Monday, June 24, 2019

A Visit with Frau Hitt

Frau Hitt is a prominent rock spire that sits on the Nordkette ridge above Innsbruck (photo below taken in February).

The rock spire bears the name Frau Hitt because it resembles a woman on a horse.  Legend suggests that Frau Hitt and her horse were petrified after offering a beggar only a stone to eat.  In addition, our apartment here is on Frau Hitt Strasse and I look at it every day when I walk home from work.  Thus, I've been hoping to pay Frau Hitt a visit.

I finally had the opportunity today.  Originally I planned on doing it from our apartment, but the heat is on here in Europe and it would have been a 5000+ vertical foot sufferfest, so I elected to utilize the Nordkettenbahn to save my self some pain and agony.

After riding the cable car to Seegrube, one does a long traverse westward below the crest of the Nordkette.  Today there were a few snow fields to cross, but they weren't difficult.

I did the hike solo, but found a few friends along the way.

After the traverse, one climbs about 1200 vertical feet to the Frau Hitt Saddle.  The route is rocky and steep, but easier and with better footing than ascending say Mt. Superior from Cardiff Pass.

Frau Hitt was friendly today and allowed me to pass.  She even posed for a selfie with me.

The saddle is a narrow ridge that is quite confined.  I was glad to have the place to myself as there weren't many rocks smooth enough to sit on.  Below is a view looking south showing Innsbruck, the Wipp Valley immediately behind it, the Tux Alps on the left, and the Stubai Alps on the right.  What a day!

To the west of Frau Hitt is the Vordere Brandjochspitze (left peak) and Hintere Brandjochspitze (right peak), with the latter at 2599 meters towering just over 2000 meters above the Inn River.

I harbored thoughts of trying to bag it, but the route looked difficult and I decided it was best to let it pass.

Speaking of the Inn River, there it is about 1600 meters below the saddle.

If your first thought when you looked at the picture above was "damn, that looks like a great ski line" then all I can say is great minds think alike.

Frau Hitt sits at the western terminus of the Innsbrucker Klettersteig (sign below).  This is a via ferrata route that follows the Nordkette Ridge from the top of the Hafelakar cable car above Seegrube.  Click here for more info.  You'll also notice a sign point pointing to the left and downhill, which marks the hiking trail that descends down the back side.  The first 50 feet or so of this hiking trail looked really sporty to me.  I was glad to turn around. 

After my time with Frau Hitt, I descended to the Höttinger Alm, which is a great spot for a refreshment.

I've become addicted to stopping at these places and enjoying a johannessbeere gespritzt, which is soda water with a little black current juice in it. Very refreshing.

To close out the hike, I ascended back to Seebrube for one last view of Innsbruck before riding the cable car down.

All-in-all a very nice hike, but if you are in Innsbruck and have time for only one hike, my recommendation would be to take the Goetheweg from Hafelekar at the top of the Nordkettenbahn eastward to the Pfeisshutte (info here).  That remains my favorite in the immediate vicinity.  

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