Rating the Route (By Hiking Standards)
The grading system for hiking and scrambling routes is here.
0. General: From cca 1380m to 2388m, exposition E and S (one crossing of the N slope). Till Brunnsteiner See an easy marked path, then to the east ridge and further on a more steep, rocky slope, but in dry season no difficulties. Towardsa the summit a still steeper hike-up over a rocky face, but no real climbing needed. Gear: Good shoes and hiking poles.
1. Effort: cca 1000m, 3h (1620m from the valley, 4h 30min).
2. Power: 2 - Easy.
3. Psyche: 2 - Easy.
4. Orientation: 2 - Easy.
See the main page of Warscheneck how to get on Wurzeralm!
Your hike will probably start on Wurzeralm, where the cable-car brings you on the altitude of 1427m. From the upper station you descend some 50 meters on the broad alpine meadow, going by the road towards the west, till you reach the bottom station of Frauenkar chairlift. There you deter right and continue by a good parc path towards the NW till the small, green Brunnsteiner See (lake). From there the slopes of Warscheneck rise more steeply and towards the north you also clearly see the distinct vertical red wall of Rote Wand, 1872m, and the notch left of it.
So, you take a well marked path, which in many switchbacks quickly gains altitude. The lake soon stays far below and the view flies freely over the Wurzeralm plateau. In a long arc the path goes over the slopes towards the right, you gain more altitude than necessary to reach the lowest point in the ridge, so the path hits the ridge left above the Rote Wand Sattel (saddle, notch). From the other side the path from Duemlerhuette comes up. Till here you needed good one hour or even more for sightseeing.
From above Rote Wand Pass on, the marked trail sticks almost all the time to the main ridge. That is why it is very panoraming. From the ridge northern ravines descend towards Vorderstoder, but the northern Warscheneck ridge still prevents you to view the central part of Totes Gebirge with Grosser Priel. The slopes on the left are also very special. Horizontal layers of rocks make them very picturesque, especially if they are covered with some snow. In that conditions they almost resemble a graphical art.
After some 30 minutes you already reach the high meadows, named Speikwiese. Here the ridge towards the north is flat, forming a small plateau. You continue hiking right of the main ridge, on the northern side and so cross the slope below point 2137m. In front of you there is a distinct saddle between this point and the next high summit - Toter Mann. Actually, on Toter Mann from the north the strong side ridge comes up, so we don't ascend this summit by the ridge, but by an open wall, or better say a steep shoulder.
The ascent on Toter Mann is short, but the steepest one on the tour. The trail is well marked, but the steep rocky passages already require some care. Still, it is not a real climb and also the orientation towards the south-east helps the ascent to be dry even if elsewhere there's already some snow lying. In less than 30 minutes we are over and the broad summit plateau is in front of us.
As we see the summit of Warscheneck all the time on the left, we think to reach it in minutes, but from the summit of Toter Mann the trail still does some distance and also the summit cone of Warscheneck is still some good 50 meters above the plateau. The sheer altitude difference does not justify it, but the distance makes that from Rote Wand Pass we officially really need some 2 hours to the top.
We descend either by the same route, or by the West ridge (one hour longer) or by the South-East ferrata (harder) to Wurzeralm. Other options are of course descents towards the north, for example to Zellerhuette or Duemlerhuette.