We all have a special place in life that feels like home, a location that serves to console us when our everyday becomes too much and despite the best efforts of David Cameron’s policy of concreting over the countryside, will forever be immune from the worst of human vagaries. Okay, I admit the aforementioned Member of Parliament for Witney is unlikely to get his mitts upon the Austrian Tirol any time soon, but a mere two hours is all it takes for me to return to my Oetztaler playground, where head-space and lebensraum come as standard. The Tirol has many component parts but there is nowhere like the Oetztal and in particular, my first Austrian love, Obergurgl.

This blog post serves to merely act as a visual introduction to the area for the uninitiated; a more substantive post detailing the tourism infrastructure, appraisal of the areas accommodation options and useful links will follow in due course. In the meantime I hope my short pictorial summary of this most unique of areas will inspire you to broaden your knowledge of Austria’s highest parish, as well as to encourage your own adventures in arguably the Alps’ most dramatically picturesque valley.

Obergurgl, as viewed from a footpath that links the village with the lower-station of the Hochgurgl mountain-lift. Note the Hangerer(3021 metres) peak in the top-right corner, locally known as the Oetztal’s answer to the Matterhorn.
In the midst of late lying snowfields above Hochgurgl, a hotel-dominated satellite settlement of Obergurgl.
The snaking path to the Martin Busch hutte above the nearby village of Vent, found amongst a lesser known but equally as beautiful side-valley best accessed from the Oetztal village of Zwieselstein.
The famous Italian lop-eared sheep, synonymous with this border-region and here forming a visually-appealing foreground to this most dramatic of backdrops, as seen below.

The Rotmoos and Gaisberg glacial-valleys, best viewed from afar sitting at the Hohe Mut mountain-hut, as pictured below.

The Hohe Mut mountain-hut, at the top-station of the eponymously named cableway.
The Schonweishutte; accessed via a short but steep hike from the Hohe Mut cableway’s middle-station.
The village of Umhausen, as viewed from the early approaches to the Stuiben waterfalls, the highest in the Tirol.

The imposing and austere surroundings of the Bielefelder hutte near the Inn valley end of the Oetztal, situated in Hochoetz and approximately fifteen minutes from the Acherkogelbahn cableway top-station.

The above doesn’t even serve to scratch the surface of what the Oetztal has to offer but nevertheless, I hope your appetite has been sufficiently whetted.
All photographs are © of C. Bowman, July 2014