Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 46.66000°N / 12.73000°E
Additional Information Elevation: 8503 ft / 2592 m
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Geographical Classification : Eastern Alps > Carnic Alps > Carnic Alps Main Ridge (West) > Zwölferspitz

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Zwoelferspitz (rather Zwölferspitz in its original German spelling) is one of the most important mountains of the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. Located in the western part - west of Plöcken Pass that is - it is not even part of the ridge itself. If you compare the map you can see that the ridge takes a bend to the south to reach Peralba, one of the highest mountains of the whole Carnic Alps. Zwölferspitz is located on a side ridge almost exactly north of Peralba, which in itself isn't impressive either. But due to its height (2592m), form and position it is the most visible mountain of the Carnic Alps as seen from the north.

The summit actually is composed by three pyramid-shaped peaks which reach very similar altitudes. The summit cross is placed on the southern-most peak and can be reached by a very steep scramble from the southern side, an ascent which gets very tricky in wet conditions. The grass slopes to the summit just get far too slippery.

The name of the mountain is derived from its location with respect to the village of Maria Luggau, a well known place of pilgrimage in Lesachtal Valley. Zwölferspitz is located directly to the south of the village so that the sun hovers over it at twelve o'clock each day. The practice of naming mountains by the location of the sun with respect to some village is very common in the Alps, just look at these random SP-pages: "Mittag", by the way stands for noon as does the French "Midi" (for those of you who understand German a good page on mountain names is this page).

The access to Spitzkofel goes through Luggauer Törl, a pass that separates the northern side ridge, in which Zwölferspitz is located from the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. Through this pass leads the "Karnischer Höhenweg" trekking trail, a 140km (90 miles) long trail which follows old World War I supply trails along the whole Main Ridge. The most common ascent to Luggauer Thörl (when not hiking the trekking trail) is from Maria Luggau along the Luggauer Bach Valley with a steep ascent at the end. From Luggauer Thörl the going gets even steeper with the above mentioned grassy slopes directly below the southernmost of the three peaks.

In 1932 there has been a successful attempt on the north face of the northernmost summit . There is only scarce information, the route is supposed to be UIAA III and was first climbed by E. Schmid.

Getting There

Western Main RidgeWest Central Main RidgeCrode dei LongerinPeralba - Chiadenis - AvanzaEast Central Main RidgeBiegengebirgeKellerwand - Hohe WarteMooskofel GroupRinaldo Group
Overview map of the western part of the Carnic Alps Main Ridge. See the Carnic Alps Main Ridge (West) Page for an overview of the ridge. Click on the numbers to get to the descriptions of the subgroups. Zwölferspitz is located to the right of subgroup 2.

You can reach Schulterhöhe from the village Maria Luggau, which is a place of pilgrimage, famous in the south-eastern Alps. There is a monastery with a large abbey (compared to the size of the village at least) and several Ways of the Cross lead from the mountains towards the abbey. Maria Luggau is located in Lesachtal Valley, "Europe's most remote alpine valley" as the info prospects reveal. To reach the valley chose from the following itineraries:

From the West (Brenner Motorway A22)
Leave the Brenner Motorway near Brixen / Bressanone and follow SS49 to the east through Pustertal / Val Pusteria. To the east of Innichen / San Candido you cross the Austrian-Italian border and follow the road (now B100) to Tassenbach. Turn right (south-east) here onto B111, which you follow in direction Kötschach-Mauthen. You cross the Kartitsch Saddle and head down through Ober- and Untertillach towards Maria Luggau.

From the North
There are two possible roads:
  • From Kitzbühel over B108 through the Felbertauern Tunnel to Lienz, then southwest to Tassenbach (B100), where you turn on to B111 east into the Tyrol Gailtal.
  • From Salzburg along motorway A10 to Spittal. Turn west on B100 to Oberdrauburg, there south to Kötschach-Mauthen were you turn east on B111.

From the South (Udine)
Take Motorway A23 to the exit Camia Tolmezzo. Follow SS52 north to Tolmezzo where you turn onto SS52 bis. This leads to Plöckenpass, where it crosses the Austrian-Italian border. In Austria the road turns into B100 and at Kötschach-Mauthen you have to turn east on B111 into Lesachtal Valley.

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Red Tape

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There's no red tape here, no permits, no fees. The closest parking would be at Raut, south of the Gail River but you can invest the 20min it takes to get from Maria Luggau to Raut.

When To Climb

The usual hiking and Scrambling season is May through September. For experienced tour skiers it might even be a winter destination but I actually doubt it. Rather go to neighbouring Schulterhöhe instead.


You won't find any "real" campgrounds in Lesachtal Valley. The nearest one is in Kötschach-Mauthen, some 40km away. But in most of the villages there is a small space for campers, which in most cases is associated with an inn or a hotel. If you are looking for hotel rooms or apartments follow one of the links below
Zwölferspitz photo_id=121675Zwölferspitz photo_id=116218Zwölferspitz photo_id=116212

Mountain Conditions

The Carnic Alps Main Ridge is a main weather divide in the region. While the northern Lesachtal Valley is relatively safe (high mountains all around) from the south clouds roll over the ridge very often So keep yourself informed by one of the links below
Zwölferspitz photo_id=116207Zwölferspitz photo_id=120503Zwölferspitz photo_id=111533

Maps 'n' Books

I have been using maps by Kompass and Tabacco, which both are very good for the hiking trails.
  • Lienzer Dolomiten / Lesachtal
    Kompass Map WK47
    Kompass Verlag
    ISBN: 3-85491-053-3
    Tabacco Map 001
    Editione Tabacco

As for books please look at the corresponding section of the Carnic Alps page.
Zwölferspitz photo_id=114489Zwölferspitz photo_id=113852Zwölferspitz photo_id=113602

External Links

  • Austrian Map online
    Online digital maps of Austria (OEK 50, OEK 200 and OEK 500) by the BEV (Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen) - in German