Second edition 2004.
234 pages, size 210x134mm
12 full pages of colour photos.
80 maps, hydrographs, river profiles, photos.
Drawings by local artists, cartoons by ‘Foxy’.

ISBN: 0-9519413-9-9

Price £15.95



 “This guide is a quality product – don’t paddle in the Alps without it.”

                                                                Canoe Focus, U.K.

Well presented and humorous …… essential information and entertaining anecdotes”

                                         Playboating, U.K.

“An impressive and well researched book”….   

   Outdoors Illustrated U.K.


“Well illustrated … an absolute must for all Alpine paddlers”     

Paddles, U.K.


“Drool with envy …….Indispensable”       Canoeist, U.K.


“The best White Water Guide books ever”   

 Alpine Kayak Club Magazine, Germany



The Centre

Haiming is on the banks of the Tyrolean Inn and is easy to reach, lying directly on the autobahn between Innsbruck and Landeck. It is a centre for some of the best rivers in Austria so is home to many rafting companies, and in the summer it seems to live from rafting so there is a thriving social life in the village, much of it in English, centred on the ‘Jazz Pot Bar’ and consisting of beer, beer, schnapps and more beer! The town of Oetz is a pleasant alternative base.

On the River

The rivers here are fed from the huge glaciers at the head of the Oetz valley which include the Wildspitz, Austria’s second highest peak, so understandably all the rivers are fast and powerful. The easier sections are at their best in high summer (July – mid. Aug.) – the others, which are normally too high at this time, somewhat later in the year. Thus it is a centre which has to be visited a few times before all the runs are exhausted.

Rivers like the Oetz (the Ötztaler Ache) will be on most experienced river-runners list and almost need no introduction. The Imst Gorge on the Inn is wonderful training for big water but is the only run here that is moderately easy, other centres however, such as the Lech valley, are within easy reach for easier and more varied runs.

Commercial Rafting

This is a rafting Eldorado and recent years have seen an explosion of companies here, nearly 30 at the last count! The rivers are big – as are the rapids – and access to the runs is relatively easy. Organised trips are available on the Imst Gorge and the Lower Oetz and most of the firms stationed here run trips to the Sanna and the Tösens section of the Inn (see Centre Landeck).

Off the River

Summer skiing is available at the top end of the Pitzbach valley on the Mittelberg glacier and in the Oetz valley above Solden: to get to the latter you drive up the Oetz Glacier toll road that takes you in a tunnel under the ice and up to a height of 2822m – one of the highest roads in the Alps. This is a major centre for mountaineering, walking, rock climbing, and ski-touring.

If you enjoy cycling, then there are signed and well-surfaced cycle routes along much of the Oetz and Inn valleys and the main cable cars in the resorts will take mountain bikes for those long death-defying descents. One of our favourite routes is along the ridge above Haiming, and it is also worthwhile venturing over the pass to the north (through Seefeld) into the Karwendel range.

Innsbruck is only an hour’s drive and well worth a visit – perhaps on a wet day? Note that there are often speed traps on the motorway.

Café Heiner in Oetz is one of the best places to eat (especially for their fine selection of cakes) or, for good pizzas, try the Hotel Föhrenhof in Haiming.


Camping Oberland in Haiming, on the main road B171, has a swimming pool, good facilities and costs aprox. £5 p.p.n. The campsite at Oetz quieter.


Imst and Zams. Dial 144 for ambulance, 122 for fire and rescue.


Best buy is probably the Haupka, 1:100,000 sheet 8 ‘Vorarlberg’, that covers this and other centres. For more detail there is a walking map of the Oetztal valley, available from the tourist information office in Oetz and the 1:50,000 Wanderkarte sheet WK252 from Freytag & Berndt.

Tourist Offices

A-6460 Imst, Austria. Tel: 5412 2419. Fax: 5412 4783.
A-6433 Oetz, Austra. Tel: 5252 6669, Fax: 5252 6280.

Rafting Operators

Please contact the tourist office for a full current list:

Kayak schools / clubs

Kajakschule & Rafting Oetztal , Alli’s Pub, A-6430 Oetztal Bahnhof,
Tel. 05266 88752

Kayak shop

Canyon Sports, Kreuzstrasse 8, A-6425 Haiming. Tel/fax: 05266 88890
(they speak good English and are friendly and helpful).


Very fast, very heavy and very scary – well, the first time anyway! Not once does it drop below a class 3 and the knowledge that a high vertical weir with a lethal towback lurks about two thirds of the way down makes the heart beat much faster than normal.

Special points

The bridge stanchion below the put-in is dangerous, and the weir at Brunau is infamous and potentially lethal.

The River

Anyone who has been skiing here may have already seen the Oetztaler Ache, or the Oetz as it’s known locally, and have an impression of it from that: forget it! In the summer when the glaciers are melting the Oetz becomes a raging, heaving mass of merciless, grey water threatening anything in its path.

It flows for 42.5 km from the confluence of the Venter Ache and the Gurgler Ache at Zwieselstein and joins the Inn above Haiming. With the exception of a very few trouble spots it has been paddled in its entirety. For most mortals, however, even in the low water levels of winter, several sections remain unnavigable. The following is a description of the final, most frequently paddled section of the river, the lower Oetz.


The Oetz is commercially rafted, but this should not be seen as a sign that it is an easy trip. A raft can give a false sense of security – a dangerous thing on this river. A mistake before the weir could have fatal consequences, as could a misjudgement at the ‘Oetz Cataract’ rapid (the authorities insist on two qualified guides in each raft on this run. Nevertheless, this run is a must on any serious rafter’s itinerary. It is a fast and furious run and the danger adds to the excitement.

Access and Logistics

Put in at the wooden bridge at the upstream end of Oetz village. Whilst driving up the valley it’s a good idea to stop and inspect the weir at Brunau. The gauge is upstream of the main road bridge in Tumpen, a further 4 km up the valley past Oetz: 100 = LW, 140 = MW, 200 = HW. A small access fee is payable at the put-in, but this does cover parking and toilets.

Most people continue down the Inn and finish below the bridge in Haiming, but it is possible to take out at the confluence on the left hand bank which can be reached via a rough track from the main road.

The Run

……sorry, you’ll have to buy the book if you want this!


……sorry, you’ll have to buy the book if you want this!