It´s a once in a lifetime eperience to bike to the Pitscher Joch. Not only is the alpine route spectacular in views and a challenge for your calves, it´s also a historical and archaeological highlight.
The criterion from Breitlahner to Schlegeis
One need to be in shape if you want to take the bike to the Joch. There are several starting points. It´s 34 kilometers from Breitlahner to the historical Joch at the Italian border. Hardbitten biker already ride their bike from mayrhofen and take the long way. Ginzling is a wonderful starting point as well. But most bikers start in Breitlahner. From there you will pass 8 curves and 4 natural stone tunnels following the toll road Schlegeis to the reservoir.
At the Schlegeis reservoir most take a rest and admire the huge reservoir. The Schlegeis reservoir was completed in 1970 and used as a hydroelectric power station by the “Tauern Kraftwerk AG” the height is 131 meter.
Across country to the Pfitscher Joch
At the end of the reservoir are the parking spaces. The asphalt street ends here as well. Archaeologist eyes are shining with joy when talking about Pfitscher Joch. A few years ago a hunter´s camp was discovered this indicates that the border passage to south Tyrol was already a transit way in existence for over 8.000 years. But that´s not all: Under one of the rocks a few drinkin mug fragments have been found made out of soap stone. Researchers think that the area´s soap stone has been used to make drinking mugs.
From the reservoir the road becomes rockier. Historically it can be proven that the Zillertal Alps have been used by humans for 10.000 years and also artisanry has been operated. Hunters were looking for mountain crystals and built arrowheads. Farmers started cultivating the alpine pastures and later the tourism started to blossom.
Many story tell of smuggling of goods and animal between north and south Tyrol. The art of smuggling has to be a hard one as one can tell will riding the bike up. Alternating even and hilly the trail leads one direction Pfitscher Joch. The trail is about 1,5 hour to 2 hours long. it is doable but hard.
Pfitscher Hoch house: lots of history between the borders
The Pfitscher Joch house is on 2.275 meter with a beautiful lake. The house has been built in 1882. In between wars after 1918 italy safeguared the border with military streets. Also the trail from the Pfitscher to the Pfunderer Joch was closed. The safeguarding of the boarder on Austrian side was done by the “Zollwache” and on the Italian side by the “Finanzieri”. The smuggling started to blossom due to the poverty. On the 23rd June 1966 a bomb exploded at the Pfitscher Joch house and the “Finanzier”Bruno Bologesi from Sardinia was killed.
The Pfitscher Joch house was renovated but remained occupied by military until 1969. from 1945 till 1996 part of the house was used as a toll station.
Today you can admire the beautiful view from its terrace over the Zilelrtal Alps and enjoy a beer.
If you stay at Pfitscher Joch house you can also take a detour to the “Rotbachlspitze” (2.895 meter). The hike takes about 2 hours to see the summit cross. The same way leads back to the hut.