Although it’s not the highest, Ankogel (3249 m) gave the name to the entire mountain group. The Ankogelgruppe is part of the Hohe Tauern and lies in the states of Carinthia and Salzburg. The peak of Ankogel is located right on their border.
The farmer Patschg was the first who climbed to the top of the majestic pyramid in 1762. The first tourist ascent was made by Karl Thurwieser with forester Ries in 1822. At that time, Ankogel was the first climbed glacier peak in the Alps. Today, the majestic stone pyramid is accessible even without glacier equipment, but not without a very sure step in the unstable rocky terrain, especially in the summit parts.
Ankogel used to be 16 meters higher. In 1932 the top part of the mountain collapsed during a massive rock slide.
The Ankogel is usually accessed via the Osnabrücker hütte or, even easily, via the Hannoverhaus from Mallnitz (either with or without the cable car). From the northern side of the mountain you can come from Bockstein, but the climb is a bit longer.
Reach Hannoverhaus by cable car or hiking
The hut belongs to the German Alpenverein and lies at an altitude of 2565 m. It is an important point on the route of the Tauernhöhenweg, crossing of the Hohe Tauern National Park. In the summer season it is usually open from July to mid-September, the winter season lasts from the end of December to the end of March.
The current chalet was opened in 2013 and is already the third Hannoverhaus built under the Arnoldhöhe summit. The first served from 1888 and the second from 1911. The chairman of the Hanover section and professor at the University of Hanover, Karl Moritz Arnold, was responsible for the construction of both of them, in whose honor the mountain was renamed Arnoldhöhe and a mausoleum was built on top.
The first and easiest option is to take the Ankogelbahn I. and II. It consists of two parts with a transfer at the middle station Hochalmblick (1930 m). There is a parking lot at the lower station at an altitude of 1270 m. From the top station of the cable car, it takes about twenty minutes to get to the hut.
The hiking route from Mallnitz ascents along the cable car, along the marked footpath No. 517. From the intermediate station, it is possible to go directly along the ski slopes. Easier but longer option is to follow marked trail. The ascent takes around four hours and offers amazing views of the opposite Hochalmspitze and Sauleck.
A more difficult access route leads from Böckstein. It is suitable fot the car approach to the northern side of the massif. You can park directly above the northern portal of the eight-kilometer Tauern railway tunnel.
The ascent begins comfortably along a wide path along the stream through the Anlaufbachtall valley. Route No. 516 crosses the stream on a footbridge and climbs steeply through the forest. It thins out with the altitude and the views open up. Cross several small streams where you can fill up on water. The path to the Korntauern saddle (2459 m) is marked well even in the upper part. Slip through a notch in the rocky ridge, and see the slopes above Mallnitz meander through the meadow below you.
Descend two hundred meters to the Kleiner Tauernsee and at the crossing head towards the Hannoverhaus. Descend for a while, then climb to the inconspicuous Luggertörl saddle (2380 m), descend again and then straight to the Hannoverhaus (2550 m).
An interesting and challenging alternative is to combine the ascent from Böckstein in one day. How we enjoyed an almost thirty-kilometer hike enhanced by two and a half kilometers of elevetion.
Southwest ridge from the Hannoverhaus
The signpost by the hut says that it takes 3.5 hours to reach Ankogel by the trail No. 520. If you want a bonus extension, hike up to the chapel at the top of the Arnoldhöhe. Here the old Hannoverhaus used to be.
The trail traverses the southern slope of Grauleitspitze. Later it turns upwards to the left to Ankogel. Towards the right, we would descend to the Celler Hütte bivouac hut, which can be an important point for a multi-day hike.
Cross a few snow fields on a scree slope. The Lasacher Kees Glacier lies on the left below. You probably won't need the crampoons for most of the summer, but as always, the difficulty of the ascent is affected by the current conditions.
Climb the ridge to the Kleiner Ankogel (3096 m). The path is marked and leads simply straight up between rugged boulders. Stonemen mark the peak of the Kleiner Ankogel (3096 m). Here we turn left and 150 meters remain to the top. Then climb steeper along a stony ridge to the north to the summit cross. The rock here is broken and requires a certain amount of caution.
From the east, Osnabrückerhütte
A more challenging option is access from the east via the Osnabrückerhütte. The hut is located at an altitude of 2022m, it is open from mid-June to mid-October and belongs to the Osnabrück section of the German Alpenverein. The stone hut has a capacity of just over fifty beds.
From the parking lot at the Kölnbreinspeicher dam (1,912 m), climb an elevation of only 200 meters. The dam is located at the end of the Maltatal valley and can be reached via the Hochalmstrasse toll road.
From the parking lot at the eastern side of the dam, walk around the dam along the northern side. There is a wide signed path No. 537. From the end of the southern edge of the dam, there is a climb through the valley of the Fallbach stream. The ascent takes about two hours.
The ascent from the hut continues through the valley of the Fallbach stream. The route is marked with the number 538. Hike along the left bank of the stream and pass several waterfalls on the way. Above the rocky step, the trail turns right and continues in a north direction towards the Unterer and Oberer Schwarzhornsee lakes, up to the signpost at the Zwischenelendscharte saddle (2676 m). From here we have a beautiful view of the eastern ridge of Ankogel and the Kleinlendkees glacier.
Reach the edge of the Kleinlendkees glacier by the rocky ridge. Along its southern edge, climb up to the final ridge. Expect exposed terrein and climbing I-II.UIAA.
The difficulty of the ascent depends on the condition of the glacier and the amount of snow. Don't forget to check the current conditions and weather forecast in advance. The condition of the glacier and crevasses changes during the season. In addition to crampons and an ice axe, you need need a complete equipment for a glacier hike.