There are three summits, the North, Middle and South (Nordgipfel, Mittelgipfel, Südgipfel).
The summits can only be reached by technical climbing routes, of at least UIAA IV+ (YDS 5.6) in difficulty. The South Summit appears to be the highest. Different routes reach each summit. It is possible to traverse the summits, but this doesn't seem to be done often. Usually, the appropriate descent route is chosen.
From Hermann Buhl's Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, a scene from the fascinating chapter "They'll never make a climber of me:"
We had just finished a nice climb, the North Arete of the Predigstuhl. Fredl Schatz, on leave from Service, had insisted on leading; Helmut Weber was middle-man, while I was last on the rope. We were traversing from the North Summit to the Main Summit of the mountain by way of the Central Summit. Fredl reached a difficult bit, at which he had several tries, while Helmut protected him as he went up, came back, went at it again. I was also anxiously watching, but without a thought in my head about a fall of any kind.
Just at the moment the whole Steinerne Rinne was filled with a menacing roar, as if all the peaks were collapsing into it. The noise echoed a hundred-fold in the crannies of every wall and rose to a deafening inferno of sound. It was just an airman carrying out the hair-brained stunt of flying slap through the middle of the Steinerne Rinne -- well below my stance. A mad type, that pilot--I could look down into his cockpit. Then, like a ghost, the 'plane was swept from my sight.
I looked at the place where my companion had been clinging to the Wall; he was not there. But there was a shadow flitting like a flash downwards across the rock-face. Fredl had come off and was falling...Like lightning I grabbed the rope and wedged myself behind a bollard. Hold it, hold it!...
Getting ThereHike up into the Steinere Rinner from Griesener Alm (via ferrata in places) to access the North Ridge on the North Summit and West Face routes, approach time between 1 and 2 hours. Routes on the East Face are also reached from the Griesener Alm, but are cross-country and rugged, with approaches of over 2 hours.
Climbing RoutesNordkante twice, a long, moderate route with alpine character. Many other routes exist to the summit, all of which involve 5th-class climbing (UIAA III and above). See the Nordkante route page for a detailed description of the route.
On Markus Stadler's web site, there is a comprehensive list of routes. I'll list a few of them here:
|Westwand "Dülfer"||Main||V||150 m|
|Westwand Lackner/Langer||Middle||VII-||230 m|
|"Westschlucht" (Stöger/Gschwendtner)||Middle||IV+||160 m|
Getting DownThe usual descent is by rappel down the Botzong Chimney (Botzong Kamin).
In the notch between the Middle and Main Summits, a short scrambling descent to the west (6 meters, exposed) brings you to the line of rappel anchors. After 6 20 meter rappels, you enter a broad basin, still some 100 meters above the valley floor. Coil the rope and traverse the basin on the (skiers) left side to find a trail and cairns that lead up into a notch and then to hiking terrain into the floor of the Steinerne Rinne.
Red TapeNo camping allowed.
LodgingYou can stay overnight at the lodge at Griesener Alm, or at the well-situated Stripsenjochhaus, suitable for many days of climbing.
The DAV Map of the Wilder Kaiser is a valuable thing to have.
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