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This summer, I plan to walk from the Wormser Hütte in Austria to the Heilbronner Hütte in Austria. I know that this can be done in 1 day, but when googeling, the tour length differs a lot. Some sources speak about 20km(12.4mi) and 1000hm and others about 30km(18.6mi) and 2000hm. This makes some difference for me. Therefore I tried to use Google to get the directions and then tools like GPSVisualizer to plot a profile.

Unfortunately, Google Maps can't find the path over the mountains, but just a highway.

So, how can I get more information about such concrete tour plans? I'm particularly interested in the length of the tour and the height differences.

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I'm assuming the answer would be to use a topographical map, but the only ones I know of are produced by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Perhaps Austria has a similar agency that produces topos? Edit: www.austrianmap.at might be a good resource for you. –  Greg.Ley Mar 27 '12 at 23:00
    
Thanks for the hint. I now managed to get a GPS track of the tour (from www.gpsies.com) and then plotted this with GPSVisualizer to get a profile. –  RoflcoptrException Mar 29 '12 at 15:34
    
Could someone come up with a better title? The current is far too unspecific. I'd like to do it myself, but I can't come up with something good. –  Henrik Hansen Mar 30 '12 at 11:33
    
I have made the experience that km figures are completely useless in the alps. There are so many factors like altitude gain and terrain that there is no way to estimate walking time without actually walking it once. The time estimates the alpine club gives are pretty good though, I'd consider myself a semi-fast hikers and I'm almost always 'on time'. Have you checked the huts' websites, they will have walking times to all adjacent huts. –  m90 Mar 30 '12 at 18:40

1 Answer 1

The website of the Heilbronner Hütte has a pretty nifty leaflet concerning the tour you are planning. It is in German but I guess you'll be able to read the graph.

Be aware that it states:

Diese großartige und abwechslungsreiche aber sehr lange Tour wird nur ausdauernden Berggehern empfohlen.

which roughly translates to "This amazing and varied, yet very long tour is recommended for experienced and persevering mountain hikers only". The terrain and trails seem to be "easy to medium".

I have made the experience that warnings of this kind issued by the alpine club should usually be considered a fact - which does not mean you shouldn't do it in case you are in reasonable shape, but if you aren't, maybe look for something around 4 to 5 hours, it's no fun hiking for 10 hours if you're already exhausted after 4 of them.

Also be aware that if you are going in early summer (June & July) the chance of thunderstorms is very high in the afternoon / early evening, so if the weather report is not 100% sure, you better leave really early so you're at the hut you'll be staying overnight at something around 4 or 5 P.M., maybe even earlier. You really don't want to live through a thunderstorm at 2500m.

In case you want to buy maps I can recommend either the maps issued by the German alpine club which are really detailed (you'll need those if you want to leave the trails) but rather expensive or the maps made by the biggest commercial map maker Kompass from Austria, that make rather cheap but still very useful maps, many of them come with an accompanying booklet that has example tours and hut infos.

In general, I would always recommend the huts' websites as the best resource for planning tours in the alps. 99% of them have one and they put a lot of effort in keeping them up to date with useful information. Google Translate will be your friend in case you don't speak German. There's an interactive map at the website of the DAV that will guide you to every hut in the eastern alps.

Have a nice trip and enjoy the alps!

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Thanks a lot for this long answer. I'm living in the Alps and German is my native language so I don't have any problems to read it. My problem is that the leaflet from the Heilbronner Hütte has very different references to the distance of the tour than other sources e.g. hikr.org, gpstracks.com, Wormser Hütte, etc. Therefore I wanted to find a more objective source. –  RoflcoptrException Mar 31 '12 at 10:52
    
@Roflcoptr I never made any bad experiences with Alpenvereinsangaben so I just blindly stick to them. I hiked the eastern part of the Verwall last year and times were up to the minute for me. –  m90 Mar 31 '12 at 10:57
    
@Roflcoptr Also, if you're into the computers and map thing bizniz, have you heard of komoot? They do have a really nice tour planning/mapping application. Never used it for the alps yet though. –  m90 Mar 31 '12 at 11:08

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