southern (Italian) face of Mont Blanc. Edward Allen, her climbing companion (a British climber known some days early), was saved by an helicopter of the Italian Rescue team. Rahel was a charter member during SP's early days, and her work here remains among the best of SP's collected contributions. Her knowledge and experience has made an impact on the world mountaineering community, and her warmth and friendship will be long remembered among her many friends and fellow members here at SummitPost. She will be greatly missed by us all. She was only 34 years old. Continued maintenance of this page is in her memory.