in the beginning there was mountaineering
„Ginzling, in the beginning there was mountaineering.“ The title of the booklet by Alfred Kröll hits the nail on the head. The village of Ginzling and its 400 residents, lying in the middle of the Zillertaler Alps nature park, has been a mountaineering village from the very beginning, in the truest sense of the word.
“What is up there? Why do you really have to go up there?“ asks Ginzling resident Alfred Kröll in his afore-mentioned book. Almost a paradox question in a place so closely associated with Alpinism. The pioneers of mountain climbing met here 150 years ago, and their enthusiastic reports were followed by more and more guests with with rope and pick and the small settlement grew into a village. Today it is just as it was back then: Ginzling, the location in the heart of the Zillertaler Alps, makes the mountaineer's heart beat faster. Just getting there is impressive, running optionally via the so-called gorge route or through the single-lane tunnel. Once you have passed through the narrow Zemm gorge, the valley opens up a little, and you can't help but look upwards. The rock walls tower up imposingly: on the left the slopes of the Tristner, the elegant local mountain for the Ginzling villagers, on the right the foothills of the Tuxer main ridge, which even here reaches heights of almost 3,000 metres. According to Alpine Association maps, the Zillertaler Alps boast 72 three-thousand-metre peaks. For the majority of them, Ginzling is the starting point, and this includes the highest Zillertaler peak, the Hochfeiler (3509m). Believe it or not, Ginzling is also the valley location for seven Alpine Association lodges. Directly on the edge of the settlement the Hochgebirgs-Naturpark Zillertaler Alps begins, with an area of 379km².
One thing on which statistics cannot provide information is the huge expanse of the central alpine glacier landscape, which inspires the high-altitude hiker on his tour from one lodge to the next. Without needing to descend into the valley, the popular Berlin high-altitude trail runs in up to seven daily stages over the Zillertaler Alps to the Tuxer main ridge. Directly from the village you can start the tour by descending through the Floitental to the Greizer mountain lodge. By the next evening at the latest, when you have arrived at the Berlin lodge after another day's hike, you will pay respect to the work of the German Alpine Association sections – above all to the mountaineers from Berlin.
Some one thousand metres further down, the Nasenwand fixed-rope route invites well-trained guests from the mountaineering village onto a steep face. Those who have mastered this fixed-rope route will perhaps feel encouraged to try their hand on the proper rock. No problem, the rock walls and boulder blocks around Ginzling offer plenty of opportunities for action. This is increasingly becoming a meeting point for the international sport climbing scene. The uncontested centre is the “Ewigen Jagdgründe“, an unusual climbing garden on huge granite blocks with about one hundred different routes.
It is time to look around the village. There is a modern wood and glass building in a prominent position right next to the road. The nature park house is shared by the Ginzling local authority and the nature park support staff, and this is the visible result of a fruitful cooperation. The village, the nature park and the Alpine Association have for many years worked closely together. The “mountaineering village Ginzling“ turned into a fixed concept and became a pilot project for the Alpine Association mountaineering villages initiative.
Many stories could be told about the mountaineering village of Ginzling. But as for the question What is up there? Why do you really have to go up there? – every person has to find their own answer to that.