Kartitscher Sattel

As the designation hints, this summit is a relatively gentle saddle between converging valleys. The two approaches have very different characters: one long, scenic up and down roller coaster through the fascinating villages of the Lesachtal, the other side a quick unproblematic climb to the top.

01.(km00,700m) START-END EAST: Koetschach-Mauthen
02.(km21+1/2,1100m) St Lorenzen im Lesachtal
03.(km30+1/2,1230m) Untertilliach
04.(km35,1400m) Obertilliach
05.(km41+1/2,1526m) TOP: Kartitscher Sattel
06.(km50+1/2,1070m) START-END WEST: ALTERNATE: Tassenbach
07.(km55,1080m) START-END WEST: Sillian


From East.  Leaving Koetschach-Mauthen the road climbs steeply up the south side of the valley in order to pick up the first town. Then it descends again, crossing a mountain stream on an impressive bridge. But the valley floor managed to pick up elevation too, and so the descend is not nearly as low as the starting point. This description could be repeated, what seems innumerable times, but really is about 4 or 5 times. Each time the valley becomes shallower, the descends and bridges smaller, but the villages plastered high up on the ridge remain as picturesque with their church steeples and their many stately pensions.

Don't bother counting ski areas on this pass (or saddle). There are some, but they are well hidden and don't employ ski overruns to cross the road. Instead it might be interesting count crucifixes, of which there must be hundreds. But you can't seem them all unless you traverse all the little towns next to the road. The most impressive mountain vistas are further down on the approach. As you climb further up, the high valley catches up in altitude, not only with the mountain ridges, but also with the road, so that further up, the road is actually closer to the valley floor. As you approach the top, If if were not for a few glimpses above, the surroundings could be mistaken for a small forested valley. There is sign at the top of the saddle, but the highest point is reached a little later and is just a few meters higher.

From West. It may take some convincing to leave the comfortable bike path following the river Drau (Drauradweg) in the valley between Sillian and Lienz to climb up to this saddle. Not that there is a lot of traffic on this road, but cycling on this meticulously paved and signed bike path is very nice indeed. The switchbacks on the climb improve the view of the valley and finally passes through the town of Kartitsch. Here the church makes a great foreground to the ridge behind it. Just a few more km of moderate climbing and the top of the saddle is reached. No ski lifts, no special views, but peaceful mountain forests and meadows.


A Dayride with this pass as intermediate summit is on page: Tilliacher Joch
The last day with different start and end points on this Extended Tour is on page: Ploeckenpass

 Extended Tour:

(<Ploeckenpass|Staller Sattel>)
Kartitscher Sattel: Obertilliach (which is close to this summit) > Lienz > Defereggental > towards Staller Sattel as far as Sankt Jakob iD:  59 miles with 3300ft of climbing in 5:4 hours. (VDO MC1.0 m3:9.6.22).

A Dayride from the endpoint of this day, Sankt Jakob iD, is on page: Klammjoch.

Kartischer Sattel

Highest Point:
Eastern Approach:

from Koetschach-Mauthen (700m)
from St Lorenzen (~1060m)
Western Approach:

from Tassenbach, west of Sillian (1070m)


View eu_Kartischer_Sattel in a larger map


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