Closeup of Breitgrieskarspitze as seen from the north
The western part of Karwendel main ridge
would be a rather lonely part of Karwendel mountains without this man, Anton Gaugg
, a local from Scharnitz. He decided in the beginning of the 1950th to build a mountain hut above Scharnitz on the slopes of Pleisenspitze just near the timber line, the today Pleisenhütte
, to give accommodation to mountaineers.
He was one of the pioneers of mountaineering within Karwendel ranges and in remebrance the trail between Pleisenhütte and Karwendelhaus was named after him: Anton(or Toni) Gaugg Höhenweg.
This marvelous trail crosses several cirques and cols, is partly secured with steel ropes, requires some rock scrambling and passes the summit of Breitgrieskarspitze
just 80 m below the summit cross. You should think that consequently Breitgrieskarspitze receives a lot of visitors. Funnily enough this is not the case.
Breitgrieskarspitze is located within the main Karwendel ridge, which is also called “Hinterautal – Vomper Range
” after two main valleys within Karwendel. The summit has a huge perpendicular rock face to the northeast down to Neunerkar cirque which is embraced:
The southwest arête of Breitgrieskarspitze, the so called “Blassengrat
” separates Hinterkar cirque to the west from Breitgrieskar to the east. Toni Gaugg Höhenweg crosses Blassengrat at about 2500 m. You follow Blassengrat the last 80 m up to the summit, a short fun scramble with great looks and views.
Maybe the lack of signs and markings cause this small interest.
Breitgrieskarspitze was first summited by Hermann von Barth
on August 14th, 1870.
Breitgrieskarspitze as seen from Bäralpl
The best trailhead for Breitgrieskarspitze is
and the mountain hut(s)
You reach Scharnitz by car:
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!
Breitgrieskarspitze (left) and Große Seekarspitze (center) as seen from Pleisenspitze
The Karwendelhütte ascent
from Scharnitz uses the long Karwendeltal road
up to Hochalmsattel, the col between Birkkarspitze and Östliche Karwendelspitze where the huge mountain hut is located.
MTB is nearly a must (otherwise 13 km walk!).
Start at the small parking area, ascend the road to your left and turn immediately to the right. The road uses the lower slopes of Brunnsteinspitze to enter into Karwendel valley. Go on nearly level or with a very moderate grade to former Larchetalm (unfortunately demolished after a quarrel about how to run this former mountain hut within the National Park of Karwendel) and further on to Anger Alm
. After passing Anger Alm meadows the road ascends with some switchbacks to Hochalmsattel. Take the right hand road at the Hochalmsattel road junction to reach Karwendelhaus.
Karwendelhaus can be reached, too, from
Main Routes Overview
Breitgrieskarspitze and Hinterkar cirque as seen from Anton-Gaugg-Höhenweg
Breitgrieskarspitze normal route
follows the Toni Gaugg Höhenweg
from Pleisenhütte or from Karwendelhaus.
first follow the trail in the direction of Pleisenspitze summit. Take the right hand trail
(Toni Gaugg Höhenweg) at the first trail junction 1/4 hour after leaving Pleisenhütte. The trail traverses first the south ridge of Pleisenspitze, enters and traverses the lower parts of Mitterkar cirque and ascends the south ridge of Gauggturm, a huge and seldomly visited summit of Larchetkatspitze south ridge. After a short traverse on the east slope of Gauggturm the trail descends steeply down a scree filled chute to reach the lower parts of Hinterkar cirque
The route is first nearly level and ascends later the lower parts of the south ridge of Große Ridlkarspitze. At a height of about 2300 m the route, which is now marked only with cairns some red dots and some red and white poles, enters upper Hinterkar cirque and travels up to the Breitgrieskarspitze southwest slopes.
After a steep ascent you reach the connecting ridge between Breitgrieskarspitze and Große Ridlkarspitze. The route regains the southwest slopes and overcomes some steep rocks with the help of (in 2014 still old and used) fixed steel ropes. You gain a ledge which leads you to the culmination point of Toni Gaugg Höhenweg on the south ridge of Breitgrieskarspitze.
Breitgrieskarspitze with Breitgrieskarscharte (left) Summit ridge Near Breitgrieskarscharte
take the first very steep trail, starting at the winter shelter of Karwendelhaus and leading in the direction of Schlauchkar
. After some rock scramble with fixed steel ropes the trail traverses the southeast slopes of Hochalmkreuz
. At the second trail junction take the right hand trail
(signs to Brendelsteig and Toni Gaugg Höhenweg) and traverse the lower parts of Schlauchkar cirque. Follow the narrow trail below the towering northern rock faces of Ödkarspitzen and ascend the trail up to the ridge crest of the north ridge of Westliche Ödkarspitze. There are some rock scrambling parts with steel ropes to overcome.
At the ridge crest (about 2040 m high) pay attention: Brendelsteig goes straight on on that ridge, don´t follow that trail. There is a trail junction and a yellow signpost “Toni Gaugg Höhenweg” hidden by some dwarf pines. Take this right hand trail which immediately descends very steep rocks from the ridge crest down into huge Marxenkar cirque. Again steel ropes help you down that bit of the route.
The trail traverses the huge and broad Marxenkar
and ascends into another higher cirque west of Marxenkar: Seekarl
. Arriving there the trail heads up south to Seekarlscharte
, a small col between Kleine Seekarspitze and Bockkarspitze. A short descend brings you down to Breitgrieskarscharte
with the emergency shelter.
The trail now heads east-south-east to reach the huge north and northeast rock face of Breitgrieskarspitze. Ascend first the scree field and later some easy rocks up to the culmination point of Toni Gaugg Höhenweg on top of Breitgrieskarspitze south ridge.
The last 80 meters to the summit, starting at the culmination point of Toni Gaugg Höhenweg, are without markings or signs. Just follow the ridge crest or ascend the ridge a bit left (on the west side) of the ridge on some scree and easy rocks to the summit cairn.
Other hiking routes
Breitgrieskarspitze north face |[|Breitgrieskarspitze (center) and Kleine Seekarspitze (left)] Breitgrieskarspitze as seen from Vogelkarspitze ascent
, most of them not marked and signposted, old hunter trails, not maintained, strenuous:
Red Tape & AccommodationRed Tape
Breitgrieskarspitze 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
The parking areas at Scharnitz require a parking fee!
Pleisenhütte in winter Emergency shelter at Breitgrieskarscharte
Camping is not allowed within Alpenpark Karwendel.
Food and lodging can be found at
Gear & Mountain Condition
Breitgrieskarspitze as seen from the north
Breitgrieskarspitze is mainly a late spring, summer and autumn undertaking.
For the hiking routes you need good hiking gear, good shoes and lots of water (nearly no water in the higher reagions of that mountain).
Anton-Gaugg-Höhenweg is partly secured with steel ropes, some rock dcrambling in exposed terrain included. The highest parts of Breitgrieskarspitze can bear some snow fields even in early summer, so take some crampons and ski poles with you.
The summit ridge requires some grade I scramble.
All other hiking ascents (Breitgrieskar cirque, Hinterkar cirque, Anger Alm - Marxenkar cirque) are long, strenuous and mainly unmarked. These trails are not maintained.
Maps & Guide Books
Breitgrieskarspitze (center) as seen from the west, Große Seekarspitze to the left
1 : 25.000
Blatt Nr. 5/2
, Mittleres Blatt
1 : 25.000
Blatt Nr. 5/1
, Westliches Blatt
Bayerische Topographische Karte
1 : 50.000
, UK 50/51
Landessamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation, München
Alpenvereinsführer Karwendel alpin
Bergverlag Rother, München
for rock climbing:
Bergverlag Rother, München
(out of stock)
Available only in German