The Schneibstein, 2276 meters (7467 feet) high, is one of the important mountains of the Hagengebirge range of the Berchtesgaden Alps, situated right on the national frontier between Germany and Austria. To the north, it drops with a formidable cliff to the Austrian Bluntautal valley, and to the south it forms sort of a high plateau, very gradually descending towards the far bigger Hagengebirge plateau. The two bases for this mountain are Berchtesgaden, Germany in the west and Golling, Austria in the east. The Schneibstein is usually climbed in context with the very celebrated “Great Horseshoe” route (known in Bavaria and Austria as the “Grosse Reib’n”), which roughly follows the borderline of the German cul-de-sac of the Berchtesgadener Land, starting at the Purtscheller hut and leading via Hoher Göll – Hohes Brett – Carl-von-Stahl hut – Schneibstein – Hochgschirr saddle – Wasseralm – the high plateau of the Steinernes Meer – Ingolstädter hut – Wimbachtal valley – Ramsau-Wimbachbrücke. The ascent of the Schneibstein is a technically very easy one – there is a clear and well marked trail all the way – and the shortest route to the summit can be done in two hours, from the top station of the Jennerbahn telepherique. Beautiful view especially towards the south, over the enormous plateau of the Hagengebirge to the Hochkönig, as well as to Tennengebirge in the east, the Hoher Göll and the Hohes Brett in the north, and Grosser Hundstod, Watzmann and Hochkalter in the west. Best time to do this hike: End of June until October; very popular in winter as a skiing tour.
Getting ThereHow to get to Berchtesgaden:
Nearest airports: Munich, Salzburg
Coming by car from Munich: Take the Munich-Salzburg motorway. Shortly before Salzburg, already within Austria, switch to the A 10 in the direction of Villach-Klagenfurt. After 8 kilometers, exit in Neu-Anif, following the signs to Grödig-Berchtesgaden. Just after St. Leonhard, the road crosses back into Germany and continues as B 305 through Marktschellenberg to Berchtesgaden. Distance: 154,8 kilometers; duration: 1 hour 39 minutes.
Coming by car from Salzburg: Follow signs to Anif or Grödig (from the airport, follow first the motorway in the direction of Munich-Innsbruck for about 2 kilometers, then switch to the A 10 in the direction of Villach-Klagenfurt. Exit at Neu-Anif, following the signs to Grödig-Berchtesgaden) and continue as above. Distance: 24,6 kilometers; duration: 28 minutes.
To the Jennerbahn telepherique, it’s another 5,1 kilometers; follow the B 20 to Königssee.
From Salzburg to Golling by car: Follow the above mentioned road to Grödig. Here, take the motorway A 10 in the direction of Villach-Klagenfurt as far as the exit to Golling. From here, it is only one kilometer to Golling on the left or two kilometers to the parking lot at the Bärenhof at the entry to the Bluntau valley on the right. Distance: 31,8 kilometers,; duration: 30 minutes.
From Berchtesgaden to Hinterbrand by car: Follow the road in the direction of Königssee for about two kilometers, then turn left (sign) and follow the road leading straight to Hinterbrand on 1100 meters. Parking lot.
Coming by means of public transportation: There are regular trains both from Munich and from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden Bahnhof (from Salzburg, there are also the regular busses of the RVO line no. 840. This goes much quicker than taking the train via Freilassing and Bad Reichenhall.). From here, use the busses of the RVO (link to all the timetables added under “links”)
To Golling, there are regular fast and regional trains commuting between Salzburg and the Golling-Abtenau railway station.
RoutesCharacter: Easy; marked trail through pine vegetation and alpine grass; a little bit more stony in the upper part (could be a bit tricky in fog).
There are four routes of access to the Schneibstein. One of these routes begins in Golling in the east, leading up the Bluntautal valley past Bärenhof and Bärenhütte, lower and upper Jochalm and the Carl-von-Stahl hut on the Torrener Joch saddle on the German-Austrian border on 1736 meters; two other routes both start in the west, one leading from the top station of the Jennerbahn telepherique, the other from Hinterbrand, and the fourth and most beautiful trail begins at the middle station of the Jennerbahn - or in Hinterbrand - , leading in a big loop via Strubalm – Priesbergalm – Seeleinsee lake to the top of the Schneibstein.
via Bluntau valley – Carl-von-Stahl hut: This leads you through a mountain valley that is well known for it’s beauty. The only thing is, it’s the by far longest route to the Schneibstein. Already to the Carl-von-Stahl hut you have to calculate with more or less 10 kilometers, a rise of nearly 1200 meters and a duration of 5,5 hours pure walking time. Planning to stay overnight at the Carl-von-Stahl hut is recommended. From there to the summit it is a rise of another 540 meters (about 1 hour to the summit).
Start at the Bärenhof parking lot. Follow trail no. 451a, first steeply, then moderately steeply through forest on the orographically right-hand side of the Fischbach river to Untere Jochalm. Here, the forest starts to recede and the alpine pastures begin. Follow the trail fairly steeply to the Obere Jochalm and continue through the basin of the top part of the Bluntau valley and a steep last bit to the Carl-von-Stahl hut. Here we are on the national frontier between Austria and Germany. The first view into the Berchtesgadener Land is already breathtakingly gorgeous; memories of “The Sound of Music” may arouse here…
Turn left, following trail no. 416, first with only little rise through a lot of low pine vegetation, then steeper, still through pine growth and bushes, then through grass intersparsed with limestone rock to the summit cross on the very broad top of the Schneibstein.
Height gain: 1176 meters (3858 feet)
Overall mileage: about 5 kilometers
From the parking lot or the bus stop, follow the broad dirt road leading to the middle station of the Jennerbahn telepherique. Shortly before reaching the latter, there is a trail (no. 10) rising steeply up the slope to meet with trail no. 498 to Mitterkaseralm on 1534 meters. From Mitterkaseralm, follow the path to the Carl-von-Stahl hut (beautiful scenery!). From the Carl-von-Stahl hut, proceed as described above.
From the top station of the Jennerbahn telepherique:
Height gain (from the lowest point to the summit of Schneibstein): 586 meters (1923 feet)
Overall mileage: about 3 kilometers
This is the shortest of the four routes to the summit of Schneibstein. It can be accomplished in about 2 hours time. Beautiful mountain scenery all along the way!!
From the top station of the Jennerbahn telepherique, follow the broad path that leads first descending steeply to 1690 meters, then gradually rising to the Carl-von-Stahl hut, then proceed as described above.
From Hinterbrand or Jennerbahn middle station via Priesbergalm-Seeleinsee-Windscharte:
Height gain: 1176 meters (3858 feet)
Overall mileage: about 9 kilometers
A spectacular but considerably longer trail, though clear and well marked, than the two others mentioned above. Follow trail no. 497 from Hinterbrand via Jennerbahn middle station – Strubalm – Branntweinbrennhütte to Priesbergalm on 1460 meters. These first four kilometers are on a broad and only gently rising trail, except for a short steeper rise just before Branntweinbrennhütte. About 500 meters after Priesbergalm, take the trail that rises to the left – still no. 497 – through a steep valley, forested up until about 1760 meters height, then through rock and alpine grass to the beautifully situated little Seeleinsee lake on 1890 meters height. Here, turn left and follow trail no. 416 rising first through a wild and beautiful high valley, then crossing the western slope of the Windschartenkopf to the Windscharte saddle (2200 meters). Continue following the path, rising very gradually up a more and more high plateau-like landscape of alpine grass and limestone to the summit cross of the Schneibstein.
Personal note: My favorite way of doing the Schneibstein, so far, has always been by using this trail as a descent route, having gone up the Schneibstein from the Jennerbahn top station.
Alpine Society hutsCarl-von-Stahl hut on Torrener Joch, 1736m
Guardian: Stefan Lienbacher, Torren 69, A-5440 Golling, Austria
Schneibsteinhaus, 1670m, 10 minutes below the Carl-von-Stahl hut
Guardian: Fam. Gottfried Strobl, Am Etzerschlössl 1, D-83471 Berchtesgaden
CampingGermany: Mühlleiten in Schönau-Königssee
Austria: Camping Landgasthof Torrenerhof, Camping Martina
Red TapeNote that in the Bluntautal valley, from May 1st to end of October as well as during weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. vehicles are not permitted access to the valley. Only driving out of the valley is permitted for hikers during the hours of closure. As a substitute, transportation with horse-carriages is provided during the hours of no-access for cars. On the entire length of the road between the parking lot at the valley entrance and the Bärenhof parking is strictly forbidden!
External LinksTimetable of the Jennerbahn telepherique
List of timetables for all the RVO busses in general
Timetable for RVO 838 Berchtesgaden-Hinterbrand (download the pdf file)
Information about the Bluntautal valley