2013 Red Bull X-Alps have announced the route that will see 32 athletes from 21 countries race across the Alps on July 7th.
At 1,031km as the crow flies, the route is almost 200km longer than in 2011, and will see athletes battling across some of the most challenging and inhospitable terrain in the Alps. As in previous years the race begins in Salzburg, Austria. From there athletes must make their way south-east to the Dachstein massif (2,995m) and then west through the Hohe Tauern national park holiday region where the peak of Wildkogel (2,224m) awaits. Athletes must then negotiate tricky Innsbruck airspace and a confusing Karwendel crossing to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Zugspitze (2,962m), Germany's highest mountain.
The route then crosses the Italian border and goes through South Tyrol, passing Sulden in the Ortler region, and then heads west on one of the longest stages to Interlaken, Switzerland, which offers no easy route. Then it's south across the Bernese Oberland to the Matterhorn (4,478m), one of the most spectacular parts of the route. For the athletes still in contention the race then becomes a tactical battle but also a visual tour as they cross the high Alps passing Mt Blanc (4,810m), before heading south for the Alps Maritimes and the finish line of Monaco.
These are the mandatory tunpoints that athletes must pass. Some are mountains that will have to be climbed while others may involve complicated flying around restricted airspace:
1. Gaisberg 1,287m
2. Dachstein 2,995m
3. Wildkogel, 2,224m
4. Zugspitze / Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2,962m
5. Ortler / Sulden 1,906m
6. Interlaken 568m
7. Matterhorn 4,478m
8. Mont Blanc 4,810m
9. Saint Hilaire 995m
10. Peille 600m