Hiking in Ötztal: Sölden Tiefenbach Glacier to Vent
Sölden is a famous ski resort in the Ötztal Valley, which includes the Tiefenbach Glacier. Because of the glacier, the skiing season opens very early and closes very late. During the summer the town is much quieter and is a good base for all kinds of hiking trips.
There were four of us in Sölden a few years back: me, my wife my sister, her husband and their baby. The baby needed to be carried in a hiking carrier (basically a backpack that has a baby seat on top). This meant that our trail choices needed to be baby (and daddy!) friendly. We wanted to go on a route that went from place A to B instead of walking around in Sölden’s ski area. Our choice was a fairly easy and beautiful walk, mostly downhill from the Tiefenbach Gletcher to Vent, a small town in Venter Tal, South East from Sölden.
The Tiefenbach Glacier
The Tiefenbach Glacier is a part of Sölden’s excellent ski area. Being a glacier, there’s practically always snow and the ski season starts very early and lasts very late. It’s also a popular place to visit during summer and has a bus connection from Sölden. Taking the bus is the easiest way to go since it takes you to the starting point of the trail which is right at the bottom of the Glacier.
There’s a restaurant and a possibility to take a lift up to the top of the glacier for some magnificent views to Pitztal, the next major valley west of Ötztal. If there is good weather, I recommend going up. The view is really great and the viewing platform is very cool. Check out the photo below…
From Tiefenbach to Weissesskar
The trail, numbered 26, begins at the south end of the parking lot where the bus leaves you. It’s a footpath with no serious climbs or descents and in my opinion not very difficult. The Sölden website www.soelden.com rates its difficulty as medium. It is a little narrow at times and, as always, requires good shoes.
Almost immediately after you leave the parking lot, the ski area and the glacier, you get a sense of being away from it all. Once the trail starts, you’re out there and there’s no easy way off the trail other than going back or down to Vent. Even though the trail is not difficult, this is good to keep in mind and I recommend not going in bad weather. Nevertheless, once on the trail, you get very beautiful views into Venter Tal. When we were on the trail, there were very few people to be seen.
After about an hour and a half you will arrive at Weissesskar, a nice little pond on the mountain. This turned out to be a great place to have a picnic lunch and spend some time just sitting around and enjoying the place. For us it was also a good place to change the baby. She had done her business on the way there and needed fresh diapers…
Weissesskar is at a height of 2656 meters (8714 feet) and we started at 2739 m (8986 ft.) so not a lot of descent.
Weissesskar to Vent
From Weissesskar the same path continues following the mountain side towards south west. You will gradually keep descending on the footpath until you eventually reach a dirt road that takes you down to Vent, which is at 1895 meters (6217 ft.). The total descent for this hike is about 850 meters (2790 ft.) – not too much. This part of the hike takes about 2 hours so the total, depending on your speed would probably be about 4h. That was true for us even with the baby. Soelden.com says it takes 4.3h
The easiest way to get back to Sölden from Vent is a bus. There’s regular service. Remember to check the bus schedules in advance because regular is not necessarily the same as frequent.
Here’s the link to Sölden’s bus timetables: http://www.soelden.com/public-transport-summer
The trail exposes some very nice views into the Venter Tal valley and the opposing mountain range. The Tiefenbach glacier is worth seeing, I think, especially if you take the time to go to the top to see the view to Pitztal. However, from the glacier, the trail basically descends down to the valley on one side of the mountain. Even though the scenery is beautiful, the hike itself is rather easy and doesn’t offer much challenge, if that’s what you’re after. It’s more of a leisurely stroll but I liked the fact that it went from A to B as opposed to a round-trip. Somehow there just always seems to be more of a traveling feeling to that…
Hiking with a baby added to our challenge for sure, for the ones who carried her.
By the way, did you know that Ötztal is where Ötzi the Iceman was found in 1991? He lived in the region around 3300 BCE so people have been in the area for quite some time. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi
To do this hike…
I recommend using Sölden as a base not only for this hike but others in the area also.
- To get to Sölden from overseas, fly to Munich Airport. Consider Innsbruck if flying in from Europe.
- Rent a car from SIXT or Hertz and drive to Sölden
- Make sure you have normal day hike gear. Click here for the Ultimate Packing Guide for the Alps!
- Make sure you have a map. We used Kompass 042 – Inneres Ötztal, Gurgler Tal, Venter Tal, Pitztal 1:25000 (Buy this map from Amazon: Inneres Otztal 042 GPS kompass)
- Hike description on the Sölden website: http://www.soelden.com/map/tour/95/?lg=en&season=SO&path=wandern
- Sölden’s (and Ötztal) bus timetables: http://www.soelden.com/public-transport-summer
- Sölden website: http://www.soelden.com/en
- Ötztal website: http://www.oetztal.com/en
Let me know what you think!