A Fast & Soiled Information to the Berlin Excessive Path

The Berlin Excessive Path (Berliner Höhenweg in German) is an ambulatory gem of the Zillertal Alps and certainly one of Austria’s most interesting multi-day treks. Throughout its oscillating course, hikers will traverse breathtaking passes and deep glacial valleys, whereas having fun with dramatic views of jagged granite peaks and shimmering alpine lakes. I accomplished the Berliner Höhenweg in mid-October 2019, as a part of an prolonged journey within the Alps. It was the final of 4 excessive trails I did in the course of the Austrian leg of the journey; the others being the Stubaier Höhenweg (see Journey Report/Information), Schladming Tauern Höhenweg, and the Wormser Höhenweg.

Overlooking the Schlegeisspeicher Reservoir from the path between Friesenberg and Olperer Huts.

Word: The knowledge beneath is basically directed in the direction of unbiased hikers, slightly than of us going as a part of organized trekking teams. 

At a Look

Distance:  86 km (53 mi)

Common Period:  7 to 9 days (see How Lengthy will it Take? for particulars)

Problem Degree:  Average to demanding

Whole Elevation Acquire: 6,605 m (21,670 ft)

Begin:  Finkenberg

End:  Mayrhofen 

Excessive Level: Schönbichler Scharte (3,081 m/10,108 ft)

Which route?: I don’t assume it issues an excessive amount of. The Cicerone information books referenced beneath describe the path in a clockwise route, whereas helpful native web sites corresponding to Tirol.at element the trail in a counter-clockwise route (which is the way in which I did it).

What’s in a Title?: The Berlin Excessive Path is also referred to as the Zillertal Rucksack Route and Zillertaler Runde Tour. For the needs of this text, I selected to go together with ‘Berlin Excessive Path’ because it appears to be essentially the most generally used title in Austria, together with on Mayrhofen’s and Tyrol’s official web sites. For customers of the Cicerone Information books talked about beneath, be aware that in “Strolling in Austria” it’s known as the Zillertal Hohenweg, whereas in “Trekking within the Zillertal Alps” it’s referred to as the Zillertal Rucksack Route.

Overview map of the path (as seen in Cicerone Press, Trekking within the Zillertal Alps)

Getting There & Away:

  • The transport hub of the Zillertal Valley is the village of Mayrhofen, which is serviced by common bus (2 hrs) and practice providers (1.5 hrs) from the close by metropolis of Innsbruck (the capital of the Tyrol area). From Mayrhofen to Finkenberg, you possibly can both stroll (4.5 km/2.8 mi) or take bus #4104.

Putting the pose in downtown Innsbruck.


  • The climbing season within the Austrian Alps is mostly between late June to mid/late September. In a mean climate 12 months, September is right. The varsity vacation crowds are gone, the summer season thunderstorms (usually quick) have subsided, temperatures are cooler, and the mountain huts are much less crowded. 
  • Low season: Relying on the snow ranges and expertise of the aspirant, the Berlin Excessive Path can be accomplished within the late spring or early to mid-fall. When climbing at these instances, you might require an ice axe and traction gadgets. Word that the full-service huts are closed at these instances, so you’ll need to hold your entire personal meals and maybe a tent/tarp (Word: Many of the huts have small winter rooms (“winterraums” in German) that stay open in the course of the low season. See Lodging beneath for particulars).
  • Personally Talking: The Berlin Excessive Path was the final of my multi-day journeys within the Austrian Alps. I hiked it in mid-October, 2019 and other than a holidaying Russian mountain information on the Olperer Hutte, I didn’t meet some other ramblers alongside the way in which. As a consequence of a long-standing aversion to crowds, I usually favor to hike in style trails such because the BHT within the low season, and am keen to just accept the probability of more difficult circumstances in trade for the reward of solitude. Within the case of the Berlin Excessive Path, I obtained all that I bargained for and extra on the meteorological entrance, within the type of persistent freezing rain, snow, and icy circumstances for a lot of the second half of the path. Temperatures in the course of the hike ranged between 12°C (54°F) and -9°C (16°F).

The venerable Berliner Hütte (2,042 m) is the most important mountain hut within the Tyrol area and dates again to the late 1870s. Sadly, it was closed throughout my go to, however its cozy and splendidly dry winter room (situated on the opposite aspect of the principle constructing) was open.

Planning Data 

  • Guidebooks: Cicerone Press publish two books that cowl the Berlin Excessive Path. Strolling in Austria provides a bare-bones account of the path, whereas Trekking within the Zillertal Alps has a way more detailed abstract of the famed hut-to-hut route, together with trekking notes, fundamental maps for every part, aspect journeys/alternates options, distance and time estimates, and logistical info on attending to and from the path. Each books can be found in Kindle model or paperback.

Nearing Friesenberg Haus, late afternoon on Day 1 (the one clear day of my hike).

  • Language:  German. Nearly everybody you meet that’s beneath 60 years previous will converse English, nevertheless, just a few easy phrases and phrases of the native tongue will at all times be appreciated by locals.
  • Cell/Cell Cellphone Protection: I are likely to maintain my cellphone in flight mode whereas out within the woods, however from what I can collect, throughout climbing season some (although not all) of the huts on the Berlin Excessive Path have Wifi/cell reception, together with the chance to cost your cellphone and/or battery pack whether or not you’re overnighting, or simply stopping in for breakfast or lunch.
  • Money or Card?:  The entire huts had been closed once I did the BHT, nevertheless, plainly in the course of the climbing season (as of 2022) a number of the path’s refuges’ don’t settle for digital fee. Simply to make certain, attempt calling or emailing the huts at which you intend to remain beforehand, or alternatively, convey alongside enough money to cowl your prices for the journey.

Friesenberg Haus overlooking a small alpine lake.

Resupply & Water:

  • Meals:  There aren’t any villages alongside the Berlin Excessive Route, however meals are by no means onerous to return by in the course of the climbing season as the entire huts are full service. It’s also doable to buy snacks and sandwiches to go.
    1. Breakfast – Often served from round 6 to eight am. Continental-style, consisting of bread/butter/jam and occasional or tea.
    2. Lunch – Often served from noon to 2 pm, although it might differ from hut to hut. Order as a lot as you want from the menu. Beer and wine can be found.
    3. Dinner – Principal meal of the day and normally served between 6 pm and seven.30 pm. The set-dinner possibility is well-priced, ample in dimension, and might as soon as once more be washed down together with your alternative of grownup drinks.
    4. Prices: Most folk that in a single day on the huts go for the “half pension” possibility, which consists of dinner, mattress, and breakfast for between €45 and €55. Lunch is at all times à la carte.
    5. Low season: If you’re curious about climbing out of season, you’ll have to carry all your personal provides from begin to end. If you’re lucky – it occurred to me on three separate events throughout my time in Austria – pleasant locals could have left some beers within the Winter Rooms. 
  • Water: Available all through the hike. It will probably both be obtained on the huts or from streams alongside the way in which. Throughout my time within the Alps, I usually drank instantly from sources and had no intestinal points. The exception was if I used to be acquiring water downstream from huts or grazing animals, by which case I handled with Aquamira drops.

Ascending in the direction of Schoenbichler Scharte (3,081m) from Furtschaglkal Haus.

Route / Circumstances:

  • Overview:  Throughout the summer season months the Berlin Excessive Path is a average to demanding trek. It contains greater than 13,000 m (42,651 ft) of mixed altitude acquire and loss, and through its course, hikers will negotiate excessive passes, uncovered traverses, boulder fields, and steep scree slopes. The path is properly marked with splashes of pink/white paint, and main junctions are signposted. A few of the steeper sections are tackled with assistance from fastened cables (see picture beneath). The cable sections could be discovered on the next levels (climbing in a counter-clockwise route): 1. Furtschagl Haus to Berliner Hut; 2. Berliner Hut – Greizer Hut; 3. Greizer Hut – Kasseler Hut, and; 4. Kasseler Hut – Karl von Edel Hut. On the part between Berliner Hut and Greizer Hut there’s additionally a brief ladder part that must be negotiated.
  • If climbing in the course of the shoulder seasons do I want traction gadgets, an ice axe, or some other specialised tools?:  Throughout my October hikes within the Alps I didn’t carry an ice axe, however I did use Salewa mountain spikes (much like Kathoola Microspikes) and was very glad to have them for a number of the icy excessive sections. Additionally on the footwear entrance, I periodically wore a mixture of merino wool socks and Montbell Gore-tex All Spherical Socks beneath my path trainers. I’d positively go together with the identical system once more if I used to be to return to the Alps within the spring or fall (Word: Relying on circumstances, I’d think about carrying an ice axe as properly; notably if tackling a number of the really helpful aspect journeys talked about within the Cicerone Information).

Descending from Schoenbichler Scharte, the very best level on the Berlin Excessive Path.

  • How Lengthy will it take?: Within the “At a Look” part I point out that the common length of a BHT hike is 7 to 9 days. That mentioned, the period of time wanted can differ vastly relying on a lot of elements. Match and skilled ramblers carrying a light-weight pack and who’ve a superb run with the climate, can comfortably do the journey in 4 or 5 days (Word: The longer daytime of summer season would clearly assistance on this entrance).
  • Highlights: I’m not the very best individual to reply this query, as I had inclement circumstances for a lot of the journey. Nonetheless, I loved the expertise, and my favourite sections had been the quick stretch between Friesenberg and Olperer Huts, and the icy, knife-edge descent from Schoenbichler Scharte.

A sprinkling of fall colors on a uniformly overcast day.


  • Mountain Huts: Just about all hikers on the Berlin Excessive Path keep within the mountain huts. These regularly-spaced refuges normally boast unbelievable places, are usually open from mid-June to mid/late September, and together with in a single day lodging, supply breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As referenced above, the very best worth can normally be discovered within the half-board supply, which consists of a three-course dinner, a mattress, and breakfast for between 45 and 55 Euros (as of 2022). Word that folk affiliated with sure different European Alpine or Mountain golf equipment (e.g. UK, German, French) get pleasure from reciprocal rights.
  • Continued – Mountain Huts: Throughout the peak season months of July and August, lodging ought to ideally be booked upfront (three to 4 weeks is really helpful); this particularly holds true in case you are climbing in a bunch. For a lot of the huts, you possibly can select between bunking down in a shared dormitory or personal room. Climbing in a counter-clockwise route, the lodging choices alongside the path are as follows: 1. Gamshütte; 2. Friesenberghaus; 3. Olpererhütte; 4. Furtschaglhaus; 5. Berliner Hütt; 6. Greizerhütte; 7. Kasseler Hütte, and; 8. Edelhütte
  • Is Wild Tenting Doable within the Austrian Alps?: Formally talking………….it’s sophisticated. There is no such thing as a “everyman’s proper/freedom to roam” in Austria, and alpine zone tenting rules can differ considerably between states. The Berlin Excessive Path is situated within the Tyrol area. Based on the Austrian Alpine Membership, tenting outdoors of official campsites in Tyrol is prohibited, excluding “for a brief time period when required by the event.” Earlier than wild campers get too excited, the web site additionally states that “deliberate bivouacking is equated with staying in a tent! Violations may end up in fines of as much as 14,500 euros, relying on the federal state.” In actuality, I believe in case you had been to remain properly away from huts and farms, arrange simply earlier than darkish in a stealthy spot, depart at daybreak the subsequent day, and diligently observe LNT ideas always, you’d be unlikely to have any points. Click on right here for an in depth overview of the tenting scenario in Austria.
  • Winter Rooms (“winterraums”): Though I did carry a shelter on the Berlin Excessive Path, I ended up spending all of my nights within the winter rooms. These little sanctuaries are a godsend on the finish of an extended day in tough circumstances. They’re usually an annex to the principle hut and stay open all 12 months spherical.

Wanting again in the direction of the Furtschagl Haus

Mid-morning break on the Furtschagl Haus winter room.

View from the Olperer winter room.

Remaining Ideas on the BHT

To some extent, my journey on the Berlin Excessive Path was outlined by the climate. On the primary day, I had clear skies, little wind, and comfy temperatures. On Day 2, issues began to deteriorate, although visibility was largely good excluding both aspect of Schoenbichler Scharte cross. On the third day, circumstances turned to shit, and for a lot of the time, I hiked in freezing rain, snow, and driving wind. Apart from once I took a break on the Greizer Hut’s winter room, I didn’t cease for greater than a minute or two. As for the fourth and closing day, it was a carbon copy of Day 3.

I understand that to most hikers, the second half of my journey sounds prefer it was depressing. And on one or two events, I might need even vented my displeasure to the climate gods with language so vibrant, that it could have made the solid of Deadwood blush. With that admission out of the way in which, and as crazy as it might sound, I truly get pleasure from climbing in such circumstances.

Don’t get me unsuitable; I’m not an entire nutter. I wouldn’t need to do it on a regular basis. However I’ve at all times figured that in case you’ve acquired the suitable gear, abilities, health, a optimistic mindset, and an ironic sense of humour, then climbing in such climate is a problem value embracing. It exhibits what you’re able to within the backcountry when push involves shove. In my very own case, through the years I’ve discovered that my focus lasers in, and I adapt my tempo in order that hour after hour I stay in a gentle zone whereby I’m not pushing so onerous that I sweat excessively, however on the similar time I’m not dropping my climbing velocity sufficient that I’m prone to turning into chilly and doubtlessly hypothermic. And if my thoughts ever begins to wander or unfavorable ideas creep in, I invariably consider my household, repeat a optimistic mantra, or recall a shaggy dog story from my previous, and earlier than you possibly can say, “!#*% me, will this #!%&@*!# rain ever cease!“, I’m again on monitor once more.

So, thanks Berlin Excessive Path. I couldn’t have requested for a extra memorable strategy to wrap up my Alpine journey of 2019.

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