The demure one
It is not without reason that the highest mountain in the Stubai Alps has the name it does. If you take a look at the summit from the east, you will understand why it is called Zuckerhütl (German term for sugarloaf), a brave pyramidal peak, like a sugarloaf on the one side, charming from the other; cool and denying, rocky and rough on the next side. The Zuckerhütl reigns over the region. The highest mountain of the Stubai valley is positioned at the border to South Tyrol, but yet is still solely on North Tyrolean territory. Despite its impressive height of 3,507 meters above sea level, the Zuckerhütl is a rather conservative mountain, however even it is not a ”walk in the park”. Above all, it is the climb to the peak that can pose challenging.
A well-deserved reward
You must only cast a glance from the west, towards the south, and then to the east to know why it is worth making the effort to ascend the highest peak of the Seven Summits. Not only are there the Dolomites, which sparkle in the sun, but also the Zillertal Alps that smile back at you. Next to them, the Hohe Tauern mountain range with the Großglockner and the Großvenediger (Great Venetian) present themselves, and the Ötztal Alps as well as the Karwendel mountain range send their greetings. These mountains welcome you heartily.
In 1863 Joseph Anton Specht, one of the first mountaineers in the Alps with numerous first ascents, started together with the most qualified mountain guides of the Stubai valley, Alois Tanzer and
Pankraz Gleinser, the ascent from the south side of the Schaufelnieder across the Pfaffenjoch and the Pfaffenschneide to the peak of the 3,507 meter high Zuckerhütl. Some years then passed before mountaineers regularly summited the Zuckerhütl, thanks to the work of the Austrian and the German Alpine Associations. In 1875, the first alpine hut in the Stubai valley, the Dresdner Hütte, was built. Experienced mountain shepherds, chamois hunters and mountain guides also played a considerable role in the development of the mountain.
Starting point: top station Schaufeljochbahn, Stubai Glacier (3,170 m a.s.l.)
Destination: Zuckerhütl (3507 m)
Walking time: ↑ 3½ h ↓ 4½ h
Vertical height: 400 Hm
Huts and cabins: Jochdohle (3150 m), Dresdner Hütte (2308 m)
SEVEN SUMMITS rating
Characteristics: High mountain route including glacier-climbing passages (UIAA II –2nd level on the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation scale), full safety equipment mandatory (rope, crampons, etc.), very good orientation needed in case of foggy conditions, knowledge about rescue measurements out of crevasses needed as well. We recommend that people without high mountain experience go with a certified mountain guide. Experience in hiking and appropriate fitness is also required when going with a guided tour.
HOW TO GET THERE / STARTING POINT
The starting point of this tour is the top station of the Schaufeljoch cable car at Stubai glacier. To get there, take the Eisgrat cable car (first ascent at 8 am) to the top and then switch to the Schaufeljoch
cable car. Numerous free parking spaces are provided at the mountain base station of the Stubai glacier.
Start from the restaurant Jochdohle near the top station of Schaufeljoch cable car and walk south alongside the bottom of the Schaufelspitze until you arrive at the top station of the Fernau chair lift (not operated in summer) – Fernaujoch or Schaufelnieder. From there, hike on the Heinrich Klier route to Pfaffenjoch (3,212 m a.s.l.), where you cross back to the Stubai side of the mountain and pass pass the Sulzenauferner (glacier). Once you are on the Pfaffensattel (saddle), depending on the conditions, you can scramble over large rocks to the top. Duration: 3.5 hours for ascent.
You can descend on the same route as coming up (Pfaffensattel – Sulzenauferner – Pfaffenjoch – top station Schaufeljoch cable car). Alternatively, there is the possibility to descend directly to the
Dresdner Hütte. To do this, leave the ascending path shortly before Pfaffenjoch and descend via Fernauferner.