Walking in Leutasch - the Puittal
Location: Leutasch area
Time: 4-5 hours
This scenic walk at the base of the impressive Wetterstein range is often overlooked by visitors to the plateau. The walk can be started at a number of different points around the Leutasch area, but, for the sake of simplicity, we start the description from the hamlet of Leutasch Kirchplatzl.
There are a number of different paths heading off through the field, woods and farmhouses along the base of the valley. Heading towards the west and the hamlet of Plaik, the one to look for heads towards the Wangalm and Wettersteinhütte and is marked as 817 or 9.
Once the signs are reached, they lead towards a forestry road which winds its way up the hillside, with views on the bends towards the Gaistal and Hohe Munde or out towards Mösern. After about an hour on this trail, a separate path leads steeply up to the left (marked by red paint markings on either side of the trail). This trail leads directly to the Wettersteinhütte after ½ hour - if you stay on the forestry road, this will also lead to the hut on a more gradual gradient.
Either the Wettersteinhütte or the Wangalm make a suitable refreshment stop - set just above the treeline with wonderful panoramas of the whole plateau. Both are huts with a rich history of climbing on the walls of the mountains that form the backdrop.
Another 30 minutes relatively easy climb takes you to the Hermann-Buhl-Klettergarten - an area of boulders dedicated to the memory of one of Austria's most famous climbing heroes. One of the largest rocks is covered with memorials to people (mostly climbers) who have died in the mountains - one of the most memorable reads "There are many ways to God - one of them leads over the mountains."
Up above the Klettergarten ("climbing-garden") the walls from the Schusselkarspitze to the Hundstallkopf form the formidable barrier which has served as the apprenticeship of generations of German and Austrian mountain and rock climbers.
From the boulders the path leads to the right steadily up the ridge until the Scharnitzjoch at just over 2000 metres is reached in another half hour. The views down into the isolated Puitalm and beyond to the Ahrnspitz and the Karwendel ranges can be truly spectacular.
The pleasant walk down into the alm crosses small streams and plenty of places for lunch and sunbathing before reaching the junction with the route up to the Söllerpass and over to the Meilerhütte. From the top of the ridge 45 minutes walk brings you to the top of the "hanging valley" and from here the path winds down steeply through trees to the valley floor (30 minutes). The "promenade" along the base of the mountains brings you back to Kirchplatzl in another half hour.