Rätikon High Route - Ascent to the Totalphütte

Our Circuit on the Rätikon High Trail

Start and End of our Circuit in the Rätikon Mountains was the Lünersee in the austrian Montafon. We started our hike there with a climb to the Totalphütte, continuing across the Schesaplana peak to the Schesaplana-Hut. From there we walked along the Prättigau Höhenweg towards the Carschina Hut. A shortcut brought us to the Tilisuna Hut, where we stayed two nights, before embarking on our last two trail days, of which the first brought us to the Lindauer Hut before we spent our last day walking back to the Lünersee.

Before we could get started on our Rätikon Circuit we had to do some additional shopping. Other than we had previously experienced in the Austrian Huts, the Swiss Alpine Huts not only want visitors to bring a sleeping bag liner, but also a personal pillow case - which we of course didn't have with us. Other than that we also got some snacks and food to power us through the hiking days.


Once we had finished shopping we made our way to the valley station of the Lünserseebahn. This was a good spot to start our adventure since it allows overnight parking agains a fee of about 21€ for 7 days, while overnight parking is illegal in a lot of other places. 

A hiking trail leads from the valley station up to the Lünersee, climbing about 500 meteres. We chose to take the Cable Car, since i wanted to make sure to not stress my just healed knee too much. While it is convenient and fast, we would not recommend the Cable Cars, as the cabin was super crowded and we couldn't see anything and felt very uncomfortable. Especially with Covid-19 still around, it didn't feel nice to be squished into the small cabin with so many people, unable to have any distance or personal space.

Once we arrived at the top we had a small snack and then were just about to start the ascend to the Totalphütte, when it suddenly started raining. We then got a message from the couple we were going to spend the next few days with, telling us that they had just parked their car down below and were going to come up by Cable Car. So we decided to wait for them and hopefully see the rainclouds disappear while waiting. We found a bit of shelter by the side of a hut and waited up.

Ascent to the Totalphütte

Once they caught up, the rain was almost gone, so the four of us continued onwards. The first few hundred meteres led us around the lake on a wide gravel road, before a small footpath forked to the right, leading up the mountain side first through grass, then more and more rocky patches.

By then the sky was clear again and we were rewarded with beautiful, breathtaking views down onto the Lünersee.

The Totalphütte, 2385m

We continued the ascent through rocks and gravel patches, and the closer we got to the hut, the more rain clouds drew up again. Pretty much right after we stepped onto the porch of the Totalphütte, a real downpur started. We were really lucky to make it up to the hut before the rain!

The Totalphütte is beautifully situated on a small plateau in the middle of rocks and scree. A barren, unhospitable but strangely beautiful landscape. On one side of the hut, the view open down to the valley below with the Lünersee. In the distance the Silvretta, Verwall- and Bernina-mountains can be seen. On the other side the Seekopf, Zirmenkopf and Schesaplana arise with their dark walls of sheer rock.

In 2019 almost the whole hut was destroyed by a powder avalanche, so big parts of it have since been rebuild. Especially the sleeping wing now sports a very modern, unusual architecture. We liked it, as it is an interesting contrast. But the best part was that the inside still smelled of fresh wood. Today the hut offers 88 beds in differently sized rooms. We had booked a shared dorm room, and ended up with a room with four beds, which was really nice, since we didn't have any "strangers" in our dorm.

We spent the evening discussing the next days hike, enjoying the very nice food and some of us also some alcoholic beverages served in small glasses on a tray made from antlers. The staff of the hut were also very welcoming and we felt right at home.

After dinnertime, while it was still light outside, we took another short walk to explore the surrounding area. When we came back to the hut, a few people with colorful plastic trumpets and trombones had just come outside and gave a little concert. They were part of a brass band staying at the hut during the night. It was right before sunset and the atmosphere was stunning. What a perfect end to our first day on the Rätikon round tour.


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