Global Adventure - Hike the Alps of Western Austria


Global Adventure - Hike the Alps of Western Austria

Hike in the mountains of western Austria, in the northern limestone Alps of Lech and in the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps of the Montafon valley. The many trails of these regions offer wonderful hiking and spectacular views, from high mountain meadows to rugged hiker passes, from mountain huts to scenic, 3500-meter Piz Buin. Enjoy comfortable accommodations and tasty food in the evenings. THE TRIP PRICE SHOWN IS THE DEPOSIT ONLY. FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE THE LEADER NOTES BELOW. Information sessions for the trip: See below

  • Sun, Jul 28, 2019 — Sat, Aug 10, 2019
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Backpacking, Global Adventures, Day Hiking
  • Adults
  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 63.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 19,500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 9,100 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 mph

Information Sessions: An evening of photos of mountain hiking in these area, and information about the upcoming Mountaineers trip.
Mon. Feb. 11
, Kirkland Library (308 Kirkland Ave.), 6:45-8:30 p.m.
Wed. Feb. 13, Summit Room in Mountaineers Program Center (Magnuson Park), 7:00-8:30 p.m.         click to RSVP
Thur. Feb. 21, Summit Room in Mountaineers Program Center (Magnuson Park), 7:00-8:30 p.m.          click to RSVP

Trip Itinerary:
Arrive in Munich, Germany no later than the afternoon of Sunday, July 28, 2019. We’ll transfer to the town of Lech in the Vorarlberg Province of Austria on Monday, July 29. On Saturday, August 3 we’ll move to the town of Schruns in the Montafon Valley area, and on Tuesday, August 6 we’ll move to the Silvretta Mountains for several days of hut-to-hut hiking, returning to Schruns on Friday. On Saturday, August 10 we will return to Munich by train, where on Sunday participants can take flights home, or proceed on their own to other explorations.

Itinerary Highlights:   

This two-week trip will offer the experience of high-elevation hiking on established trails in two beautiful areas of western Austria. On several days we will take a cablecar or chairlift to skip the low-level switch-backing and begin our hikes at 7,000 or 8,000 feet. We’ll hike in a wonderful land high above the valleys, with breathtaking views of the picturesque valley and its surrounding mountains. The trails will cross alpine meadows and rock slopes; reach high tarns and passes.

Lech is located in the northern limestone Alps near to the German border. The town of Schruns is further south, in the Montafon valley near the Swiss border, with easy access to the Silvretta and Rätikon mountain ranges. The Rätikon is a rampart of vertical limestone that is almost completely ice-free. The neighboring Silvretta Alps are the more scenically dramatic range, with high, ice-clad peaks.

Our trip will begin in Munich, the capital and largest city in Bavaria. On July 28th we’ll meet at our hotel in the center of the city and stay the night. Then we will travel 4 hours by train to the ski resort town of Lech in the upper Lech Valley, which will be our base for several days. From Lech we will walk or take buses or lifts to our starting points, from which we will hike to mountain huts, scenic viewpoints or passes in the surrounding mountains, and perhaps on one we can hike a bit in Germany.

On Aug. 4 we’ll take a bus and trains to the town of Schruns in the Montafon valley. This can be a rest day, perhaps with a trip up a lift to a high overlook. The next day we’ll ride a lift and hike to the summit of the Zamangspitze, with great views of the Montafon valley and the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps.

The next several days, August 6–9, will be a change of pace. We’ll string together four days and three nights in a continuing journey or mini-trek in the Silvretta mountains while our luggage remains in Schruns. We’ll travel by bus to the road pass at Bielerhöhe, and hike along a high belvedere to the Wiesbadener Hut, where we will have lunch. Then up and over the Radsattel, and into the Tirol province, and a return to Bielerhöhe pass, where we’ll stay overnight at a mountain inn. The next day we will hike up to the Saarbrücker Hut, where we’ll stay in dormitory rooms in a high-mountain hut at 8,300 feet. The following day we’ll hike steeply up over a pass, down a narrow trail into Switzerland, and up over a second pass back into Austria. Cables (metal handlines) are present in several short sections of moderate exposure. We’ll stay the night at the Tübinger Hut in 4-person rooms. Then it’s up and over a couple more passes, then down a long valley trail to take a bus back to Schruns.

The next day we’ll board a train for our return to Munich, where we’ll stay in the same hotel and have some time to tour in the old town. After breakfast the following day we’ll depart for home or to other adventures.

NOTE:  As with any extended travel, but particularly in an area with changeable mountain weather and trail conditions, our itinerary can change without notice, and sections may be modified or substituted. The priority will always be on safety for all participants.

Time of Year:   We travel to Lech and the Montafon valley in late July-early August, during some of the warmest weather of the year in the region. The temperature in the valley towns ranges from the 60s and low 70s during the day, to 40s and low 50s at night; but the temperature in the high areas, passes and huts can be considerably colder, and can fall below freezing with wind! (Weather in the Alps is notoriously fickle, even in summer, so participants must be prepared for a variety of conditions at all times.) The region also receives its greatest precipitation during the summer months, but days are long, sunbreaks can be expected even on rainy days, and the July-to-early-September “high season” is considered to have the best weather for a visit.

Lodging:   This trip will give participants the opportunity to experience several types of lodging. We’ll stay two nights in Munich and seven nights in comfortable hotels in the valleys; and one night in a mountain inn, in two-person rooms with private WC and shower. We’ll also spend two nights in mountain huts in a dormitory-style co-ed rooms: we’ll sleep in sleepsheets under wool blankets or duvets on two-tier bunks, and have relatively basic facilities. Gratuities for the accommodations are included in the trip price.

Food:   Hearty breakfasts and dinners (group half-board) are included on all of our trail days. Participants will be responsible for one dinner in Munich, and for lunches and drinks everywhere. There will be the option to purchase sack lunches for the trail at some of our hotels, or from town shops, though we may also stop at mountain huts for a meal or coffee/tea and snack where available.

Leader’s Experience:   Richard Rutz has hiked and traveled in Europe many times, particularly in the alpine areas of Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, and Liechtenstein. He has planned and led a number of private multi-day hiking and backpacking trips in Austria and Switzerland, and in the Cascades, Olympic and Rocky mountains, and a Global Adventures trip in 2018 to the Engadine Alps in Switzerland. A backpacking leader for The Mountaineers, he is also a member of the Austrian Alpine Club, and has a working familiarity with German.

Participant Requirements:   

This trip requires excellent aerobic conditioning and balance. Participants must be sufficiently fit and conditioned to be able to travel at a moderate pace, an average of 1.5 miles per hour. This average pace is calculated including short breaks; lunch is not included in the calculation.  The trip is a mix of moderate and strenuous hiking. The range of hikes is 4.0 – 9.9 miles (round-trip), with 1,150 – 2,900 feet gain. The average hike is 6.3 miles, with 1,950 feet gain. Hikes are planned for two sets of 5 days, with a travel/rest day between.

The trail will sometimes be in rugged terrain, including steep scree or rocky ascents/descents that may require some use of the hands, stream crossings, short sections of snow, and short sections of moderate exposure.  In two or three places of moderate exposure there will be short sections of cables (metal handlines) to use.

On most days the hike will reach a high point or travel some distance at elevations over 7,000 feet. A trekking pole(s) and a sleeping bag liner or sleepsheet are required.

Participants must be:

  • - a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file.
  • - in excellent aerobic condition with good balance.
  • - in good medical condition.
  • - sufficiently fit and conditioned to be able to travel at a moderate pace (an average of 1.5 miles per hour).
  • - able to travel at elevations above 7,000 and 8,000 feet, and ascend to 9,100 feet elevation.
  • - confident when traveling on rough, sometimes exposed trail with a pack.
  • - able to cross short sections of snow or walk on steep trail segments.
  • - able to travel along short sections of moderately exposed trail with steel cables to grip for protection.
  • - able to navigate on trails with a map and compass (or gps).

Participants must have:

  • - the experience and willingness to deal with some cold or inclement weather, perhaps for up to several hours.
  • - recent experience with strenuous or multi-day backpacking or mountain hiking.
  • - a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups.

Note: As a Mountaineers group we will operate as inter-dependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe. You are responsible for your own safety and that of your fellow travelers.

Trip Price Detail:    The cost of $3,200.00 for 4 people ($2,900.00 for 8) includes all lodging and hotel gratuities, half-board meals (breakfast and dinner), and transportation (trains, buses, cablecars, funiculars, and chairlifts where part of the main itinerary) during the trip. NOT INCLUDED:  Your airfare (about $1300), commuter train travel between Munich and Munich airport, travel insurance ($75–350), 1 dinner meal in Munich (about $35-60 total), sleepsheet or sleeping bag liner ($40–90), maps (about $30) or GPS, and all lunches and drinks. The trip price may be adjusted slightly based on the number of participants. International medical and emergency evacuation insurance are required for each participant.

Registration Instructions:   Please complete the application form (button below) and submit it.  The application will go automatically to the trip leader.   After the leader’s approval, please pay the 50% deposit ($1,600.00) in order to hold your space on the roster.  As soon as possible after you have registered, please complete the Trip Agreement and Release form below.  Registration will close on about April 30, 2019 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by May 1, 2019.


Cancellation Policy: If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less expenses incurred and a $100 administrative fee.


Hike the Alps of Western Austria

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After payment of your deposit, the leader will send participants a series of emails or letters with information about how to prepare for a successful outing, including recommended gear and guidebooks.


Trip Reports