I’ve finally hit the Alps proper. After a little warm up in the Bavarian Prealps in June, I tried to summit the Rumer Spitze (2,454 m) in the Karwendel two weeks ago. The summit itself was a bonus item on a two-day hike from Scharnitz (822 m) to Rum (621 m), a suburb of Innsbruck. Although we haven’t made it all the way to the top, the summit attempt was a spectacular hike with great views from exposed ridges and scrambling past (and through) snowfields.
The Rumer Spitze is part of the Karwendel range, which towers north of Innsbruck. Being two hours train ride south of Munich, it is a perfect destination for a weekend trip. Our plan was to cross the Karwendel ridge on a two-day hike from Scharnitz to Rum, with an overnight at the Pfeishütte (1,922 m). Depending on how much snow was still around, we would give the Rumer Spitze a go on Sunday.
Saturday: Scharnitz to Pfeishütte
Walking time: 5 hrs. Ascent: 1,100 m.
Saturday was a protracted and rainy affair. We chose the longest approach to the hut, which would have been a lovely walk along the Isar and the Gleirschbach, if it wasn’t for the weather. Two things brightened up the day on the 16km trip though. Early on we walked through the Gleirschklamm, where the Gleirschbach quite literally cuts through rock at super speed and creates a spectacular canyon. Then, about two thirds of the way to the hut, we came up to a spot where an avalanche had covered up a stream with snow. Finding it’s way through the snow, the stream has subsequently created a tunnel through it. The little bridge over the stream has done significantly more poorly for itself.
After what felt like an eternity we finally arrived at the final ascent to the Pfeishütte. I don’t think I ever looked forward to a 400m ascent as much as I did there. I was desperate to arrive, whatever mountain the hut was on. The Pfeishütte was something to look forward to on its own anyway. The fire was on, the food was great (big tasty portions with a large salad), and the staff looked after our wet gear the whole evening to make sure it dried!
Sunday: Pfeishütte – Rumer Spitze – Rum
Walking time: 7.5 hrs. Ascent/ descent: 400/ 1,700 m.
The rain was gone and the sun was lurking behind low hanging clouds as we set off for the eastern crest (Ostgrad) of the Rumer Spitze. At first the ascent was easy, but things got interesting soon after Thaurer-Joch (2,121 m). From there most of the way up required scrambling of different seriousness. We also hit a snowfield quite early on, which obstructed the usual path and meant we had to scramble even more to get past it.
The views from the crest were great. The clouds that raced over the mountain revealed and obscured a view all the way down to the valley and made it feel a little bit as if were looking out of a plane. When the ridge turned into a steep ascent again, we met our nemesis – a second snow field. Even more full on scrambling was required here and although a couple of hikers ahead of us made it past the snow, we decided not to risk it and turned around. It was all still very much worth it. This was the most exposed and I suppose technically demanding hike I have ever done and the views were just superb.
From now on it was just down hill and down and down, for an entirety of 1,800 m of altitude until we reached Rum…. It took my legs a week to recovered from the walk.
Start – End: Scharnitz (822 m) – Rum (621 m)
Ascent/ descent: 1,500/ 1,700m
Walking time: 12.5 hrs
Travel from Munich: train to Scharnitz (2 hrs), train from Rum (change in Innsbruck, 3 hrs).
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Have you made it all the way to the top of the Rumer Spitze? Are you planning a trip to the Pfeishütte? Leave a comment with your take on the trip!