Stage 3

Solsteinhaus hut – Pfeishütte hut

Solsteinhaus hut – Pfeishütte hut

Between wilderness and civilisation

To overcome this stage, the longest on the Karwendel Höhenweg trail, it is best to leave the Solsteinhaus bright and early. As you start out, you will be able to enjoy the morning quiet of the mountain range and you may even see some of the creatures that live up in the hills.

  • Difference in altitude downhill: 1187 m
  • Starting point: Solsteinhaus
  • Endpoint: Peishütte
  • Recommended equipment: ankle-high mountain boots, spikes (snowline spikes), telescopic poles, plenty of water
  • Difficulty: difficult / black mountain trail
Höhenprofil Etappe 3
Höhenprofil Etappe 3

Difference in altitude uphill

1303 m

Highest point

2314 m

,

Distance

16,5 km

Duration

8:00 h

The third and longest stage of the Karwendel Höhenweg trail sees mountaineers travel from the Solsteinhaus hut to the Pfeishütte hut via the Gipfelstürmerweg and Goetheweg trails. This highlights the intense contrast between the wild, craggy Karwendel mountains and the inhabited Inntal valley.

Stage description:
When you leave the Solsteinhaus, take trail 213 down towards the Möslalm pasture. When the trail forks at the ‘Wilde Iss’, take the Gipfelstürmerweg trail (215) eastwards and head past the Wilde-Iss-Jagdhütte hut. The trail snakes along a green ridge featuring trees and mountain pines as it leads you up to the ‘Hippen’ peak. After a brief descent, you are then faced with a very steep ascent along passages secured with ropes that bring you to the Frau Hitt ridge. This is located to the west of the prominent Frau Hitt rock needle. CAUTION: even in early summer, the Frau Hitt cirque may feature a very large amount of old snow that remains icy into the morning (risk of falling: Snowline Spikes and sticks provide optimum protection). Legend has it that the rock needle represents a woman on a horse. The descent from the Frau Hitt ridge starts out very steep and subsequently follows the Schmidhubersteig trail, crossing picturesque mountain pastures on the way to the Seegrube restaurant (1906 m). After a refreshing break at the Seegrube, you take trail 216 as it makes a steep ascent to the Hafelekarhaus (2269 m). The Goetheweg trail (219) then leads you south below the Hafelekarspitze and brings you to the Pfeishütte hut. You begin by following the trail, which leads to the Mühlkarscharte gap via the Gleirschjöchl without any major variations in elevation. On the way to the Mühlkarscharte gap, you are able to savour the breath-taking views of the Alpine city of Innsbruck and the Inntal valley. At the Mühlkarscharte gap itself, the trail shifts to the north face of the Nordkette mountain range and offers a panorama of the craggy Karwendel mountains. The trail snakes its way up the Mandlscharte gap (2314 m) before heading back down to the Pfeishütte. After completing the final section of the trail, which heads past a large number of mountain pines, you reach the Pfeishütte hut – the end of the third stage on the Karwendel Höhenweg trail.

Emergency tip:
As this is a very long and demanding stage, mountaineers can stay overnight at the Höttinger Alm as an exception if need be! In this case, following the ascent to the Frau Hitt ridge, mountaineers must not head in the direction of Seegrube but walk along trail 215 towards Höttinger Alm.

Alternative ascent:
Mountaineers looking to avoid the 363-metre elevation gain between the Seegrube restaurant and the Hafelekarhaus can take the Hafelekarbahn cable car.

Good to know:
Once you complete the steep ascent and cross the Frau Hitt ridge, you find yourself entering another world. Below you is the Inntal valley, featuring a number of small settlements and the Alpine city of Innsbruck. You can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of this spectacle as you make your way to the Seegrube and the Hafelekar. As you subsequently traverse the Goetheweg trail to the Pfeishütte hut, your surroundings frequently alternate between the craggy, rocky Karwendel mountains and the densely populated Inntal valley.

Variant via Kristenalm to Pfeishütte hut:

  • Difference in elevation: 746 m ascent, 630 m descent
  • Duration: 5:00 – 5:30 h
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Difficulty: medium/red mountain trail

After you leave the refuge, take trail 213 to the Erlalm located nearby and continue across picturesque Alpine meadows through the Großkristental valley up to the Kristenalm (1348 m). Keep to the forest trail until this merges with the Gleirschtal valley, then make the short ascent to the Wirtshaus Amtssäge inn (1223 m). Stay on trail 221 to reach the popular Möslalm inn (1262 m) and continue along the foot of the imposing rock formations of the Gleirschtal valley/Halltal valley chain until you reach the valley head. The stage then ends with a pleasant 45-minute ascent to the Pfeishütte hut (1922 m).

Take a closer look!

Flora and fauna on this stage

There are typical types of plants and animals to discover on each of the six stages. The more varied the mountain terrain, the more diverse the creatures that live there.

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