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Steiermark/Kaernten, Austria, Europe
Hiking, Skiing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
7860 ft / 2396 m
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Created On: Oct 11, 2004
Last Edited On: Mar 26, 2018


Lavantsee and SE views from just below Zirbitzkogel
The view from below the summit, below is Lavantsee.
Zirbitzkogel summit from the S
The summit from the S

What's New Here?

> June 20th, 2016. A major page update.
> October 11th, 2004. Initial page setup.


The long shoulders of Lavanttal Alps have their undisputed king. Zirbitzkogel is so the same character as others, but higher, so it is no wonder why this area is so developed for mountaineering. The highest point of Seetaler Alps stands in the center of this 35 km long massif, west of the Obdach saddle, where the long Lavanttal reaches its highest point. On its slopes there's also the source of Lavant creek.

The name

The area is known by nice areas, covered with 'Zirben' (sort of pine-trees, Swiss pine - pinus cembra), magnificient trees, which can live up to 1000 years, and grow up to 20 meters. Because of its high quality woods, they are much used for carving. But despite this, I was surprised reading that the name of Zirbitzkogel comes from an old Slovenian word 'zirbiza', which would mean a red alpine meadow. The explanation is that the slopes of this mountain are indeed covered with alpenrose (Rhododendron ferrugineum), in local language called 'Almrausch'. Being there mid June, I saw a lot of it, but it was still to early that it would make the whole slope red.


Zirbitzkogel is built of crystalline rocks: slate (Glimmer Schiefer = shining slate), gneisses and granites. In spring and early summer water is flowing down all the slopes and in a few small basins tarns are made. The two permanent nearby lakes are: Lindersee and Lavantsee, more other lakes are already a bit remote.

What to do there?

As seen on the map, all around the main summit there are many mountain huts. The importance of this mountain for mountaineering is expressed also with the fact, that there's a mountain hut on the very summit and that there is an abundance of marked paths, ascending on the summit from all sides. The shortests hikes come from the east and west, the longest is traversing the whole mountain range from north to south or vice versa. In winter and spring Zirbitzkogel is very popular for tour skiing. Descents can be also done in all directions, along the marked routes and also elsewhere. In summer you may see evenmountain bikers, using rough cart-roads to the very top. Paragliding is prohibited (warning inscriptions).

Great panorama from the...
Summit views
The summit panorama towards...
Views due south

Summit views

Reaching the summit of Zirbitzkogel is really rewarding, as it offers very broad views in all directions. The surrounding is hilly, the most beautiful view is towards north, where ranges of Niedere Tauern strech. On the southwest and west the rugged peaks of Southern Alps are clearly seen on the horizon.

The dark spots

From the mountaineering and aesthetic point of view Zirbitzkogel has also one or two dark sides. One is the area around the summit, which is reserved for military training. In most cases this will not impact visiting the summit. When nothing is going on, you can move there freely, but it's one more information you need to have, prior ascending Zirbitzkogel. The other point is a noticable weather radar station on the neighbouring summit of Scharfes Eck, 2364 m.

Getting There

For general overview, see the Lavanttal Alps page.

Zirbitzkogel can be ascended from the valley of river Mur, where we start in Judenburg and drive towards the SW to Judenburger Huette, 1421 m. This hut can also be reached from the East, from Obdach. From there, we can reach with car even higher - to the parking place just before Winterleitenhuette, 1782 m.

The other starting point for the eastern approaches is Waldheimhuette, 1620 m. From Obdacher Sattel (saddle) we can drive up to St. Anna, 1370 m, and from there walk (or drive when the road is opened) one more hour to the hut. A little more remote starting point is Sabathyhuette, 1620 m (or the nearby Zirbenwaldhuette, 1610 m), which can both be reached from the East, from St. Wolfgang in an hour walk.

From the West, we drive up on the mountain from Neumarkt in the valley of Olsa. So we reach one of starting points, either Jacobsberg from where we hike or drive up to Tonnerhuette, 1600 m, or See, 1131 m, from where we hike directly to the top. At Tonnerhuette parking fee is 3 EUR (2016), but you can consume all that amount in the hut (gives you almost a beer or soup).

And finally, from the south there's a long way to go to the summit. Ideally we can start hiking on the main road on Klippitztoerl, 1644m and do the crossing of the whole massif.

On web, you can see a detailed map on: http://www.austrianmap.at/.

Routes Overview

Show a bigger map

Zirbitzkogel and some of its main routes (see details on the map above).
All routes (except #8) are easy hikes over grassy slopes. Here are just some of them, the times are a bit short for an average fit hiker (400 m in one hour + quite some distance):

1. Normal from Sabathyhütte, 1620 m. 2 h.

2. From Sabathyhütte, 1620 m, over the NE ridge. 2 h.

3. From Sabathyhütte over Schlaferkogel. 3 h.

4. Normal from Waldheimhuette, 1614 m. 2 h.

5. From Waldheimhütte by Lavantsee. 2 h.

6. Normal from Winterleitenhütte, 1782 m. 2 h.

7. From Winterleitenhütte over Kreiskogel. 3 h.

8. From Winterleitenhütte over Kreiskogel ferrata. 4 h.

9. Normal from Tonnerhütte, 1600 m. 2 h.

10. Round tour of Zirbitzkogel lakes. 2 h.

11. From Klippitztörl, 1644 m. 5 h.

Red Tape

From May 2006 the whole area is part of the Naturpark Zirbitzkogel-Grebenzen:

Otherwise no restrictions in the area, exept when the military region is closed for training.

When To Climb

You can ascend Zirbitzkogel any time of season. In hard winter times the trailheads may be further down in the valleys. If snow conditions are not safe, additional cautiousness is needed, aspecially on the upper slopes.

Mountain Huts

The ascent can be easily done in one day. But as the area is so developed for tourism, there are many mountain huts, supporting activities:

The hut on Zirbitzkogel
Zirbitzkogelhaus, standing just below the summit
  • Zirbitzkogel-Schutzhaus: 2376 m. On the summit of Zirbitzkogel. Opened from June 20th to September 20th and also on weekends and holidays. 20 beds. Family Grillitsch, Tel.: 03578/8205 (Waldheimhuette).
  • Winterleitenhuette: 1800 m. By the Kleines Winterleitensee. Opened the whole year, except in November. 31 beds. Tel.: 03578/8210
  • Judenburger Hütte: 1421 m. Alpine hut between St. Wolfgang and Schmelz. Opened the whole year, except in April and November. 32 beds. Family Sauer, A-8742 St. Wolfgang, Tel.: and Fax: 03578/8202
  • Waldheimhütte: 1620 m. Mountain hut on Kaseralm. Opened the whole year, except in April and November for two weeks. 28 beds. Family. Grillitsch, Tel.: 03578/8205.
  • Sabathyhütte: 1620 m. Alpine hut on the eastern side of Zirbitzkogels,opened the whole year, except in November. 38 beds. Family Hoermann, Tel.: 03578/8230.
  • Zirbenwaldhütte: 1610 m. Austrian Alpine Club hut. For members and guests (self-service). Close to Sabathyhuette. Tel.: 03578/8279. Mrs. Felfer, 8753 Fohnsdorf, Hauptstrasse 2, Tel. 03573/211720 (Raika).
  • Rothaidenhütte: 1836 m. A restaurant between Sabathyhuette and Waldheimhuette, opened from June 8th to end of September. 8 rooms. Tel.: 0663/833017.
  • Köhlerhütte: 1855 m. Austrian Alpine Club hut. For members and guests (self-service). On the east side of Zirbitzkogel, close of the Lavant source (Lavant lake). 30 beds. 8 rooms. Herbert Kozak, Tel.: and Fax: 03124/51919 od. 0664/201637.
  • Rohrerhütte: 1854 m. Pasture hut, near Wildsee. Family Rohrer, Tel.: 0664/2636894.
  • Tonnerhütte, 1600 m. Opened from December to April and May to October. 60 beds, 15 rooms.

External Links

Your Help Is Needed

If you have further valuable information, please add it. Especially the following:
  • Any experiences an pictures of winter, or ski tours?
  • More detailed descriptions of other routes? Has anybody done the south-north crossing of the whole massif?
  • Other interesting data (historical, local stories and sagas)?


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