Glungezer Mountain – Mellowing in the Tirol Powder Farm

Post by blogger | May 7, 2012      
Most of our group, less Erich who invited us along and took the photo.

We tag along with a group of Tirolean locals for this one. Fun folks to hang out with and quite a bunch of competent alpinists, thanks Erich!

I had a date with Glungezer. Last time I was here, I went to the trouble of skiing most of the way up this 2677 meter mountain near Innsbruck, Austria only to be shut down by a whiteout so dense the resort skiers on the approach piste were pinging off each other like a physics experiment — with me as the random particle collision. Barely made it out of that one alive.

Glungezer is one of those easier summits you find rising southerly from the Inn Valley autobahn, south of the greater Innsbruck area. You can see these mountains as you roll, up there all glistening white. Some have high roads you can use for access, for others you hike the resort piste or avoid the grunt by purchasing a cable ticket.

The weather had been funny lately, much colder than normal and recent new snow. Theory today is that powder will remain skiable on northern reaches such as those of Glungezer. Time to find out if that’s true.

For the approach, you climb quite a bit of recently closed ski resort.

For the approach, you climb quite a bit of recently closed ski resort.

On the alpine portion of the trip, looking northeast at the vast ski touring terrain.

On the alpine portion of the trip, looking northeast at the vast ski touring terrain this area offers. Much of what you see is terrific during winter months when the higher Alps can be hit-or-miss due to extreme weather. Thousands of huts and alpine restaurants are tucked in nearly everywhere. If you've never been here, visit and you'll be amazed at the ski touring culture.

On the classic uptrack.

Erich got this shot of his friend on the classic uptrack.

View westerly over Innsbruck, looking down more than 6,000 vert, average for many parts of the Alps.

View over Inn valley, looking steeply down more than 6,000 vert, average relief for many parts of the Alps.

WildSnow honeymooners about half way up the climb, looking fresh?

WildSnow honeymooners about half way up the climb, looking fresh?

WildSnow Girl and the usual classic summit cross.

WildSnow Girl and the usual classic summit cross.

Our friend Erich who hosted us on this trip, reaching the summit.

Our friend, Erich, who hosted us on this trip, reaching the summit.

Attack of the Tiroleans.

Attack of the Tiroleans.

Erich in the Tirolean powder farm.

Erich, the Tirolean powder farmer.

The crew again, classic track set.

The crew again, classic track set.

Lower portion of the route took this nice forested area before

Lower portion of the route took this nice forested area before re-entering the closed resort, where we followed the pistes down to our parking at a restaurant.

Yes, you WildSnowers might be getting tired of the Austrian restaurant shots by now.

Yes, you WildSnowers might be getting tired of the Austrian restaurant shots by now.

Nice to be along with a few other couples. More, interesting

Nice to be along with a few other couples. More, for purely scientific reasons I try to get a sense of the female to male ratio of the ski touring population when I'm out on these popular mountains with lots of other people. Today, more women than men. Heads up, boys.

Lisa thought she had this all to herself. Yogurt fruit cake.

Lisa thought she had this all to herself. Yogurt fruit cake.

So much for Lisa's cake. And that's it for this year's

So much for Lisa's cake. Likewise, that's it for this year's European skiing adventures, thanks everyone for following along these past months! We'll follow up with a few gear reviews covering some of the items we used in Europe. Beyond that, summer is here -- though we're still backcountry skiing.

I should mention that during valley to peak snow coverage, hardcores do this Glungezer tour from the Inn Valley floor as one HUGE slog. I’m told once is enough, as most of the ski is up low angled pastures and you’re “walking walking walking — seemingly forever.” Perhaps we’ll try that some day, but the quality skiing portion of this route is easily accessed via a classic steep road that winds up through a bunch of farms and pastures, to terminate at the Gasthaus and resort lifts. For those of you who get serious about this tour, the access road starts from the Hall West exit off the A12 Motorway, road map makes it obvious.

Map below shows Glungezer location. And yes, you can enjoy a hut near the summit.

View Larger Map


15 Responses to “Glungezer Mountain – Mellowing in the Tirol Powder Farm”

  1. WildSnow Girl May 7th, 2012 8:19 am

    A lovely way to end a fantastic trip. Thanks for taking me along, Lou. I had a wonderful time. Looking forward to Honeymoon #3. Lisa

  2. jim knight May 7th, 2012 10:53 am

    Got that cake recipe or this just another tease?

  3. Lou May 7th, 2012 11:07 am

    Jim, that cake was amazing, I was thinking of trying to make it, talk about a challenge. Now I’m even more motivated, we shall see… If we have success, we will share.

  4. jim knight May 7th, 2012 11:12 am

    Right on. Loved the Jagertea. Recipes are the universal currency.

  5. Scott Nelson May 7th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing all your trip reports Lou and Lisa. Really cool to get a small taste of how great it could be to tour in Europe.

  6. Wookie1974 May 8th, 2012 2:31 am

    Lou –

    You think there is still coverage for a trip this Saturday? I’m looking to get after it, and you’re my best source of beta, seeing as how you were just there.

  7. Lou May 8th, 2012 5:33 am

    For Glungezer? Provided the weather is good I’d imagine the above timberline portion is still good nieve skiing, but the question is how far up can you drive to avoid dirt walking? The piste portion was melting off pretty fast when we were there, which was nearly two weeks ago.

    I’ll bet you could just call the hut that’s on top for current beta.

    Sorry if our blog posts confuse as to timing, tough to always publish the trip reports on the exact day after…


  8. john doyle May 8th, 2012 10:48 am

    Welcome home Lou and Lisa,
    Claude and I skinned up to the Glungezer Hutte a few years back. We had skied the nearby Patscherkofel (site of 1964 AND 1976 Olympic downhills) the day before. By the time we hit treeline it was a whiteout with only a faint skintrack to follow. We caught up to the skiinner, Gunther, deskinning at the summit cross; He was easily 65 years old, very fit. Inside the hut we met his older brothers Manfred and Wolfgang and consumed the obligatory pastry and Austrian beer.
    They asked if we wanted to follow them down on a different route which we did as the sun came out. Fond memories – We can’t wait to go back. Cheers

  9. Lou May 8th, 2012 12:33 pm

    John, very cool!

  10. Roland Fleck May 9th, 2012 8:03 pm

    Lou and Friends,
    Great to see you have discovered Glungezer. There is enough open territory to satisfy any powder hound. Having spent my youth till age 24 in Innsbruck,
    was like looking at pictures of the backyard you grew up in. Your shots perfectly captured the vistas and the unique tyrolean atmosphere.
    Roland Fleck, Jackson Hole

  11. Lou May 10th, 2012 7:06 am

    Hi Roland, I guess they finally let you out of jail (grin)? Cool to know we were up in your old stomping grounds, and yes, everyone walks up the piste to get there, now I know where you got in the habit (grin). Lou

  12. Larry Grygas April 8th, 2013 7:42 am

    Awesome story and photos of Glungezer. I will be spending xmas vacation in Lans, probably 10 minutes from where you were. My wife and children ski mostly piste but I prefer to climb for turns. I would love to find a guide dog to do a couple of climbs with while there. Do you know if I can rent shovel and probe somewhere near here. We are trying to travel light and will pack them if I have to. Is there usually good coverage by New years in this part of the Alps?

  13. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2013 8:29 am

    Hi Larry, I’ve been to the Innsbruck area alps many times now in January. Each year is totally different, no way to predict how coverage will be. From past experience I’d venture to say you have a good chance of encountering fairly thin snow off-piste in January, along with difficult skiing. As for renting gear, I’m sure that would be easy to find in Innsbruck or elsewhere near Lans. Guides are easy to come by as well. Lou

  14. Erik Erikson April 8th, 2013 9:28 am

    Hi Larry, as for renting avalanche gear: Try to contact the “Alpenverein Innsbruck” (Alpine club) . They do rent such things, at least if you are member to any alpine club

  15. Larry Grygas April 9th, 2013 5:43 am

    Thanks for the alpenverein site Erik. I’ll get in contact w/ them before I go to sure things up. I know its always a gamble w/ the weather. I was in Jackson December 16th this year and every day was a powder day w/ 17′ to date. So i’ll keep my fingers crossed. I dont mind hiking just to ski the tops.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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