Kreuzspitze (3457) is the highest peak in the ridge which is more than 10 kilometers long and which starts at the village Vent in Otzal Alps. The ridge extends all the way to the Similaun hut area, at the Austrian-Italian border.
[Francisco Tarrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra]
Vent village is at around 1900 meters above the sea level and it is accessible by car following a rather good road from Solden (Soelden, Sölden). So the height difference is big and the access route from Vent is rather long. Nevertheless, the route implies only a walk up, and it is normally free of snow in the summertime.
These are main factors behind the popularity of the peak, apart from the factor that you have a pleasant mountain hut at the base of the mountain.
The area is popular due to yet another great reason. The ridge continues to the point where Otzi man (known also as Ötzi the Iceman, the Similaun Man, the Man from Hauslabjoch, the Tyrolean Iceman, Homo tyrolensis, Otzi mummy, Otzi Iceman, and the Hauslabjoch mummy) was found in the ice in 1991, at 3200 meters above the sea level.
It was at least 5000 years old and his body was very much preserved in the ice, the oldest mummy ever found. Presently, the body is kept in the special museum in Bolzano, Italy. The man was killed, the part of an arrow was found in his body, so this is a 5000 years old crime scene.
The route to Kreuzspitze
There are two parking places in Vent, 5 Euro per day in August 2015, one is at the entrance to the village and the other in the village at the lift station. From there you walk in the south direction following signs to Martin Busch hut and Similaun hut.
The signs will tell you that you need 3 hours to Martin Busch hut, but you can do this part in half of the indicated time. I started at 7:45 AM and I was at the hut at 9:25.
This first part is a long walk along the valley in the south and southwest direction, and you will slowly gain the altitude.
Somewhere in the middle of the section, you will pass Schaferhutte (Schafer hut, 2246 m) which appears to be an always open shelter without any equipment or blankets. I guess this you can use only as an emergency shelter in case of very bad weather. Not clear who owns it.
Martin Busch hut is at 2501 m above the sea. This is where the dirt road ends. I have seen some groups having their rucksack and equipment transported by some terrain vehicles from Vent to the hut (should I say how much I dislike the idea?).
Anyhow, from this point you will turn in the northwest direction following a very steep path over meadows, which zigzags toward the plateau of Brizzisee (Brizzi lake), known also as Samoarsee (Samoar lake). It is at the altitude of around 2900 meters. This area is perfect for putting the tent, with stunning views of all mountains in the Similaun area.
Similaun hut is also clearly seen, as well as the whole route which goes to it. I have seen some people staying there in the tent. After the lake, you will be on a rocky terrain all the way to the summit which you will approach from the southeast side following a nice ridge. All the way up is just a walk and no snow in the summertime.
I was at the summit at 11:55, so it took me 4 hours and 10 minutes from Vent. I was going very light, no equipment, no extra clothes as the weather was simply perfect, a small rucksack, and very light hiking shoes. I used walking poles as usual. See below a few photos from the tour.
You do not need any special equipment to climb the mountain. Here is a short summary:
For the clothing in the Alps in general, please see my another text.
Accommodation in Otzal Alps area
If you plan to go to this part of the Alps, you can make accommodation through Booking.com, they have plenty of options with fully equipped apartments and also hotels. I have used their services many times in the past.
For the tours described here, I was renting a pleasant flat in a house in Huben. You may not believe it, but it was only 160 Euro per week, completely equipped, with kitchen, and the price was the same for one or two people.
I hope you enjoyed my text and find it useful. Remember, I shall be happy to read your comments, and shall answer any question you might have. So scroll down to the comment box…
Here is one YouTube video of the route to the summit of Kreuzspitze: