Above all mountains rules a king. Actually, the ruler of the Tyrolean mountains is a queen, who reigns with her mighty scepter the world of summits from the Stubai Alps all the way to the city of Innsbruck. Among these summits stands the Serles as an almost completely isolated pyramid of rocks which, according to a myth, is a ferocious knight with his two sons. They were cursed by a farmer because of their violent temper, their cruelty and their barbarity. Now King Serles and his sons as secondary peaks have remained fossilized there where his castle once had been. The outstanding three-piecesetting of the summit on which the story is probably based greatly impressed Goethe during his travels to Italy and thus he gave them the name “Hochaltar Tirols” (high altar of Tyrol) to the Serles.
You not only can see the Serles from Innsbruck, you can also see at least as far from the peak itself. The exposed position opens up amazing mountain views and a panorama beyond comparison, from the Zuckerhütl to the Tux glaciers and from the Dolomites to the Karwendel mountain range. The view from the Serles includes the Inn Valley, the Stubai, as well as the Zillertal Alps.
In 1579, when Georg Ernstinger, a mountaineer from Innsbruck, ascended the Serlesspitze from Schönberg via Gleinserberg and Maria Waldrast for the first time, he noticed the specific water at Maria Waldrast. However he was not the first person to value the quality of the water at Maria Waldrast. The place at the bottom of the Serles was already sacred for the Celts. The pilgrims on their way to Rome used the route via Maria Waldrast and drank the water of Maria Waldrast, which has of some of the highest quality in Tyrol. Its journey is said to take almost 100 years through limestone and mineral-based soil on primary rock. The secluded place at the base of the Serles houses a monastery with a church, a fountain of mercy and a chapel of origin at the edge of the forest. It is the highest located place of pilgrimage in Austria.
Starting point: Neustift, Kampl (994 m)
Destination: Serles (2718 m)
Walking time: ↑ 4½ h ↓ 4 h
Vertical height: 1800 Hm
Huts and cabins: Wildeben (1781 m), Klostergasthof Maria Waldrast (1641 m), Gasthaus Hochserles-Koppeneck (1600 m)
SEVEN SUMMITS rating
Characteristics: Hiking (black mountain track) – short via ferrata (fixed rope route) like passage after the Serlesjöchl (saddle)
HOW TO GET THERE / STARTING POINT
The tour starts at the end of the Höhlebachstraße at the dam in Kampl, a district of Neustift. Drive out of the valley, turn right shortlybefore the end of Kampl, before the gas station. There are only afew parking lots available at the starting point.
At the dam in Kampl, on the edge of the forest, the steep track through the woods starts, winding its way up for about 2 hours to the snack bar/café Wildeben. Directly behind the bar, a steep path leads up to the Serlesjöchl (2,384 m a.s.l.) - 2 hours. Up on the saddle, climb a small rock face via a short ladder. Then, there is a short passage secured with steel wires before the path winds its way up the southwest side, which is covered with rubble but gets wider slowly but surely. Finally, you reach the big summit cross passing an exposed rocky wall. You can also ascend the Serles by starting at the Maria Waldrast monastery. For this route up you need 3 hours. By car you reach the monastery via Matrei am Brenner.
Descend the same path you ascended. Alternatively, you can hike via the Maria Waldrast monastery to the top station of the Serles cable car. For that route, turn left at the Serlesjöchl (saddle) southeast and follow the path, at first over crushed stone then through mugo pines, later on through the woods to the Maria Waldrast monastery (about 3 hours). From there, a relatively flat path leads to the top station of the Serles cable car (45 minutes). You can either take the cable car there to descend or walk for 1.5 hours to Mieders.