Bright the summer sun is shining in the valley and the temperature in the car is rising to 34 degrees Celsius. Time to leave the heat behind for a weekend in the mountains. Located at the very end of Ötztal Valley, Vent is nestled in the heart of the Ötztal Alps and is a great base for walking to Martin-Busch-Hut and bagging the summit of Kreuzspitze.
About 100 people are living here in the small mountain community of Vent year-round. Most of them make their living as farmers or by providing accommodation for mountaineers. Vent sits at 1,895 meters and such a high altitude translates to a very pleasant 23 degrees Celsius this June afternoon. Resting in the shadow of “Three-Thousanders”, high altitude peaks averaging 3,000 meters in elevation, Vent is one of Tirol’s most scenic locations. The church spire rises above a handful of homes, inns and farmsteads.
As in most Tirolean villages, the church spire dominates the community of Vent. Franz Senn, a priest in Vent from the 1860s onwards, has laid the foundation of modern mountaineering in Tirol and was a co-founder of the German Alpinist Association. Senn scaled the heights of the Ötztal Alps and developed hiking routes for people to experience the beauty they had to offer. He trained mountain guides and expanded the local network of shelters—a remarkable pioneering feat in those days when maps of this vast glacial area didn’t even exist.
Today, Vent is known as a great base for launching mountain adventures in mountaineering and hiking. Though lacking a ski resort of its own, almost any outdoor adventure is at your fingertips here. Belonging to the village of Sölden, world-class skiing opportunities are only minutes away. Amid the myriad of activities, Vent still preserves it original, quaint charm. The only chair lift in the community runs in the summer and fall for easy access up the mountain and to Stablein Alm On-Mountain Restaurant. From there, a trail winds all the way up to Breslauer Hut at an elevation of 2,844 meters.
We wanted to spend the night in a village inn and before dinner we strolled through the village to get to a tiny Mountaineer’s Chapel, which has been the venue of ARTeVent series of events for three years, hosting photographic exhibitions and art projects. Looking up along Venter Ache River to the end of the valley, we watched the last rays of the setting sun bath Rofenhöfe Farmsteads in a mellow light. Lying at an elevation of 2,000 meters, Rofenhöfe are Austria’s highest-lying permanent Alpine settlement.
Vent Area’s most prominent son is Ötzi, the 5000-year-old body of “the Iceman”. The mummy was found in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian–Italian border by two tourists who were walking off the path from Fineilspitze (elev. 3,514m) to Tisenjoch Col (elev. 3,280m). Because the body was covered in ice shortly after his death, it had only partially deteriorated. This well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic Europeans. As the body had been located inside Italian territory, Ötzi and his belongings are on display at the Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, Italy.
3,455-meter Kreuzspitze Peak is one of only few Three-Thousanders in Ötztal Valley that is not capped by a steep peak of ice, which makes it one of the easier to climb. However, set the alarm clock early to make it here before the sun does.
On your way back to Vent, Martin-Busch-Hut provides the perfect rest stop for hikers. Offering a comfy base for the night, the hut extends a warm welcome and a sincere invite to call it a day.
More detailed information on Vent can be found at tyrol.com/vent