Standing high above Saalfelden and showing an impressive rockwall to the south and southwest, Breithorn, as one of the summits of the southern ridge crest of Steinernes Meer in the Berchtesgaden Alps, is rather easy to climb on its northeastern normal route. Those gently ascending, rolling stone waves, which gave the name Steinernes Meer to this huge stone and karst plateau, built up of Dachsteinkalk, a limestone created in the triassic Tethys ocean, give way for an interesting ski ascent (and descent !) in springtime, too. Thus Breithorn is nearly a whole year summit.
Being one of the “home summits” of the nearby alpine club hut Riemannhaus, Breithorn is often summited within a one or two day hike or a more extended traverse of Steinernes Meer and the adjacent mountain ranges. In winter / spring, Breithorn is one of the summits of an extended Große Reibn, the famous ski hike traverse around Königsee.
The Saalfeldener Höhenweg traverses Breithorn summit, being a beautiful high trail from Riemannhaus to Persailhorn and Peter Wiechenthaler Hütte on the southern slopes of Steinernes Meer.
Look out: you shurely will recognize the fossilized shells of the old scallop Megalodon in the Dachstein limestone; named “cows step mussel” as the lateral cut through this fossil resembles an imprint of a cow.
The main valley trailheads for Breithorn are Saalfelden or Maria Alm on the south side of Steinernes Meer.
You reach these neighbouring villages from
You reach Saalfelden by train, too, from Kufstein - Wörgl - Kitzbühel or from Salzburg - Bischofshofen.
For the schedules please refer to the ÖBB homepage.
From Maria Alm follow the road into Griesbachwinkl and Sandten valley. After some kilometers the road changes into a dirt road which climbs up steeply to the parking area at about 1200 m height.
After the parking area the road is closed for public traffic. Follow the road up to the supply cableway valley station of Riemannhaus. Follow then the trail number 401 steeply up into the valley between Breithorn and Sommerstein / Schöneck up to Ramseider Scharte and to Riemannhaus. Spectacular views to the Sommerstein tower.
At the last switchback of the dirtroad (about 1.500 m high) before you reach the cableway valley station there is a trail junction with signposts “Breithorn Südwandsteig”, another more difficult ascent route from Maria Alm.
Riemannhaus as starting point for the northeastern normal route can be reached, too, from the adjacent mountain huts:
Breithorn is not part of the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden.
There are no special restrictions as far as I know.
Main Routes Overview
At Riemannhaus follow the signposts to Breithorn and Saalfeldener Höhenweg. The trail passes some nice karst features and climbes the northeast exposed, easy rock and scree slopes up to the summit without any extraordinary difficulties (marked with red - white signs).
Short and quite easy trail.
Up to now I unfortunately have only common information about this trail.
The route is marked with red dots. From the trailhead at the last switchback of the supply road to the supply cableway valley station to Riemannhaus it traverses to a hunters cabin and ascends steeply up to point 1887 m (see Alpenverein topo map). It then traverses the southern rockfaces up to the summit, marked but with no fixed ropes or any other Via Ferrata devices. My information say that rock climbing up to UIAA grade III is required.
If you have any more detailed information about this trail I´ll be happy to add them.
Round trip Maria Alm trailhead - Südwandsteig - Breithorn - Riemannhaus - Maria Alm trailhead can be done as a strenuous days hike.
This alpine trail connects Peter Wiechenthaler Hütte and Riemannhaus via Breithorn, Mitterhorn and Persailhorn. This is a great traverse for the mountaineer experienced in rock scramble with UIAA grade I / II. For further information please refer to my Saalfeldener Höhenweg SP page.
Accomodations of all kind - hotels, bed & breakfast, campgrounds - can be found in all major villages around Steinernes Meer:
The following adjacent mountain huts offer overnight stays:
Mountain Conditions and Gear
Breithorn is a nearly all year round summit.
In late winter and spring it is a nice and easy ski hike which is done mainly from Kärlinger Haus and often in connection with the ski traverse Große Reibn.
In summer and autumn it is an easy hike on the normal route. The ascent via Saalfeldener Höhenweg is more demanding and long. The Südwandsteig is - due to the information I have - a difficult and marked route with rock climbing up to UIAA grade III.
You need normal hiking gear with good boots for the normal route.
Helmet, hareness and Via Ferrata kit is recommended for the Saalfeldener Höhenweg (especially in connection with one of the Via Ferratas to Persailhorn). A rope for belaying can be necessary on the Südwandsteig.
Bring enough to drink. As a karst plateau, Steinernes Meer nearly has no water for resupply.
The following topo maps are recommended:
Alpenvereinskarte scale 1 : 25.000
Blatt 10/1, Steinernes Meer, 2006
Topografische Karte von Österreich, scale 1 : 50.000