The Zillertal Alps (Italian: Alpi Aurine) are part of the Eastern Alps Main Ridge and quite similar to the neighbouring Ötztal Alps
and Stubai Alps
they form part of the border between Austria and Italy. To the east the huge mountain range of Hohe Tauern
follows with the Venediger
and Rieserferner Groups
. The Zillertal Alps are less glaciated (meaning that you don't find the large consecutive glaciated areas) than their neighbours though you can find huge glaciers on the northern side of the main Ridge and around Olperer, the highest summit on the Tux Crest (Tuxer Hauptkamm / Alpi Breonie di Levante). Global warming has taken its toll on the south face glaciers, however. The summits reach elevations way over 3000m. The tallest mountain, Hochfeiler / Gran Pilastro
The boundaries of the Zillertal Alps are the Wipp- and Eisack / Isarco Valleys in the West, the Pustertal / Val Pusteria, Tauferer Tal / Valle di Tures and Ahrntal / Valle Aurina Valleys in the south, the Krimmltal Valley to the east and the Schmirn, Tux and Gerlos Valleys to the north The mountains of the Zillertal Alps are either composed of gneiss (Tuxer Kamm, Main Ridge, Reichenspitze Group) or schist (Pfunderer Berge). Consequently the appearance differs between these two regions which much more eroded summits wherever you find schist.
The mountain range can be easily reached either from Austria or Italy but apart from Brenner Pass there is no north-south road connection between the two countries. The main ridge constitutes a formidable boundary so that you will find few passes even for hikers. While the part of the range around Olperer has been heavily developed for downhill skiing the remainder of the range is still comparatively untouched. In the Austrian part only a handful of hiking trails heads out towards the highest mountains of the Group. In the south things are different, especially in Ahrntal / Valle Aurina and among the summits of Pfunderer Berge / Monti di Fundres.
To reach the summits on the main ridge you need alpinist experience and with the exception of one or two you will never encounter crowds. There are two trekking trails on either side of the border: Berliner Höhenweg in the north, Pfunderer Höhenweg in the south. Both stay shy of the main ridge but offer great views nevertheless. In winter the whole range is a tour skier’s paradise with hundreds of possible ascent routes. The northern routes can be very long thanks to the long side valleys which are closed for traffic at all times of the year.
The Subgroups – the Zillertal Alps on SP
Some notes concerning names and lists:
- Generally I followed the classification as given in the Alpenvereinsführer of the German Alpine Club (see Maps & Books below). However I split the main ridge in two parts, west and east, with the separating line being Stillupgrund Valley in the north of the ridge. The eastern part has been combined with Klockerkarstock, which is the far east of the Zillertal Alps. The Alpenvereinsführer associates the eastern main ridge summits with the respective northern side ridges which start at the summits. I associate them with the main ridge, starting the side ridges from the next summit to the north.
- For the listings I used the map Zillertaler Alpen (WK28 by Kompass Verlag) (see Maps & Books below). It is an excellent overview map (one of their best maps) which shows virtually all summits of the Zillertal Alps / Alpi Aurine. For elevations I have chosen the values given by the Alpenvereinsführer Zillertaler Alpen (also see Maps & Books) not because it is more accurate but because it is much easier to read. I used the Kompass elevations wherever the book wouldn’t give any. Italian names have been determined either by the Alpenvereinsführer book or by www.atlanteitaliano.it.
- Speaking of names – for this page I decided to use the original German names for the several sub and sub-sub-groups. Kamm means ridge or crest and I think the names are easily translated. Most ridges are named by their principal summits; sometimes this is a group of summits. Wherever the need arose I put the English translation in parantheses (). Wherever I could I also noted the Italian names. Not all are used south of the border so that I am confident that I managed to find the most important ones
- Tuxer Kamm / Alpi Breonie di Levante
- Zillertaler Hauptkamm (West)
- Zillertaler Hauptkamm (East)
- Reichenspitze Group
- Pfunderer Berge / Monti di Fundres
1 – Tuxer Kamm
Panorama of the Tuxer Kamm / Alpi Breonie di Levante from Rötenspitze in the west, also sent to me by Viktor Stuffer: Hide / Show annotations (still to come) Lizumer RecknerGamskarsp.Schafseitensp.ReisenschuhOfnerHornsp.Weiße Wand / FrauenwandSchönlahnersp.LärmstangeSchobersp.Grierer Karsp.Kl. KasererHoher RifflerVord. HöllwandHint. HöllwandGr. KasererFalscher KasererOlpererFußsteinKahlwandsp.Hohe WarteSchrammacherSagwandsp.Hohe Wand Sp.KraxentragerHochfeilerHint. Weißsp.Vord. Weißsp.Wildseesp.Rotes BeilWolfendornFelbeGrabsp.Flatschsp.Wurmaulsp.Wilde Kreuzsp.Burgumsp.Großbergsp.Daxsp.Rollsp.HühnerspielGeisler/Odle Group
Tuxer Kamm (Alpi Breonie di Levante, Tux Ridge) is located in the north-west of the Zillertal Alps. It is bounded by the Schmirntal and Tuxer Tal Valleys to the north, Wipptal Valley to the east, Pfitschtal / Val di Vizze Valley to the south and Zemmtal Valley to the east. The main ridge runs from south-west to north-east with three side ridges turning off northwards. Tuxer Kamm is home to the only summer ski area of the Zillertal Alps, located around Olperer and Gefrorene Wand Spitzen. The summits are listed south-west to north-east.