22.2 km – with Prasana.
Innsbruck is a little town in Tyrol, Austria, embedded between the North Chain in the Karwendel Alps to the north and the Patscherkofel and Serles to the South. I booked a hotel in the North of Innsbruck so that we would have direct access to the North Chain (we later found our hotel, Gasthof Innbrücke, in our Rough Guide of Austria from 1998). We asked for advice in our hotel and Daniel, one of the staff, sent us up to 2 Alms: Arzler Alm (1067m) and Höttinger Alm (1487m). We started at the Alp Zoo and walked up a steep slope to Hungerburg cable car station at Hermann-Buhl-Square. (Born in Innsbruck, the Austrian mountaineer Hermann Buhl was the first person to climb Nanga Parbat in the Pakistan Himalayas in the 1953, solo and without bottled oxygen. Nanga Parbat is one of the most difficult mountains of the world.) Here (back at Hermann-Buhl-Square), we wanted to pick up our hiking path to the first Alm. It was closed. Surprise! So we decided to go to the Höttinger Alm first.
We walked through woods with high pine trees through which we could get glimpses onto Innsbruck; the track wide and perfectly sign-posted. Still, we managed to leave the recommended path and find ourselves in a murderous hillside, fighting our way for each meter forward 2 meters up (I’m exaggerating a little here). But it was dramatic. I very well deserved my red currant juice when we finally arrived at the Alm. From there we had a fantastic view onto the whole city of Innsbruck beneath us and the Europe bridge south of Innsbruck.
After finishing wheat beer and currant juice, I couldn’t forget about the cake mentioned by Daniel that was available at the Arzler Alm. Already getting on Prasana’s nerves about it, we had to go there. Even if it added 10 km to our way down from the mountain back to our hotel. On the way to yoghurt and Molotoff gateau (both incredibly delicious and full-hearted recommended) we met other hikers and lots of dying mountain bikers, who fought their way up the mountain. Advice: if your eyes are already popping out from exhaustion: slow down. (Maybe I should have offered first aid…) From Arzler Alm, we took a short cut and were back to the cable car station within 10 minutes. (The sign-posted estimation of 40 mins was probably made for pensioners who just got operated on their hips and still walk on crutches.)
– great route
– well sign-posted
– great views
– great cakes