Karwendel and Wetterstein — 10 days in the realm of climbing pioneers

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Leaving the hustle and bustle of the Ahornboden behind, you make your way up to Enger Grund. On the green slopes, a herd of chamois watches you with interest as they graze. The north face of the Grubenkarspitze, which forms a semicircle around Enger Grund, grows ever steeper above you. Your gaze slowly follows the steep rocks up to the summit and the more than 1,000-meter high (3,200 feet) wall takes your breath away. Suddenly, in the silence of the mountains, you hear calls from the rock face above you. You scan the wall for signs of life, and you discover two tiny figures hanging high up on the rockface. And despite your safety on terra firma, your heartbeat increases and your hands start to sweat. Time seems to stand still as you follow the climbers on their journey—until they reach the top of the Grubenkarspitze with a cheer that echoes through the land.

The rock faces of the Karwendel and Wetterstein Mountains have been the most popular places for the most adventurous climbers since the beginning of Alpine climbing in the early 20th century. This is where the best of their generation climbed and discovered new and more complicated routes in the walls.

This multi-day hike leads you in ten stages through the most beautiful valleys and along the most famous climbing walls of Karwendel and Wetterstein massif. Included are the ascents to the most beautiful peaks, which you can reach safely even without climbing equipment. On a 129 -kilometer (80-mile) stretch, you will climb around 9,000 meters (30,000 feet) in altitude. The route is designed in such a way that you can easily skip or add summit climbs. In addition, the sixth stage ends in Scharnitz, which, thanks to its railway station, is ideally suited to divide your Tour into two stages lasting several days. So, all you have to do is decide whether you want to spend four, six or ten days on the trail before you set off with your mountain boots and your backpack into the realm of climbing pioneers.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    11.7 km
    2.5 km/h
    1,410 m
    0 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On your first stage you start your hike at Schwaz train station in the Inn Valley. After leaving behind the small town of Fiecht, the tour leads you into Stallental, a narrow side valley of the Inntall. The Stallenbach has formed here over time a ten-kilometer-long valley with towering cliffs.First, you follow the wide and comfortable dirt road through the dense forest of stables until you enter the stable floor after about five kilometers. The high valley is covered with light pine groves and presents you with spectacular views of the peaks of the southern Karwendel range. In front of you rise the Rotwandlspitze, the Lamsenspitze, the Schafjöchl and above all the mighty Hochnissl. The north face of the Hochnissl, which you pass on today's hike, is also the first famous climbing wall of this multi-day hike. The 800-meter high and extremely steep rock face, however, is rarely committed because of its difficulty.The trail leads you in the shadow of the giant rocks further up to the stage destination, the cozy Lamsenjochütte.

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  • Difficult
    13.6 km
    2.6 km/h
    440 m
    1,150 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your second stage takes you over the eastern and western Lamsenjoch to the Engtal. Before you descend, you can still admire the spectacular view of Engtal and Ahornboden from the top of the Hahnenkamplspitze.On serpentines we descend to the Binsalm, where you can take a comfortable break to get acquainted with the peaks of the Karwendel on the terrace.Then you hike on the comfortable and excellently signposted panoramic path down to the Ahornboden and the mountain village of Engalm. Your path leads you still further to one of the largest climbing walls of the northern Kalkalpen. If you follow the narrow terrain to the foot of the Grubenkarspitze, the north face of the mountain towers above you for over 1,000 meters. A climb through the partly brittle rock wall takes about eleven hours and requires outstanding skills. Due to the curved shape of the wall, individual spots on the way up remain damp and damp even in summer, posing a special challenge for the climbers.After admiring the rock face, the climbers and hopefully the chamois, the path through the Engen Grund leads you back to the final destination. In some of the Engalm farmhouses or in the Alpengasthof Eng you can spend the night to rest for the next day.

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  • Difficult
    14.8 km
    2.6 km/h
    1,110 m
    550 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The third day awaits you with a wild and romantic mountain landscape.From Almdorf Eng the trail leads you up to the Hohljoch. On your way up, you will run parallel to the walls of the Grubenkarspitze and the Spritzkarspitze, which jut out into the sky above the Narrow Reason.Shortly after leaving the tree line behind you, you reach the hollow yoke below the pillar of the three-tine tip. Here you follow the signposted path to the Falkenhütte.The hiking trail will take you along the legendary Laliderer Walls. The chain of vertical rock faces is in places over 900 meters high and is considered one of the largest walls of the Eastern Alps. In 1932, at the young age of 26, Matthias Auckenthalter first climbed the north face of the Lalider Peak. The climbing pioneer, who was so responsible for the popularity of Karwendel, but died in 1936 a few miles away in a crash at the Schüsselkarspitze.Your hike will take you past the Falkenhütte and down to the Kleiner Ahornboden. As with the Great Maple Soil on the Engalm, you will find a unique landscape here. The numerous sycamore trees are hundreds of years old. Since the trees have now reached their natural age limit, individual trees are being replanted to preserve the landscape. From Ahornboden, you will then continue on the Hochalmsattel up to the Karwendelhaus, today's stage destination.As the Falkenhütte will be renovated until 2019, there will be no refreshments on your hike today. It's best to provide yourself with provisions at the Enalm or at the Alpengasthof Eng before you set off.

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  • Difficult
    15.3 km
    1.9 km/h
    1,430 m
    1,470 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On your fourth stage, a unique summit awaits you. From Karwendelhaus it goes through the steep and demanding Schlauchkar up to the promising Schlauchkarsattel. The Schlauchkar is at the beginning still good to commit, from a certain height, the scree is finer and in early summer are sometimes even smaller snow fields. Pay close attention to your footsteps, then you are on the safe side.After taking a short break at the saddle to admire the view up to the Hohe Tauern, it goes with light Kraxelei up to the highest summit of the Karwendel. On the top of the Birkkarspitze you can expect an incredible panorama. Above you, you only see the sky, while around you the rugged peaks of the Karwendels line up.If you have broken away from this incredible view, it goes over the Schlauchkarsattel down towards Hinterautal. The descent to the south requires surefootedness and is secured in the upper section with wire ropes.After a long break at the Kastenalm, which is usually open from May to September, the easy ascent to the Hallerangerhaus follows.

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  • Difficult
    12.5 km
    1.9 km/h
    1,330 m
    1,180 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Your fifth day begins at the foot of some of the most popular climbing walls of the Karwendel. In the southeast, the massive speckkarspitze towers up. Here, the climbers on the one hand for the vertical and smooth limestone walls of the cut wall and on the other for a rough gully, which is climbed in the so-called Hundertwasser route. Southwest, directly on the other side of the Lafatscher Joch, rise the big and the small Lafatscher. Like a cut piece of cake, the Lafatscher Nordverschneidung here forms two rough climbing walls.Your hike will take you between these two climbing paradises up to the Lafatscher Joch and the summit of the Speckkarspitze. After the exhausting but great ascent, you have a first feeling of the challenge climbers face as they make their way through the vertical walls.From the summit, it goes through the Lafatscher yoke down to Halltal and through extensive pine fields on the stamp trip on to the serpentine path on the stamp yoke. Although only 500 meters in altitude are overcome here, the path over the boulder fields and the cable-insured mountain trails is a challenging hike, which, however, is always rewarded with spectacular views.After you have reached the Stempeljoch, it goes through the Pfeiss, a green high valley, comfortable down to the milestone, the Pfeishütte.As an alternative to the climb to the Speckkarspitze, you can also continue your hike directly via the Lafatscher Joch to the Halltal. In this case, you save around three kilometers of track and 500 meters in altitude ascent and descent. On today's tour there is no alpine hut, so you should plan enough provisions for your hike. If you have enough energy reserves, you can take a short detour to the Gasthof Knappenhaus on the Isjöchl halfway and make a stop there.

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  • Difficult
    18.8 km
    3.3 km/h
    60 m
    1,020 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The sixth stage rewards you with an absolute pleasure hike. On comfortable trails, it goes through the picturesque Samertal valley down to the Gleirschtal. The narrow valley is nestled between the high peaks of the Erlspitz group in the west, the Nordkette in the south and the Gleirsch-Halltal chain in the north.The wide trail always follows the course of the Gleirschbach, which, however, forms a broad wetland area at the level of the Möslalm and only becomes a creek again after two kilometers. Shortly before the creek flows into the Isar, he has cut a deep and especially beautiful gorge in the soft Karwendelfels.After hiking through the gorge, follow the course of the river Isar to the small but busy border town of Scharnitz.If you want to shorten your trip along the most famous climbing walls of the Kalkalpen, then you can finish your hike in Scharnitz and travel home by train.

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  • Difficult
    11.8 km
    2.1 km/h
    980 m
    830 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On the seventh day you leave behind the Karwendelgebirge and enter the Wetterstein Mountains. On today's tour you cross the Arnspitzgruppe. This compact and free-standing mountain range separates the Leutasch Valley from the Isar Valley and is already part of the Wetterstein Mountains.After your start in Scharnitz you will start at the foot of the mountains along the Gießenbach until you come to the Adlerweg. On the Adlerweg, the most popular long-distance hiking trail in Tyrol, you hike up to the Hohen Sattel.Once there, the hike first leads you through light pine forests and later over boulder fields to the Einsattel between Weißlehnkopf and Arnplattenspitze. On the Kammweg you hike across the promising summits of Weißlehnkopf, Arnkopf and Zwirchkopf down into the Leutasch Valley to the stage goal Weidach.There are no rest stops at this stage, but in Scharnitz you have plenty of opportunities to increase your hiking supplies in advance.

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  • Difficult
    14.3 km
    2.0 km/h
    1,210 m
    630 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The eighth stage takes you up to the Wetterstein massif. Your hike starts in Weidach, a district of Leutasch. After crossing the Leutasch, follow the trail through the small village of Gasse and then enter the steep Puittal.The extensive mountain meadows, which are inhabited by sheep in the summer, are dramatically framed by the north face of the Gehrenspitze and the south walls of the Wettersteinkette.In particular, the Gehrenspitze and the wall of the Schüsselkarspitze are the absolute climbing paradise. The Schüsselkarwand is one of the most popular climbing walls in the entire Northern Limestone Alps and has been climbing since the beginning of the 20th century. The first successful ascent was achieved by the climbing duo Otto Herzog and Hans Fiechtl in 1915. Since then, countless climbers have perpetuated ever more challenging routes in the steep wall. The north face of the Gehrenspitze with its 500 meter high rocks, however, is rarely climbed. Since the stone is very brittle, only a few climbers take the risk.Finally, your hike crosses the Scharnitzjoch and you can reach the Gehrenspitze via the narrow but simple West Ridge without any climbing. From the Gehrenspitze, a pre-summit of the Wetterstein massif, you now have a special view of the southern face of the Schüsselkarspitze.About the West Ridge back to the Scharnitzjoch and then down to the Wettersteinhütte, today's stage destination.Along the trail of today's tour you will find no refreshments. It's best to bring your provisions in your backpack and put on a promising break at the Scharnitzjoch.

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  • Difficult
    13.5 km
    2.3 km/h
    710 m
    1,030 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The tour on your ninth day leads you above the tree line and directly below the cliffs of the Wettersteingebirge through the Gaistal. You start your tour at the Wetterstein hut after enjoying your breakfast with a sensational view.The narrow trail alternates between green mountain meadows and flat scree slopes and offers you a perfect alpine panorama with every step. The Rotmoosalm awaits you halfway for a relaxing break where you can fortify yourself for the rest of the tour.Before you make the descent to the finish, the short climb to the preaching stone awaits you. The striking rocky ridge of the mountain rewards you with a great panoramic view. If you've had enough, you can head to Tillfuß Alm, where you'll spend your last night of trekking.

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  • Difficult
    14.9 km
    3.4 km/h
    250 m
    650 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On your last stage, a relatively easy hike with a few vertical meters in the ascent awaits you.From the Tilfuß Alm you walk through the picturesque Gaistal always along the banks of the Leutascher Ache, until you reach the small Igelsee.From this point, it goes on comfortable ways and with great views down to Ehrwald. You pass the Ehrwalder Alm, which is perfect for a relaxing break.Before you reach Ehrwald, you have the chance to take a look at the last climbing paradise of this hike. South of your trail, the sea walls tower into the sky. After heavy rains, the meadow-covered peak stores the water and gradually releases it into the wall. The small rivulets then put the climbers for days before special difficulties. However, thanks to the cable car and the proximity to Ehrwald, the wall is easy to reach and does not change its popularity.From the view to the Seebenwänden you follow the trail to Ehrwald. After your ten days between the most beautiful mountains of the Northern Limestone Alps you will review the views of the steep and rugged cliffs. Maybe the fever of the climbing pioneers has grabbed you and you sign up for your first climbing course. But even if you prefer to stay on solid ground with both feet, we will soon have the next hut tour ready for you.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    141 km
  • Duration
    59:20 h
  • Elevation
    8,940 m

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