Hike under Similaun
It is very popular hike even off the main summer season with skialpi or snowshoe (possible only in hiking boots, but only early in the morning before the snow starts to sink) to the mountain hut lying on the border between Austria and Italy with a nice view of Similaun and the deep valley on the Italian side.
Valley of Niedertal
The valley Niedertal looks in the early spring differently than in the main summer season. Instead of green grass and sheep, there is still much of the countryside under snow. The path from the hut of Martin Busch leads along a small canyon of creek Niederbach to the bridge, where the path separates to the beautiful outlook crest Marzellkamm. In the background you can see snowy glacier on Mount Hauslabkogel (3402 m asl) rutted by skialpinists.
Hauslabkogel (3402 m asl)
Niedertal valley is quite wide and does not rise very sharply, so that also families with children would cope with the ascent in summer. On the right of the photo you can see the ascent ridge to Saykogel from the east. Skialpinist „winter“ path, however, leads under it in the deep gutter. Rutted slope on Hauslabkogel certainly does not look virginal.
Valley of Niedertal covered in snow looks almost like a wide highway and not a place in almost three thousand meters above sea level. On the horizon you can already see as a small black dot hut Similaun lying in Niederjoch Pass (3016 m asl).
Niederjoch (3016 m asl)
If you look closely, you can see how the summer path differs from the spring path. In summer you need to bypass glacier Niederjochferner from the right through the rocky hillsides. In winter or early spring you need to go straight up on the glacier along the footsteps trodden by skialpinists. This part of ascent is short, but the sharpest on the whole hike.
After about 1.5–2 hours lasting walk you finally ascend to the pass Niederjoch, where is Similaun hut located – already in Italy.
From the hut you can see almost the whole side ridge leading above Vent: burly Hauslabkogel (3402 m asl), a little unimpressive Saykogel (3355 m asl), Sennkogel (3400 m asl), Kreuzkogel (3338 m asl) and at the very end is a great outlook Kreuzspitze (3455 m asl).
Vernagt stausee dam
The view in the south direction to Italy is into real depths. That is no surprise. The dam of Vernagt Stausee is more than 1,300 altitude meters below. Above the lake rises Mastaunspitze. Monumental mountain Ortler rises at the very far on the horizon.
View to Similaun
For most tourists is the main view to the east towards Similaun.
Similaun (3606 m asl)
Similaun peak rises high above the hut as the crown. In summer is the peak accessible only with glacial equipment. In winter and spring it is covered with snow and there are footprints trodden by skialpinists, so it is available with normal hiking equipment. But only at your own risk :-)
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