The Peter Habeler loop — an alpine trail around the Olperer

Hiking Collection by Mareike

Spend seven days above 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) altitude following a high-altitude trail around the magnificent Olperer. At 3,476 meters (11,404 feet), it is the highest mountain in the Tux Alps. On beautiful, partly-challenging paths, you can admire the summit from all sides. The landscape reveals new, beautiful mountain views around every corner as you climb.

The path follows in the footsteps of Peter Habeler, a famous mountaineer from Zillertal. Habeler went down in alpine history when, together with Reinhold Messner, he climbed Mount Everest without an oxygen supply for the first time in 1978. The trail was opened to celebrate Habeler’s 70th birthday. Although Habeler has climbed peaks all over the world, he still considers the Olperer to be one of his favourites.

The Olperer lies on the Tux Ridge between the Zillertal, the Wipptal and South Tyrol. In total, you will cover a distance of 34 miles (55 km), climbing over 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) on the first day. All of the stages lead through Austrian soil except stage 6, which runs through Italy.

As this is a high-altitude trail, you should be experienced hiking on alpine terrain. Sure-footedness and a head for heights are also essential. Some of the narrow paths are partly exposed, but difficult sections have ropes.

The third stage is the longest. It leads you up to the Friesenberg Chart, which almost breaks the 3,000-meter (9842 feet) mark. On the other days you can take it easy as the routes usually take between three and four hours to walk.

Experienced mountain hikers can complete this Collection in less than seven days. For example, you can combine stages 4 and 5 and walk from Friesenberghaus directly to Pfitscherjochhaus. Stages 5 and 6 can also be easily combined.

Mid-June to September is the best time to hike this route, as there is usually no snow at high-altitudes then. However, keep an eye on the weather. The hut opening hours are a good way to structure the time on your hikes. Huts will also inform you whether the trails are passable.

At the end of each stage, a hut with food and beds is waiting for you. During the day you have to bring your own food as you won’t find huts to stop for lunch on any of the stages. Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance as the trails partly overlap with the Berlin trail and the crossing of the Alps from Munich to Venice. Places fill up especially fast for July and August.

Since the Peter Habeler Loop is a round trip, you can start from various points. The village Vals in a side valley of the Wipptal is a practical starting point. There is a free parking lot at the Nockeralmen and also a bus stop. You can take the train to St. Jodok am Brenner and take bus 4144 down into the valley from there to the Vals in Tirol Touristenrast (timetables at oebb.at). Alternatively, you can ascend from the South Tyrolean Pfitschtal to the Pfitscherjoch or start your hike in the Zillertal from the Schlegeisspeicher or Hintertux. You can climb over the Venntal to the Europahütte directly from the Brenner Pass.

Berlin High Trail: komoot.de/collection/44/the-berlin-high-trail-explore-the-zillertal-alps-in-8-stages

Traumpfad Munich–⁠Venice: komoot.de/collection/480/the-traumpfad-from-munich-to-venice

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    03:29
    4.73 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,200 ft
    0 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the first day of the Peter-Habeler tour, you head up into the mountains. To get started, you have to overcome most of the vertical meters of the multi-day hike. However, the route is not technically demanding and is well suited for running in. The climb is also really worth it, because you will stay above the 2,000-meter mark for the next few days.The round begins at the tourist rest in Innervals, which is located in a side valley of the Tyrolean Wipptal. You can easily get here by bus (bus 4144 from St. Jodok). There are parking spaces there and at the last fork on the right, right by the river. Take the first steps along a well-developed commercial road along the Alpeiner Bach. Follow the water for around three kilometers and then start the ascent, which leads to the Ochsenalm via many hairpin bends. Above the tree line, head east to the Geraer Hütte, your destination.The Ochsenalm is not managed, but is suitable for a short break. You have already made more than half the way there and it is not far to the warm kitchen and the inviting beds of the Geraer Hütte.

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  • Intermediate
    04:02
    6.05 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,500 ft
    Intermediate mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 2 is characterized by the ups and downs typical of high-altitude trails. You climb saddles and niches that promise new perspectives in a landscape shaped by glacier moraines. The trails are beautiful and alpine: some of them are challenging and exposed.You leave the Geraer Hütte in a northerly direction and ascend to the Steinernen Lamm (2,528 meters). There you have a beautiful view to the east of the Olperer, the summit of which will accompany you all the way. Then it goes down and then back up to the Kleegrubenscharte, which is followed by another descent - only to then walk uphill again to the Kaserer Scharte. Shortly afterwards follows the Frauenwand and then you only go a little downhill to the Tuxerjochhaus. Here, high above Hintertux, the ski lifts run in winter.You should have a refreshment for yourself on this stage as there are no huts for a stop. You are well looked after in the evening in the Tuxerjochhaus.

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  • Difficult
    05:55
    5.44 mi
    0.9 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,000 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    It gets really alpine behind the Tuxerjochhaus. On stage 3 you reach the highest point of the Peter-Habeler circuit with 2,904 meters. On the way up to the Friesenbergscharte, loose scree, boulders and probably one or two old snow fields await you. If there is still a lot of white or there is fog, you have to be careful. The trail is well marked, but the white and red stripes may be hiding. But you are probably not alone here: Many hikers use this route when crossing the Alps from Munich to Venice.First you cross the area where the Hintertux skiers curve over the slopes in winter. Most of the time the path runs along paths, but also briefly along economic paths to the Spannagelhaus. The glacier begins slightly above, where you keep left on the stony hiking trails and climb up to the Friesenbergscharte. This place almost forces you to pause. That's because of the view: Countless peaks rise above the turquoise Schlegeisspeicher. Directly under the steep rocky slope above which you stand, you see the Friesenbergsee, where your destination for the night is.To get there, you have to overcome a demanding descent. It is secured with ropes. There are step aids on the plates. There is an old path through the rubble that leads directly to the Friesenberghaus. The detour via Petersköpfl is safer.Hikers get something to eat on the way in the Spannnagelhaus. Those who stop here should be aware that the difficult part of the stage is still ahead of them.

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  • Difficult
    01:47
    2.68 mi
    1.5 mph
    500 ft
    775 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Great for any fitness level. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    You can use the fourth day on the Peter-Habeler circuit to relax. The way to the next stage, the Olpererhaus, is not far and takes less than two hours. The altitude difference is also limited. If you don't need a break, combine this stage with the one before or after.After a short ascent to the west from the Friesenberghaus, the route is moderately downhill. Always with you: the view of the Schleigeispeicher. Shortly before the Olpererhütte this sight becomes special again. You cross a mountain stream on a suspension bridge. It is a popular photo motif.The Olpererhütte is suitable for refreshments and overnight stays. If you combine stages 4 and 5, you will arrive early from the Friesenberghaus for lunch.

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  • Difficult
    03:23
    5.42 mi
    1.6 mph
    950 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    It remains alpine on stage 5, but the path is well developed. Where there are slabs of rock on the slopes, there is a flat route made of these slabs of rock for easy walking. An acquaintance of the past few days, the view of the Schlegeisspeicher, accompanies you one last time.First, it goes comfortably and relatively flat under the Schramerkopf. The descent to Unterschrammachkar follows with a view of the impressive west wall of the Schrammacher. On the other side, you go back up and bypass the ant head. From here the path runs downhill and under the Stampflkees to the Pfitscherjoch.The Pfitscherjoch marks the border between Tyrol and South Tyrol. The Pfitscherjochhaus, located on the Italian side, provides dinner and a warm bed.

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  • Difficult
    03:18
    5.06 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,675 ft
    300 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage leads completely through South Tyrol. The starting point and destination are each directly on the border between Austria and Italy. On this day you climb through rocky landscape again several hundred meters to reach the ridge that separates the two countries. You can then enjoy your dinner in the middle of the border, as it runs through the Europahütte guest room.Above the hut, the path leads you past several picturesque lakes. First of all, walking is comfortable because the path remains almost at the same height for the first 4.5 kilometers. Then you climb up to Friedrichshöhe and have already reached the stage goal, the Landshut Europahütte. Both the Landshut and the Tiroler Höhenweg run along this path.There is no refreshment stop on the way. However, this is not necessary for the length of the route. One little thing is enough. You can also take your time at breakfast in the morning and leave in peace.

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  • Difficult
    04:09
    5.70 mi
    1.4 mph
    250 ft
    4,600 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 7 is the last day of the Peter Habeler circuit. That is why you have to descend from the alpine mountain world and that goes well in the legs at over 1,000 meters of altitude. So plan a few more breaks and enjoy the beautiful landscape again. The Zeischalm is special on this path. Their owner builds large stone figures and has decorated the way from his hut into the valley with all kinds of carved figures and water wheels.You can warm up for a good two kilometers from the Europahütte on Geistbeckweg before the descent begins. Many hairpin bends take you to the Zeischalm. And the serpentines don't break behind. The wooden figures and the view of a high waterfall provide for diversion along the way. The valley becomes flatter again. The last stretch back to the starting point runs along an economic path.You can stop at the tourist rest at the end of the stage. On the way, a detour to the hut on the Zeischalm is worthwhile. There may be chilled drinks stored there, which you can authorize for a donation.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    35.1 mi
  • Duration
    26:02 h
  • Elevation
    11,575 ft

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