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Ascent of Grosse Bischofsmütze on 2021-07-23

Climber: Jörn Fiege

Date:Friday, July 23, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grosse Bischofsmütze
    Location:Austria
    Elevation:8064 ft / 2457 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Bischofsmütze is the highest summit in the entire Gosaukamm and quite a sight. It is for good reason that it is named after a Bishop's mitre even though prior to the rockfall in 1993 the resemblance apparently had even been closer. Ever since having laid my eyes on this peak I longed to stand on its top one day, however, the ascent is just beyond my own abilities which is why I eventually hired a local mountain guide - something I can in view of the difficulties only wholeheartedly recommend.

Usual starting point is from the end of the toll road at the Unterhofalm. Up the trail goes to the magnificently placed Hofpürglhütte, from where much of the route to the summit can be seen. The trail contours below Mandlkopf and then heads up pretty much straight towards Bischofsmütze. As soon as the green markings appear it makes sense to already put on helmet and harness albeit the section prior to the Mützenschlucht ("mitre ravine") never exceeds UIAA grade II+ or so. We stashed our hiking poles here.

The Mützenschlucht separates the Bischofsmütze into a twin summit with Kleine ("little") Bischofsmütze to the left of the ravine and Große ("big") Bischofsmütze to the right. For Große Bischofsmütze the climb runs through the entire length of the ravine, not sure if this is also true if you wanted to ascend Kleine Bischofsmütze, which by the way is said to be even more difficult to climb.

Anyway, we kept heading for the obvious beginning of the ravine. Note that patches of snow often linger long into the year, an early ascent may thus require crampons to be safe. The final 300m or so of elevation gain are then proper climbing with the initial wall (just five or six meters high) already posing the biggest challenge at UIAA grade IV. I have read somewhere that it may be possible to avoid this section a tad further to the left (at "only" UIAA III) but must admit that I did not pay attention at the time of my climb, being too focused on getting myself up these first few climbing meters.

Note that the entire mountain is subject to rockfall, in particular so in the ravine proper. Wear a helmet and watch out for other groups that may be climbing the mountain. Actually, the route had been officially closed in 2019 due to severe risk of rockfall, however, this has been taken care of since and the route can again be considered safe - for now.

Anyway, after this initial crux the climbing gets easier, yet there are extended sections of UIAA III and also some scrambling sections. Three hours after our start we got to the summit and views are indeed great - as is the feeling of having finally managed to get to the top of this beautiful mountain.

The descent is identical to the ascent except that we chose to rappel down several sections. Needless to say that on our way back to the car we stopped for a beer at the Hofpürglhütte. Quite a popular place, both for hikers and climbers (there are routes of varying degrees of difficulty in the walls of Mandlkogel right above the hut) and the views from here are just outstanding. An excellent day out!
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Rappeling down the Mützenschlucht.. (2021-07-23). Photo by Jörn Fiege.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3963 ft / 1207 m
    Extra Gain:33 ft / 10 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Route:Hofpürglhütte + Mützenschlucht
    Trailhead:Unterhofalm  4167 ft / 1270 m
    Grade/Class:UIAA IV
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes



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