A route for everyone
No other mountain hut can be accessed on foot from Mayrhofen as quickly as Gasthof Zimmereben. From the centre of Mayrhofen, a quick walker can reach the tranquillity and stunning views of this newly renovated yet traditional alpine hut in under 30 minutes, with no need for buses or cable cars. This makes it the perfect destination for relaxing days, for arrival or departure day excursions or for days when the weather might look a little ‘changeable’! And, there is a route for everyone: a short, sharp climb awaits those who choose Huterlanersteig route (by Gasthof Zillertal) whereas a more gradual, leisurely ascent is offered by the Mariensteig route (over the bridge by the Spar supermarket on the Umfahrungsstrasse). As an out-of-condition Mum carrying an 11kg baby, guess which route I most often take?!
A climber’s paradise
Even adrenalin junkies will find a route to challenge them as there are 3 via ferrata (fixed rope climbing routes) leading up to the hut. The ‘Huterlaner’ route is the ‘easiest’ of the three, reaching a grade of C at its most difficult sections. With the addition of a brand new children’s section in August 2015, now even children as young as 6 years old can enjoy the thrills of scaling this 210m rock face.
The ‘Pfeilspitzwand’ is the longest route with 700m of fixed rope and has a higher difficulty rating with two –D sections. For romantics with a good head for heights, the double recliner lounger perched in the so-called ‘Love Grotto’ half way up the ‘Pfeilspitzwand’ is the ultimate secluded picnic spot.
Finally, the ‘Zimmereben’ route has a difficulty level of D+ and is only recommended for experienced climbers with good physical fitness. Having been encouraged up this route by a friend a few years back and seriously considering calling a rescue helicopter (!), I can vouch for the difficulty of the several vertical, partly overhanging sections as well as the amazing feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top. However, I haven’t done it since, so my advice is to try the ‘Huterlaner’ and ‘Pfeilspitzwand’ first and if you still fancy a further challenge then the ‘Zimmereben’ may be for you.
Via ferrata equipment can be hired locally at the Salewa shop directly at the start of the routes for just €12.
Views to revitalise
Whichever route you decide to take, you can be sure of a friendly welcome from the hut owners, Hans-Jörg and Kristin, and their team. Make sure to also say hello to the hut’s VIP residents – the goats and deer who live in the enclosure adjacent to the hut and provide children with something interesting to look at while the adults enjoy the amazing views onto Mayrhofen and the Ahorn mountain. If you have just arrived in town, try and spot your accommodation – the view of town is second to none for getting your bearings.
A delicious menu
Naturally, traditional Zillertal specialities are available on the shady terrace to reenergize and revitalise hikers and climbers alike. My personal recommendations include the Kasspressknödel (pressed cheese dumpling) with salad, Kaiserschmarrn (fluffy, chunky, chopped pancake) and any of the delicious homemade cakes, all washed down with a refreshing Zillertal beer. Families are also well provided for with kid-friendly dishes such as Schnitzel and chips, sausages, spaghetti Bolognese and cheese and ham toasties. Warm food is served from when the hut opens at 8am until 10pm in the evening making the Zimmereben the perfect destination for a more energetic evening walk or unique dinner location.
Zimmereben is a hut which is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike and offers a destination for all ages and most fitness abilities. Either as part of a leisurely day excursion or a quick climb for a view, Zimmereben deserves to be a part of any Mayrhofen holiday.