With its 3,905 m of altitude, the Ortles overtowers all the mountains of Tyrol and is for this reason also called “King Ortles”.
The Ortles, the main peak of the homonymous Ortles Alps, has got three ridges: the North ridge, the South ridge and the East ridge. Located in the south-west of South Tyrol in upper Val Venosta, the Ortles is not only the highest mountain of South Tyrol, but also of the entire Tyrol region. The mountain mainly consists of Main Dolomite, a considerably solid type of rock tending to form deep crevices, and is heavily glaciated. The Ortles north face is considered to be the largest ice face of the Eastern Alps.
In 2004, the Ortles celebrated its 200 years’ anniversary of the first ascent: in September 1804 Archduke John of Austria ordered to explore the mountain. It was Josef Pichler from the Val Passiria to be the first alpinist on the peak. He climbed the Ortles mountain via the difficult north west flank, the so-called “Hintere Wandeln”, starting from the village of Trafoi. Today this ascend is considered to be one of the most remarkable successes in alpinism in the opening of the Eastern Alps.
Numerous routes snake to the top of the Ortles, several of which, however, have not been repeated after their first ascend. The normal trail begins at the Payer mountain hut at 3,029 m asl and follows the North ridge. Another common route is the East ridge, which is scenic, but more difficult than the normal route.