Austria's highest peak, the Grossglockner, is one of the most popular peaks among climbers. The mountain group, located not far from Ankogel and the Krimml waterfall, is one of the jewels of the Hohe Tauern National Park. If you have been planning to climb the Grossglockner for a long time, now you will find all the important and necessary information to make your summit attack a success!

And if you're just hearing about it for the first time, but you love mountain adventures and are interested in climbing, then by the end of this article, the Austrian giant will surely be on your bucket list!

Not only climbers enjoy the eternal snow-capped peak of the Grossglockner. Many attractions in the area are connected to the mountain; hence hikers also visit the surrounding area.

Overview

Grossglockner Details
Distance from Vienna 470 km / 5.5 hours
Country Austria
Height 3 798 m
Basecamps Heiligenblut, Kals, ...
Climbers/year +5000
First ascent 28. 07. 1800
Mountain range Glockner, Hohe Tauern, Alps
Duration 2 - 3 days
Season May - November
Best months for climbing June - September
Known routes 13 trails
Easiest routes Alter Kalser weg | Bishop Salm weg | Hoffmans weg
Is a guide mandatory? No
Is previous exp. needed? (3000+) Recommended
Permit needed? No
Webiste grossglockner.at

Photos

Map - Where is the Grossglockner?

The Grossglockner is located in Austria, more precisely on the border between the provinces of Carinthia and Tyrol. The mountain belongs to the Eastern Alps (Alps) but is located in the central part of the Hohe Tauern mountain group.

  • Distance from Salzburg: 200 km / 3 hours
  • Distance from Innsbruck: 190 km / 3 hours
  • Distance from Vienna: 470 km / 5.5 hours
Grossglockner map - Vienna distance

More about the Grossglockner...

The Celts and the Romans had already visited the ridge of the Eastern Alps, but the mountain range was only studied in the 18th century. Belsazar Hacquet, a French naturalist, was the first to study the height and composition of the Grossglockner in 1783.

At this time, the Archbishop of Carinthia also organized expeditions to the mountain for scientific purposes. Still, the actual summit conquest took place only on July 28, 1800, in the company of Hohenwart and four other climbers.

Since then, of course, several people have tried to conquer the peak. Every year, more than 5,000 people try to conquer the mountain.

The formation of the mountain began approximately 100 million years ago, parallel with the folding of the Alps. As a result, the mountain is mainly composed of crystalline schist, greenschist and greenstone.

What is it famous for?

It owes its fame to the fact that it is the highest peak in Austria.

Do I need a permit to climb the Grossglockner?

Climbing the mountain does not require a permit.

Interested in more climbing? Read on: Mountaineering

Is a tour guide mandatory?

Climbing the Grossglockner is possible without a tour guide if you already have climbing experience (on a 3000 m mountain).

However, if you have the opportunity, you should go with a professional guide, as he can support you with technical advice in overcoming the more difficult parts. During the climb, you can learn a lot of useful and interesting information from him about the area, the wildlife and the climbing culture.

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If you have not yet climbed a 3,000-meter mountain, it is better to start with Ankogel, which is not far from the Grossglockner, but a slightly smaller peak.

Starting points

Climbers usually start from two starting points. From the west via s or from the east via Heiligenblut. Both are reasonable, although Kals usually takes a slightly faster route. The two routes meet at the Erzherzog Johann hut at 3,450 meters.

  • The climb from Kals is just over 1,500 meters to the high mountain lodge and takes about five hours.
  • The Heiligenblut route takes almost six hours and gains an altitude of 1,320 meters. Once they meet, the routes go two more hours, about 344 meters to the top.
The small town of Heiligenblut, with its iconic chapel

How many days does it take to climb the Grossglockner?

How many days should I count on the mountain?

The ascent usually takes 2 days. The descent takes place either on the 2nd day or on the 3rd day.

  • Day 1: the first day is for reaching the high mountain hut Erzherzog Johann Hut. (5 - 6 hours)
  • Day 2: the peak attack follows at the beginning of the next day (2 hours)
  • Day 3: if you don't want to go back to the valley right away, you can extend the climb and spend another night in one of the huts on the way back.

Starting from Kals or Heiligenblut, the Erzherzog Johann Hütte can be reached after an average of 5 to 6 hours. From here, approx. It takes 2 hours for the summit attack.

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Tip: due to the unpredictable travel conditions, you should set aside a week for the entire trip. If you must postpone the summit due to bad weather, you have enough days left for the climb.

Weather

The best months for climbing are July, August and September. In summer, the weather is less volatile, and the sky is clearer, which is essential for the summit attack.

You should always proceed with caution and caution on the mountain, no matter what month you go. If you want to go out of season to avoid the crowds, pay attention to the following points:

  • Adequate mental and physical fitness and experience
  • Appropriate equipment
  • Check the opening hours of the selected huts
  • Allow an extra 2 - 3 days for the hike (for weather reasons)
  • Consider the help of a professional tour guide

Climbing the Grossglockner

The Grossglockner can be conquered from all angles and across multiple ridges. However, the most popular route is to take the panoramic route to the Lucknerhaus parking lot, then leave your car there and take a 1-2 hour hike to reach the Stüdlhütte at 2,801 meters. From where, after a filling dinner and a restful sleep, you should continue early in the morning.

The easiest routes

The following 3 routes are the most popular, as less experience and knowledge is enough here.

  • Alter Kalser weg
  • Bishop Salm weg
  • Hoffmannweg

However, there are more difficult routes, for example, on the north wall route, on the ridge, or from other sides.

Alter Kaiser route

This route is 14 kilometres long and has 1,900 meters of elevation gain. The route starts from the Luckernhaus and goes to the Stüdlhütte, which most people choose as their first overnight accommodation.

-> Luckernhaus (1,920 m) -> Stüdlhütte (2,801 m) -> Erzherzog Johann Hütte (3,454 m) -> Kleinglockner ridge -> Scharte ridge (3,770 m) -> Grossglockner (3,798 m)

  • Number of days: 2 - 3 days
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Difference in level: 1,900 m
  • Via Ferrata section: C/D
  • Starting point: Alpengasfhof Lucknerhaus, Glor-Berg 16, 9981 Kals am Großglockner, Austria

On the trail, you should expect snow, rocky terrain and a via Ferrata trail. The via Ferrata section is 'C'/'D' in difficulty, so don't be intimidated by it.

After climbing the rock that rises above the ridge, you arrive at the next stop, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte, located at an altitude of 3,454 meters.

After the hut, the Kleinglockner ridge follows, from which you can only continue with a rope. When you reach the ridge at 3,770 meters, it's worth taking another rest, enjoying the scenery, and gathering strength for the last section, the Scharte section. The latter is especially recommended because at the end of the route you have to "sweat and fight" for the panorama that awaits you at the top!

The Scharte is a narrow ridge bordered on one side by the Pallavicini couloir and the other by drop-offs. After the ridge, you only have to fight through a shorter climbing section, and you will arrive at the top, where a cross is placed.

Signs along the way mark the route, and you can find maps in several places. The panoramic route is only open from spring to autumn, so you can only approach the mountain from there during this period. However, it can be accessed from other routes at all years.

Huts

To conquer the summit, you must spend an evening in one of the huts. There are several reasons for this. The first is that your body needs acclimatization. At such a height, the oxygen content of the air is already lower, which can cause difficulties even for experienced hikers.

The second is that although you can reach 2,500 meters by car, you have to climb almost 1,800 meters in elevation, which cannot be done in one day.

List of Grossglockner huts

  • Lucknerhaus (1918 m)
  • Lucknerhütte (2241 m)
  • Glocknerhaus (2241 m)
  • Franz-Josephhaus (2363 m)
  • Salmhütte (2638 m)
  • Stüdlhütte (2801 m)
  • Glockner bivouacs (3205 m) on the north side
  • Erz-Herczog Johann hut (3454 m)

The cabins are well-equipped, but most are not modern hotels but modest accommodations created specifically to provide accommodation and warmth for the night. The huts can be divided into three categories based on their function, which greatly affects the goods and equipment.

  • Category 1: huts with the most basic equipment, which function as a base camp. They can only be reached on foot.
  • Category 2: the quality of hospitality is also important for these alpine huts. These are better equipped. They can be reached using an elevator, car, etc.
  • Category 3: popular hiking huts. You can find such cabins mainly at popular tourist destinations. They are usually open all year round.

The Stüdlhütte belongs to category 1 huts, which means that it is a particularly modest accommodation, where 18 people sleep in the dormitory. 2 blankets and a sheet are provided next to the bed. You may also want to pack a thin sleeping bag. Here, as in most places, dinner and breakfast are available on request.

How much does it cost to climb the Grossglockner?

So let's look at a concrete example. If you stay in the Stüdlhütte, the accommodation price is as follows:

  • Adult: 25 euros
  • Junior between 14-17 years: 20 euros
  • Shower: 5 euros

The breakfast price is 10-15 euros, and the dinner price is 20-25 euros. Typically, they provide dinner and breakfast everywhere, so you only have to prepare food for the day's climb. It is also important to know that it is mandatory to request dinner and breakfast in most places.

So, if you count on two nights, the accommodation costs 2 x 25 euros, and you can exchange half board for 2 x 40 euros. You should expect roughly the same prices at the other huts as well.

A two-night climb, accommodation with two breakfasts and dinner costs 130 euros, plus a 10 euros shower -> 140 euros.

In addition, travel, insurance and equipment rental are added to this. If you go with a tour guide, calculate his fee also.

List of necessary equipments

To conquer the Grossglockner, you will need professional high mountain clothing, equipment and shoes. Whether you're going in the winter or summer, you'll need to dress differently, but choose layered clothing!

  • helmet
  • hat
  • face mask
  • sunglasses
  • gloves
  • headlight
  • waterproof climbing shoes or boots
  • seated
  • carabiner
  • crowbar
  • ice pick
  • snowshoes (in the winter season)
  • sleeping bag
  • sunscreen
  • energy bar, muesli bar
  • liquid
  • necessary medicines
  • cash (for the huts)
  • printed proof of insurance

Attractions nearby

What can you do if you go for a week?

Panoramic route

One of the special features of the Glassglockner peak is the 48-kilometre-long panoramic route that runs along the main ridge of the High Tauern. The road connects the town of Heiligenblut in Carinthia with Fusch in Salzburg.

There are many interesting and exciting stops along the route. Exhibitions, nature trails and viewpoints tell the mountains' history and the region's culture. Through nature trails, you can discover the wonders of the fauna and flora of the Alps.

Pasterze glacier

It is also worth knowing about the peak and the park that several other mountain peaks are higher than 3000 meters. Furthermore, Austria's longest glacier, the Pasterze, is located here.

We hope you found the summary useful. If so, save this link for later or share it with your friends. Have a nice trip! Trekhunt team ❤️