A day after ascending the popular peak of the Zillertal Alps, Ahornspitze, I was ready to take on it’s cross-valley rival, Brandberger Kolm. Brandberger Kolm (Kolm, also spelled Kulm, means a rounded mountain crest) sits at around 2700m. While it’s elevation is a little less than 300m lower than Ahornspitze, Brandberger Kolm is by no means a slouch. While Ahornspitze garners all the attention thanks to the Ahornbahn taking some of the hiking sting away for dozens of holiday-makers, the Brandberger Kolm looms over the opposite side of the Ziller River with its own striking majesty untarnished by tourism, as if satisfied with less attention. It also holds the knowledge of a secret that only serious hikers in this region know.

Brandberger Kolm is arguably the more challenging and beautiful hike.

The best place to start the hike to the Kolm is from the namesake village, Brandberg, which involves a 15-minute steep winding road drive from Mayrhofen. There are a couple of places to park your car, but behind the church seemed a perfectly quaint start to the adventure.

You can really divide this hike into three sections where the point of convergence is the Brandberger Kolmhaus mountain hut. The first section is almost a brute force hike from Brandberg to the hut. By brute force, I mean that the hike seems to invoke a direct uphill approach more often than the zig-zag approach.

From the Kolmhaus, the second section, or the real ascent, begins. The way back to the Kolmhaus from the peak is the identical path and completes the second section. But rather than follow the same way back to Brandberg, I would recommend taking a little longer way around by following along a scenic panoramic trail which more gradually brings you back down to Brandberg.

The way back to Brandberg
Taking the high road back

Hike Details

Starting PointBrandberg Church Parking Lot
Ending PointRoundtrip
Distance15.7km
Moving/Total Time4h40m / 8h37m
Eating PlaceBrandberger Kolmhaus

Hike to Brandberger Kolm

Elevation1130 – 1845m
A great place to park for the hike
Cuckoo clock houses
The start of the path with Brandberger Kolm looking down
Brandberg
In case you are wondering about the smells
The hike up to the Kolmhaus

Elevation1845m

The Kolmhaus is by itself a place which must be visited, even without the peak hike. The seclusion, the view, the beer and food, and if you are as lucky as I was, someone will accompany the occasion with some accordian music. It is a haven both for hikers and mountain bikers. On the way up, I was the only guest and quickly guzzled a Coca-Cola to add some extra sugar and caffeine to my system before the big surge. On the way back, it was more crowded, and I savored it more with a couple of beers and a delicious bowl of goulash, my favorite mountain hut meal in the Alps.

The Kolmhaus
Magnificent view from The Kolmhaus
A Zillertal Weißbier (someone spin the label more to the front please)
Weißbier and goulash…. mid-hike Heaven

Elevation1845 – 2329m
The flattest part of the hike behind the Kolmhaus
A mother cow stood her ground. Didn’t see the calf but when they shake their head at you, best to go around.
Upwards into the bright sun
The views continue to get more amazing
When you reach this point, it becomes all about rocks
Inspiration for the final ascent

Elevation2329 – 2720m
Just when you have no idea how you are getting up there, a trail appears
Looking back, another smaller peak for next year
Brandberger Kolm
The trail leads to the backside of the Kolm
An almost barren landscape
The trail near the end gets steeper and more exposed
The ragged ridge behind the Kolm
The steep zig zag towards the peak
The final meters are the most exposed but never set off my Scaredy Bear alarm

Elevation2700m (internet), 2720m (GPS)
At the summit
Magnificent view behind the Kolm

Final Words

As I was savoring my bowl of goulash, I was letting a certain fact sink into my mind with great personal pride. In consecutive days, I managed to achieve my 1st and 3rd longest ascents. However, by knocking off these two summits, I was wondering how I would tempt myself to return to the Zillertal Alps next year. Had I already done the best hikes? It was clear from the views that there are so many more possibilities and not just summits, but lush valleys and reservoirs as well. So much left to explore. I still felt so new to the area and much of it still remains a grey area in the map inside my mind, like the unexplored areas in a video game. The accordian music that was coming from the bench behind me, the rise and fall of happy voices, and laughter filled the air. Just like the day before with the family of folk singers, I truly felt at that moment in the Alps more so than anytime during the hike. It is these experiences that whisk me back to my early teens when the Alps were still a vast fairytale land in my mind. I tried to soak up the Appreciation like the bread I was using to dab up the final spicy juices of my goulash. A moment where the heart smiles with the purest of smiles and the blue butterfly dances in the air tickling your nose.

My updated Top 5 Ascents

HikeAscent
Ahornspitze2290m
Schilthorn2090m
Brandberger Kolm1590m
Uf Spitzen1370m
Hörnlihütte / Schmadrihütte (tied)1360m

Featured Beer

Zillertal Schwarzes
BeerZillertal Schwarzes
BreweryZillertal Bier
LocationZell am Ziller, Austria

3 thoughts on “Brandberger Kolm

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