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Tirol, Austria, Europe
Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Skiing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
7520 ft / 2292 m
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Created On: May 6, 2012
Last Edited On: May 6, 2012


SonnenjochGoalkeeper on Sonnenjoch soccer pitch :-)

Ever fancied a game of soccer on a summit?


Then you should put Sonnenjoch on your shortlist.

I do not know many summits which are as broad and flat as a soccer pitch. Sonnenjoch is such a summit. Without the huge summit cross, erected on a massive stone footing you would have a hard time to find the highest point of this summit plateau.

Sonnenjoch is part of the long, south - north running Alpbach - Wildschönau range within Kitzbüheler Alpen. Being the meeting point of the four valleys, Sonnenjoch is separating Wildschönau and Kelchsau / Langer Grund from Alpbachtal and Märzengrund (a tributary valley to Zillertal). Moreover, Sonnenjoch is the center of this range, even though not the highest point.

Being an easy hiking summit in spring, summer and autumn and a rather easy ski tour summit in winter and early spring, Sonnenjoch is one of the better known and therefore more frequently visited summits of the area. Nonetheless you will find your private space on this mountain, given the roomy summit plateau.

Neighbouring summits are Gressenstein and Großer Beil to the north - a nice traverse on a narrow trail - Niederjochkogel and Regenfeldjoch to the south - a more demanding traverse without trails and a bit of nice “Kitzbüheler scrambling” (insiders know what I mean).

Back to soccer on summits. I really do not recommend to try it in reality. One bad aimed cross and you have to look for the ball alternatively

1. at Gressensteinalm (600 m lower)
2. at Erlauer Hütte (1100 m lower)
3. at Gmünderhütte (900 m lower) or
4. at Faulbaumgartenalm (700 m lower).

Getting There

Main trailheads for Sonnenjoch are:

  • Inneralpbach / Alpbachtal

  • Schönangeralm / Widschönau

  • Erlauer Hütte (Erla Brennhütte) or Tiefentalalm / Langer Grund - Kelchsau (toll road)

  • Märzengrund / Zillertal

  • The general accesses are described on the Kitzbüheler Alpen main page.

    SonnenjochWildschönau signposts
    SonnenjochAscent to Gressensteinalm

  • Alpbachtal starts at Brixlegg / Kramsach - Inntal valley. Follow road number L 5 to Inneralpbach parking facilities.

  • For Schönangeralm follow road number L 3 from Wörgl to Niederau and Auffach / Wildschönau; go on until you reach Schönangeralm (forest road open to traffic).
    Alternatively follow road number L 41 from Hopfgarten to Niederau, follow L 3 to Auffach and the forest road to Schönangeralm.

  • To Erlauer Hütte follow road L 205 from Hopfgarten to Innerkelchsau. After the toll station go straight on into Langer Grund valley (partly unpaved road). Follow this road until you reach Erlauer Hütte. If you want to start from Tiefentalalm, follow the valley road from Erlauer Hütte to the parking area of Tiefentalalm (food and lodging).

  • For Märzengrund trailhead follow road number L 281 from Kaltenberg / Stumm - Zillertal to Gattererberg and Inneröfen.
    The ski route starts from Oberberg / Stummerberg. Follow the road from Stumm to Stummerberg until you reach the roads end at Oberberg. The trailhead is at the switchback before Oberberg.

  • Routes Overview


  • Alpbachtal route:
    Follow the forest road from Inneralpbach into Alpbacher Ache valley to Faulbaumgartenalm, Filzalm and Otto-Leixl-Hütte. Ascend the west ridge on a good trail or use the right hand trail up to the south ridge of Sonnenjoch where this trail meets the one coming up from Langer Grund. Alternativela use Bettlersteig trail between Otto- Leixl-Hütte and Stadelkehralm which can be reaches on the forest road from Faulbaumgartenalm. Nice round tripes above Alpbachtal.

  • Wildschönau route:
    Starting at Schönangeralm follow Kastensteig or the Siedeljoch forest road to Gressensteinalm. Take the left hand trail above the Alm hut and again the left hand trail when crossing the creek and follow that trail to the summit. Alternatively go right at the second trail junction and hike up to the Sonnenjoch - Gressenstein connecting ridge. Turn left there and use the Sonnenjoch north ridge trail to reach the summit. By turning right you can bag Gressenstein as well.

  • Erlauer Hütte or Tiefentalalm route:

    1. From Erlauer Hütte follow the forest road and the trail to Siedeljoch. Descend some 50 m from Siedeljoch to the Siedeljoch forest road, coming up from Wildschönau. Continue to Gressensteinalm and the Wildschönau route.

    2. Alternatively follow the Langer Grund road from Erlauer Hütte in southwestern direction. Take the forest road and trail to Neubergalm. Or start at Tiefentalalm and go north on the forest road to ochsenschlag Niederalm and Neubergalm. A steep trail winds up to Seefeldalm and to the Sonnenjoch south ridge, where it meets the Alpbachtal route. Follow the south ridge up to the summit.

    3. 1. and 2. makes a great round trip.

  • Märzengrund route:
    Follow the forest roads and trails into Märzengrund and up to Otto Leixl Hütte. Go on as described for Alpbachtal route.

  • SonnenjochSonnenjoch summit panorama


  • Sonnenjoch - Gressenstein - Großer Beil; Marked trail, some easy scrambling, great traverse from all trailheads. Sonnenjoch can be reached from Gressensteinalm (trailheads: Schönangeralm and Erlauer Hütte) or from Otto-Leixl-Hütte (trailheads Märzengrund and Alpbachtal).

  • A real Kitzbüheler adventure: Traverse from Sonnenjoch (2299 m) to Niederjoch (2080 m) - Niederjochkogel (2146 m) - Heutaljoch (1998 m) - Regenfeldjoch (2258 m) - Grubachkogel (2343 m) - Öfelerscharte and Torhelm (2494 m): unmarked off-trail traverse on the ridge crest, rock climbs around Grubachkogel and Torhelm up to UIAA grade I / II: best trailheads for the descent from Torhelm are Erlahütte or Tiefentalalm / Langer Grund or Märzengrund Zillertal valley

  • SonnenjochGroßer Galtenberg as seen from Sonnenjoch
    SonnenjochTorhelm-Kreuzspitze range as seen from Sonnenjoch
    SonnenjochSalzachgeier range as seen from Sonnenjoch

    Ski routes:

  • Alpbachtal route: Inneralpbach - Otto-Leixl-Hütte and the (steep) west ridge / west slopes.

  • Wildschönau route: From Schönangeralm to Gressensteinalm (Siedeljoch forest roud or, more difficult, Kastensteig route - steep wood ascent). Follow the southern side valley and the upper snow chute up to the summit.

  • Langer Grund route: From Erlauer Hütte to Neubergalm, Seefeldalm and the east and southeast slopes to the summit.

  • Märzengrund route: From Stummerberg / Oberberg above Stumm/Zillertal on the forest road to Gmünder Hütte, Baumgartenasten, Kothüttenalm and Otto-Leixl-Hütte. Use the west ridge / west slopes to gain the summit.

  • Red Tape & Accommodation

    Red Tape

    There are no restrictions or regulations, as far as I know.

    SonnenjochSummit view to the west
    SonnenjochEast ridge of Sonnenjoch
    SonnenjochGressensteinalm and Sonnenjoch (left)


    Kaltenbach / Stumm
    Schönangeralm at the end of Wildschönau valley is a mountain inn with a genuine cheese dairy in summer - don´t miss that!

    Gressensteinalm provides some drinks and food during the Alm season.
    Otto - Leixl - Hütte is a private hut, accessible only for members of the possessing alpine club section.

    Gear & Mountain Condition

    SonnenjochSonnenjoch summit

    Sonnenjoch can be summited all year round.

    In the hiking season you need full hiking gear and good shoes. The summit routes are easy hikes on mostly marked mountain trails and - near the valleys - forest roads. The traverse Sonnenjoch - Gressenstein - Großer Beil does need some easy rock scramble and, with low visibility - a knack for orientation.

    The ski routes mainly are easy ones, too. Most routes are beginner routes, maybe with the exception of the west ascent from Otto-Leixl-Hütte to the summit, which is a steeper slope. All ski routes are a treat for the advanced ski mountaineer as well. Sonnenjoch as ski tour can be easily combined with Gressenstein and/or Großer Beil (only eastern ascents from above Gressensteinalm).

    Full ski and avalanche gear is required.

    Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Books

    SonnenjochWildschönau ascent to Sonnenjoch

    For a wide list of Kitzbüheler maps and guide books see the Kitzbüheler Alpen main page.


    Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 50.000; Kitzbüheler Alpen West, number 34/1, Deutscher Alpenverein, 2010; - topo map with trails; the same with ski routes.

    Österreichische Karte 1 : 50.000 - UTM (ÖK50), map number 3213, Wörgl

    Guide Books

    Available only antiquarian but an indispensable mountain guide book:
    Georg Bleier / Kurt Kettner: Alpenvereinsführer Kitzbüheler Alpen, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1984

    Horst Höfler, Kurt Kettner: Kitzbüheler Alpen. Mit Skirouten. Führer für Täler, Hütten und Berge, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1976

    R. Weiss: Skitouren Kitzbüheler Alpen mit angrenzendem Salzburger Anteil am Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Gebietsführer, Steiger Verlag Innsbruck, 2000 (there is an antiquarian edition from 1985 with only Kitzbüheler Alpen, too)


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