Middle-peak's eastern face towers about 700m above the back Watzmannkar (a small valley between the main ridge, 2.713m, and Kleiner Watzmann, 2.307m). A main piece of the route leads over the characteristic broad ledge (ramp), that already can be seen from Berchtesgaden. The ledge is reached through a steep groove, beginning on top of the scree, that is based upon the snow-field in the back of Watzmannkar. Above the ledge, the ascent leads over steps, ramps, terraces and the final groove direct to the highest point of Watzmann.
First ascent:Kaspar Wieder, Hermann Lapuch, 1920
Pleasuring route, solid rock.
Best Conditions in July, August, September
Optimal starting point is the parking-place at Ramsau/Wimbachbrücke. From there you can ascend in about 3 to 3,5 hours via Schapbach-Boden to the lodging of Kühroint, 1.420m. Kühroint, a very nice private refuge, is point of support for routes to Kleiner Watzmann and Watzmannkar. Staying at Kühroint over night is recommendable (limited capacity, announce under 08652-7339 or 01713-533369). From Kühroint follow the way to Watzmannhaus, until the path to Watzmannkar branches off to the left, not far behind the path turns left very sharp for the first time (attention, the bifurcation can easily be missed). Ascend Watzmannkar until you can cross the snowfield to reach the huge scree at bottom of middle-peak's eastern face (scree may be covered with snow, too). Climbing begins on top of the scree (2 hours from Kühroint, altitude about 2.200m). Beware of rockfall!
From top of the scree follow the steep groove to the characteristic rock on top. Then, cross to the right (north) to the beginning of the huge ramp ("Wieder-Band"). Follow the ramp until you reach the turret near its end (you can find a booklet in the wall of the turret, don't forget to register). Behind the turret turn right and follow the next steep groove until it vanishes and you can reach the next ramp to the left (much smaller than the Wieder-Band). At the end over a small shelf, providing a firm hold, to the next terrace. Then, following the best possibilities, around the body of the middle-peak (south) until you get to the final groove. The groove ends immediately at Watzmann's highest point (3-4 hours from top of the scree).
From there, you can either follow the ridge to the south-peak (Watzmann-Traverse) and descend over Wimbachgriess-refuge, 1.327m (+ about 5h) back to Wimbachbrücke (+ 2h) or - much shorter - you return to your starting point via Hocheck (2.651m) and Watzmannhaus (1.930m).
Guides (German language):
- Schöner / Kühnhauser, Berchtesgadener Alpen, guide of the german alpine club (Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV)). Comprehensive presentation of ascends in the mountain range of Berchtesgaden (all difficulties). Contents: Massifs of Hochkalter, Watzmann, Göll, Lattengebirge, Reiteralm, Hagengebirge, Steinernes Meer and Untersberg.
Published by Bergverlag Rudolf Rother GmbH, Munich. ISBN 3-7633-1127-0, 22,90 Euro.
- Horst Höfler, Nördliche Kalkalpen West, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother GmbH, München
- Zeller/Schöner, Berchtesgadener Alpen, 15. Auflage 1981, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother GmbH, München
A rope is not compulsory for experienced climbers, but nevertheless highly recommended.
A helmet is necessary!