The highest peak of the Zillertal Alps, the 3,510 m high Gran Pilastro, is famous for its homonymous ice wall.
Image gallery: Gran Pilastro
The summit of the Gran Pilastro is part of the Zillertal Main Ridge and represents the national border between Austria and Italy. It consists of a massive alpine central gneiss, covered by green slate. The north face is glaciated and forms a ramarkable 300 m high ice wall. This route is one of the classic alpine routes.
If you would like to scale the Gran Pilastro from South Tyrol, you can do so starting from Prati/Val di Vizze and Fundres. Furthermore, also from Lappago in Valle di Tures you can hike up to the Passo Ponte di Ghiaccio mountain hut (2,545 m asl) and further on to the summit of the Gran Pilastro. Or you can choose the easier version via south west ridge, which begins at the Gran Pilastro mountain hut (2,710 m asl).
This was also the route the alpinist Paul Grohmann, co-founder of the Österreichischer Alpenverein, the Austrian Alpine Club, and the alpine guides Peter Fuchs and Georg Sarner from San Giacomo in Vizze di Dentro choose for the first ascent in July 1865. The ice wall, however, can be scaled from the North Tyrolean Schlegeistal valley. F. Dyck and Hans Hörhager were the first people to ascend this ice wall, called “Hochfeiler-Eiswand”, in 1887.