The 3365m high Taschach Wand lies in Austria's Pitztal, a valley in the well known province of Tirol. As the name implies the Wand is more of a broad face and it lacks a distinct summit. Nevertheless it is a very popular mountain in the Eastern Alps on account of its north face which is the longest ice route in the Ötztal Alps. The 600 meters long, 55 degree north face is a classic route for those with some experience in climbing alpine ice routes. Besides being a popular goal in its own right the Taschach Wand can be made part of the Pitztaler Ice Express, 4 north faces climbed in succession finishing on the summit of the Wildspitze, the second highest mountain in Austria. An attractive route for the experienced north face climber with a high level of physical fitness.
In summer the Taschach Wand becomes the site of frequent rockfalls so it is recommended to climb the route in springtime when snow and ice keep most of the rocks in their place. Knowledge of and experience with glacier travel, ice face climbing (belaying on ice screws etc.) and avalanche hazards are a must for attempting this route safely.
Tjerk placing some pro.
From the Inntalautobahn
take the Pitztal - exit and make your way to the end of the valley, parking your car at the small cluster of hotels called Mittelberg. Parking seemed to be free; we encountered no problems from the hotel owners anyway.
From Mittelberg follow the trail which leads you past a cluster of flags and through a small forest. Signs to the Taschach Haus (the mountain hut nearest the Taschach Wand) will appear once you enter the forest. Follow this trail along a river until you come to a small cablecar station that can be used to transport goods to the hut. Cross the river here and make your way along a slightly more difficult path towards the hut. The walk - in takes between 2 and 3 hours from Mittelberg.
From the hut take the footpath that leads in a south-easternly direction. There are several sections of very exposed scrambling which can be tricky in the dark. After a while the path peters out onto the Taschach Ferner glacier. Still keeping south-easternly direction make your way to the start of the route. It is located to the south-west of the Gamsköpfle (see your map).
Take note that during winter the approach over the glacier can be very exposed to avalanches! Always check the avalanche forecast before setting out. Set out early so that you are well in the route before the sun hits it and try to avoid climbing beneath other parties as you will be showered by snow and chunks of ice otherwise.
There are several campings and lots of guesthouses in the Pitztal. You should be spoilt for choice. The Taschach Haus is a large mountain hut that was being renovated in 2007 to provided even more and better accommodation. The hut also has a large and well equipped Winterraum
, or Winterhouse, that is always open and is a very good place to base yourself for north face climbing in springtime. A fireplace and a large supply of firewood, cutlery, pans, plates: it's fully stocked. We just cooked on the stove above the fireplace but it might still be a good idea to take a stove of your own just in case.
External LinksWebsite of the Taschach Haus.
Avalanche information for Tirol.
Weather forecast Pitztal
Website with useful up-to-date trip reports.