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Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Tirol, Austria, Europe

Lat/Lon: 47.41014°N / 11.35423°E

Object Title: Larchetkarspitze

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 8337 ft / 2541 m


Page By: selinunte01

Created/Edited: Jul 26, 2014 / Aug 20, 2014

Object ID: 906361

Hits: 575 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Larchetkarspitze and Mitterkar cirque

The Karwendel main ridge has some peaks which are rarely summited; Larchetkatspitze surely is among them.

Dominating the lonely Mitterkar cirque, this tooth – shaped peak can only be reached on routes without marked trails or foot tracks. Only one trail passes nearby, the “Toni Gaugg Höhenweg”, connecting Pleisenhütte with Karwendelhaus, two important alpine huts within the Karwendel main ridge.

Larchetkarspitze is located between well known Pleisenspitze to the west and the rather unknown and remote Große Riedelkarspitze to the east.
The north ridge drops down to Kleine Riedelkarspitze and to the Karwendel valley, separating Großes Riedelkar cirque in the east from Larchetkar cirque to the west. The south ridge of Larchetkarspitze culminates at Gauggturm, a huge and broad rock feature, separating Mitterkar to the west from Hinterkar to the east.

Larchetkarspitze was first summited by Hermann von Barth on August, 3., 1870.
His route is no longer popular. The todays normal route was first tackled successfully by Otto Ampferer and Willy Hammer in 1899.

This normal route is rated as grade II+ to III- in partly bad rock. For that reason the normal route was secured with fixed ropes by the landlord of Pleisenhütte. As Mitterkar cirque is a interesting ski tour location, Larchetkarspitze is consequently summited in winter/spring, too and can be seen as a demanding and beautiful alternative to Pleisenspitze ski tour.

Getting There

Larchetkar cirque and Larchetkarspitze as seen from Karwendel valley

The best trailhead for Larchetkarspitze is:

Scharnitz and the mountain hut:


You reach Scharnitz by car:

  • From Munich via highway A 95 to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and road number B 2 to Mittenwald and to Scharnitz.

  • From Kufstein, Innsbruck or Arlberg region follow the highway A 12 (Inntal highway, fee required) to the exit Zirl. At Zirl proceed on road number 177 to Seefeld and Scharnitz.

  • Alternatively follow from Telfs in the Inntal valley the Buchener Straße and on road number L 36 up to Leutasch Gasse. Go on on road number L 75 and 177 to Scharnitz.

  • At the church near Isar bridge take Hinterautalstraße in southern direction. After the undergrade passing of the railways you reach a huge parking area to your left (fees!).
    300 m further on there is another small parking area after the bridge across river Isar to your right.

    Scharnitz can be reached with railway, too.

    See the railway schedule here .

    The Pleisenhütte ascent follows first Hinterautalstraße to the Wiesenhof inn. Take the forest road to your left at a road junction and stay on that main road (signposts for Pleisenhütte), which zigzags up the southwest slopes of Pleisenspitze. At another road junction take again the left hand road (signposts to Pleisenhütte); this supply road leads up to the mountain hut (about 2,5 to 3 hours from Scharnitz).

    MTB is possible, too!

    Main Routes Overview

    Normal route

    Starting at Pleisenhütte follow Toni-Gaugg-Höhenweg to the trail junction with Pleisenspitze normal route.
    Stay right there on Toni-Gaugg-Höhenweg and ascend slowly to the lower parts of Mitterkar cirque, traversing the south ridge of Pleisenspitze.

    Larchetkatspitze is visible when you reach the lower parts of Mitterkar cirque. Leave the Toni-Gaugg-Höhenweg at the first ditch-like depression coming down from Mitterkar cirque to your left and follow this ditch off-trail in northern direction into Mitterkar cirque.
    Stay right (east) of a subridge which divides upper Mitterkar cirque and ascend an old end moraine before entering a steep scree field which comes down from Larchetkarspitze south face and its adjacent ridges.

    Larchetkarspitze and Mitterkar cirque
    Climb to the notch
    Climbing the summit block

    Ascend this scree slope; it is best done in its middle part where more talus and bigger boulders give more foothold. Aim for the northernmost notch of Larchetkarspitze south ridge immediately south of Larchetkarspitze summit block and for the chute coming down from this notch into Mitterkar cirque.
    Ascend this chute on very bad rock (!!) up to the notch. First fixed ropes are securing your ascent (and descent) in crumbly and frail rocks.

    At the notch you enter the steep and exposed east face of Larchetkarspitze. Ascend directly up the now more firm rocks to a traverse to the north on some scree litterend ledges. At the end of these ledges (fixed ropes) there is a climb in a steep rock chimney (crux of the route) which ends in a chute. Climb the chute up to the east arête. Some more steps bring you up to the summit.

    Climb above the notch

    Summit block of Larchetkarspitze

    East ridge

    The ast ridge is an alternative route to the normal route. Follow for this Toni-Gaugg-Höhenweg traversing Mitterkar cirque and descending into Hinterkar cirque. Follow the trail until you can enter off-trail the left (western) part of Hinterkar cirque, divided by the south ridge coming down from Große Riedelkarspitze. Go up to the Riedelkar col and enter Larchetkarspitze east ridge. Climb the east ridge (UIAA grade II / III) in partly bad rock to the summit.
    If you want to avois the ridge you can climb up the steep chute to the above mentioned notch south of the summit and follow the normal route from there. Bad rock, too!

    Ski route

    The ski route is nearly the same as the normal summer route. The ski track starts below Pleisenhütte and traverses up to the lower Pleisenkar cirque. Leave the Pleisenspitze ski track where it heads in more northern direction into the cirque to traverse the lower Pleisenspitze south ridge.

    Crux of normal route
    Crux of normal route
    Große Riedelkarspitze and (right) Larchetkarspitze

    Enter Mitterkar cirque below the rock faces of Pleisenspitze south ridge to avoid steep terrain. Move up to the ski depot at the beginning of the chute which leads up to the northernmost notch of the south ridge of Larchetkarspitze, where the fixed ropes start.
    Normally these ropes are at least partly buried below snow in winter / spring.

    Summit view to Pleisenspitze
    Summit view to the east
    Summit view to Hockkarspitze and Wörner

    Unusual and climbing routes:

  • Karwendel valley / Larchetalm via Großes Riedlkar cirque; partly a grade III- climb, strenuous, about 5 hours ascent

  • Northwest face, grade IV climb

  • North ridge, grade IV climb

  • South ridge via Gauggturm, grade IV (one part) climb

  • direct south face, grade IV climb, bad rock

  • traverse Larchetkarspitze - Pleisenspitze: grade II to III climb, partly bad rock

  • Red Tape & Accommodation

    Rundblättriges Täschelkraut (Thlaspi rotundifolia) in the scree slopes of Larchetkarspitze

    Red Tape

    Larchetkarspitze is part of the “Alpenpark Karwendel”, an important and strictly protected national park.

    There is no entrance fee for the park but many regulations to follow.

    Please respect the following rules in the National Park:

    There is a National Park Information Center at Hinterriß.

    The parking areas at Scharnitz require a parking fee!


    Camping is not allowed within Alpenpark Karwendel.

    Food and lodging can be found at

  • Scharnitz

  • Mittenwald

  • Leutasch

  • Mountain huts

  • Pleisenhütte

  • Karwendelhaus

  • Gear & Mountain Condition

    Summit of Larchetkarspitze

    Larchetkarspitze can be climbed nearly the whole year.

    In late spring, summer and autumn Larchetkarspitze is a lonely outing partly off-trail and requires climbing up to UIAA grade III in frail and crumbly rock at the summit block. Exposure is guaranteed.

    The summit block rocks are secured with fixed ropes. A helmet is recommended.

    In winter and spring Larchetkatspitze is as ski tour an alternative to normally crowded Pleisenspitze. You need full ski tour and avalanche gear. Helmet, crampons and an ice axe for the summit block is recommended. You have to climb UIAA grade III rocks with snow and ice with ski boots to reach the summit!

    Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here. http://lawine.tirol.gv.at/

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Books

    Pleissenspitze (left) and Larchetkarspitze (to the right) as seen from Solstein ascent


    Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 25.000
    Blatt Nr. 5/2, Mittleres Blatt
    Online Shop Deutscher Alpenverein

    For the Karwendelhaus ascents you need:
    Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 25.000
    Blatt Nr. 5/1, Westliches Blatt
    Online Shop Deutscher Alpenverein

    Bayerische Topographische Karte 1 : 50.000
    Karwendel, UK 50/51
    Landessamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation, München

    Guide Books

    Walter Klier
    Alpenvereinsführer Karwendel alpin
    Bergverlag Rother, München

    Walter Klier
    Alpenvereinsführer extrem
    Bergverlag Rother, München
    (out of stock)

    Available only in German language