Published: June 4th 2012June 3rd 2012
On the Summit of Hafelekarspitze
4 hours to the top of the 2334 meter peak. The real adventure began soon after...
Innsbruck has been a justifiably popular destination for many years but for me it will always be synonomous with the 1976 Winter Olympics. If anyone from my generation knows anything about Austria, it is probably the men's downhill gold medalist - local icon Franz Klammer. Accommodation and Food
Stayed 3 nights at Pension Paula conveniently located very close to the start of the hike to Hungersburg and above. My own super quiet room, share bathroom, WiFi, and breakfast with the best coffee you'll find in Austria was 33€. The place is busy with guests from all over and the hosts are terrific. First meal was at an Indian restaurant buffet at Sahib without asking the price prior. Food was good and I did in fact pig out for sure but the damage was an unconscionable 15€. After that error, I found Schmankerl in the Altstadt on Kiebachgaβe serving a menü (closed Sunday) for 7-8€ while right next door was Pizzeria Romantica where the daily, all you can eat, cooked to order pizza and pasta dinner runs 7.40€. Also great set meals such as wiener schnitzel with fries and salad for 6.50€. Yesterday I was the only lunch patron and I
could hear the chef pounding the veal cutlet. These are unbelievable bargains for Innsbruck Altstadt and are only one block from the 2 main Altstadt streets which are full of of trendy, overpriced cafes and restaurants. Ice cream is all of great quality and around 2.20€ for a double cone, but for the most massive scoops head to Eisgrotte. Good coffee machine in the main tourist office (1€ all espresso drinks) or can spend 2€ for a single espresso with more ambiance in a cafe. Hafelekarspitze
Set off just before 9 am Saturday under blue skies and reached Hungerburg about 45 minutes later. This seemed to be the crux of the whole endeavor as I could not figure out where the trail continued because everything branched off from mountainbike trails. After futzing around for 10 minutes I started up the MTB track then the adjacent hiking trail. It was overcast around the peak which kept the heat to a minimum but I eventually punched through the cloud layer at ~1500 meters. Then it was up, up, and more up to the trail junction with the cable car mid station which I bypassed. Soon the trail was covered with snow
and I had to continue the ascent just off to the side of a snow filled gulley near the avalanche barriers. The summit was beautiful, calm, and warm. After recharging with sweet, flaky strudel, I started the traverse across the massif and was immediately confronted with the first snow blockage of the trail. The snow was soft so I cut right across in a jif. There were a couple more snow blockages but overall it was pretty quick to the backside of Hafelekarspitze. That's where the terrain got tough and bogged me down. The trail was hard to follow but there were markings on the rocks. The snow was mostly soft and in some places very soft where I plunged knee or thigh deep. After a couple of hours I recrossed to the south side only to find that it should have taken me one hour according to the sign. At that point there was an unsigned trail heading immediately down so I consulted the map and figured it had to be the trail to Arzler. I was soon relieved when I came across a sign indicating that it was indeed the correct trail. My relief sooned turned to dread
when I reached the top of the endless scree field. It turned out not to be so bad and was a really fast descent when I wasn't stopping to pour pebbles out of my boots. Arzler was really just a pub so I blew past it to Hungerburg then the quick drop down to the pension by 6 pm, 9 hours total. Still a little ragged. Transport
Can walk all over Innsbruck and easily to Hungerburg. City bus tix are 1.80/1.90€ if bought from a kiosk/driver. 24 hour and longer bus passes available. Good network of buses to outlying villages. Left Innsbruck yesterday for Munich on the extremely crowded train coming from Venice. It was packed with German holiday makers as it was right in the middle of a major vacation period. Felt lucky to get a seat on the 2 hour ride that I booked for 19€ before even leaving the States. I already had the plane ticket from Munich to St. Petersburg so was certain of the travel date.
There are more photos below