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Tirol / Salzburg, Austria, Europe
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Created On: Dec 2, 2017
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SonnspitzeSonnspitze summit

Sonnspitze is the triangular highpoint between Aurach valley, Glemm valley and Schwarzache valley and is one of the lesser visited summits of the area.

Located between higher and more frequented Staffkogel to the south, Spieleckkogel with the mountain station of a cablecar nearby to the east and Mesnerhöhe and Bischof to the north, Sonnspitze marks the culmination point of three ridges and three valleys.

Sonnspitze is a typical Kitzbühel summit with old rocks cropping out at the summit zone, steep gras overgrown slopes and swamp meadows around the Alm zone.

The north cirque of Sonnspitze hosts Rosskarlacke, a beautiful mountain lake above Hochwildalm and a hiker aim on its own.

Being a ski summit, too, Sonnspitze can be climbed year round.

What I like most are the traverse options of this area where Sonnspitze can be easily included, e.g as starting or end summit for the traverse of Mesnerhöhe to Bischof or for a traverse of Staffkogel, Saalkogel to Rauber.

Getting There

For Sonnspitze there are two main trailheads:

  • the hikers parking area at the switchback of the road from Oberaurach to Aurach Wildpark (It´s easy enough to find as it is the only switchback of this road)

  • the mountain station of the Spieleckogel cableway which starts at Hinterglemm or the village of Lengau at the end of Glemm valley

  • You reach the trailhead Aurach Wildpark from Kitzbühel on the road number 161 to Pass Thurn. At Aurach turn on Auracher Straße at the signpost “Wildpark Aurach” and follow this road to Oberaurach and the trailhead.

    SonnspitzeSonnspitze as seen from the trail to Henlabjoch
    SonnspitzeRettensteine as seen from Sonnspitze south ridge

    Kitzbühel can be reached by car

  • on the roads number 178 and 170 from Wörgl / Inntal and the highway to Innsbruck

  • on the roads number 173, 178 and 161 from Kufstein and the highway to Innsbruck

  • on raod number 164 coming from Saalfelden directions

  • on road number 178 and 161 coming from Salzburg / Bad Reichenhall directions

  • The nearest railway station to the trailhead Aurach is Kitzbühel.

    Busses number 4010 or 950X go to Aurach. However there is no bus service to Wildpark Aurach and the trailhead.

    You reach the trailheads within Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley via Glemmer Straße, which branches off road number 311 north of Zell am See.

    Zell am See can be reached from the north / Bad Reichenhall via Lofer and Saalfelden; from the east / Bischofshofen – highway number A 10 via Sankt Johann im Pongau, from the south via Großglockner Hochalpenstraße and from the west / Zillertal via Gerlospass and Neukirchen.

    The nearest railway station to the trailhead Hinterglemm is Zell am See. Bus number 680 go to Hochalmbahn / Hinterglemm.

    Routes Overview

    Routes Overview Sonnspitze, Mesnerhöhe and Bischof

    South route:

    For the south route start at the parking area near the Wildpark Aurach.
    Follow the forest road into Aurach valley. This forest road makes 4 switchbacks, you can cut them on the old foot trail, regaining the road further up. Stay on that road , passing Brachofenbachalm and lower Staffalm. The forest road bends to the left and leaves in a broad curve the Aurach valley and reaches upper Staffalm.

    Leave the Alm on a road to the northeast. At the next switchback leave the road straight on a trail which goes up to Sonnenfeldalm. Turn sharp right there on a trail leading up to broad Henlabjoch between Staffkogel and Sonnspitze.

    Turn left there and follow the south ridge up to the summit.

    SonnspitzeSouth route overview from Hochwildalm, Henlabjoch to the left
    SonnspitzeSonnspitze as seen from below Henlabjoch

    Routes from Saalbach / Hinterglemm:

    From the Saalbach / Hinterglemm mountain station of the cablecar follow the ridge to Spieleckkogel and to Sonnspitze in western direction.
    Alternatively climb Spieleckkogel from the valley ground via Spieleckalm or take the trail from Lengau at the end of Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley via Eibig Hochalm to Henlabjoch and Sonnspitze.

    Ridge crest traverse to Bischof:

    Descend the north ridge of Sonnspitze on a narrow foot track and over some easy rocks to a small pond of the now bradening ridge.
    Follow the ridge which gets narrow again and ascends to Mesnerhöhe.
    Climb over that secondary summit until you reach the bold rock spire of Pfaffel.

    SonnspitzeA view from near Bischof summit to Mesnerhöhe (left), Sonnspitze and Staffkogel (right) with their connecting ridges
    SonnspitzeOn the ridge traverse Sonnspitze - Bischof

    Go left there, traverse on a narrow foot track these Pfaffel rocks until you reach a steep zigzag track, leading you up to a notch between Pfaffel and Bischof.
    Follow the south ridge of Bischof to the meadows below the summit ridge, go left there below the summit ridge until you reach Bischof summit.

    Traverse possibilities:

    Epic traverse from Groß Gebra to Weißkopfkogel, Bischof, Mesnerhöhe, Sonnspitze, Staffkogel, Saalkogel and Rauber. Trailhead is Aurach Wildpark. Very long day.

    SonnspitzeThe ridge Spieleckkogel - Sonnspitze as seen from below the summit
    SonnspitzeTrail to Henlabjoch with Staffkogel in the background

    Ski routes:

    From Aurach trailhead via Hochwildalm, Sonnenfelderalm and the steep southwest slopes or alternatively via Staffalm and the southwest summit slope.
    From Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley, Lengau, via Eibing Hochalm, Henlabjoch and south ridge.

    Red Tape & Accommodation

    SonnspitzeStaffkogel as seen from Henlabjoch

    No red tape as far as I know.

    Up to now (2017) no parking fees at the trailhead Aurach. The Glemm valley trailheads may require fees.

    All kinds of accommodation can be found at

    Saalbach / Hinterglemm

    Mountain huts:

    Bochumer Hütte / Kelchalm

    Gear & Mountain Condition

    SonnspitzeHochwildalm as seen from the south route to Sonnspitze

    Sonnspitze is an all - season mountain.

    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 ridge crest traverse do need some rock scramble and a secure step on steep gras slopes.

    The ski routes are easy routes for beginners. Full ski and avalanche gear is required.
    Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Books


    Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 50.000; Kitzbüheler Alpen Ost, map number 34/2, Deutscher Alpenverein, 2010; - topo map with trails; the same with ski routes.

    Österreichische Karte 1 : 50.000 - UTM (ÖK50), map number 3214, Kitzbühel

    SonnspitzeUpper Aurach valley, south route
    SonnspitzeHirschlacke lake as seen from the summit

    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 main focus on Kitzbüheler Alpen, too)


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