Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 47.51920°N / 10.87518°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 7090 ft / 2161 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Geierköpfe as seen from Schellschlicht

Geierköpfe - vulture heads - is a rather uncommon name for a mountain. Located in the middle of Ammergau Alps, limited by the Ammerwald valley to the north and west, the Nadernach valley and Schellen valley to the south and the Neualm col to the east, the three summits of Geierköpfe - west summit, main summit and east summit - are prominent hights within the Kreuzspitze subgroup of Ammergau Alps.

Kreuzspitze, Kreuzspitzl, Schellschlicht, Kuchelbergspitz, Frieder and Friederspitz are the other prominent summits of this central subgroup, all surmounting 2000 m.

The name Geierköpfe originates maybe from vulture nests long time ago before men extirpated vultures in this region. Maybe it derives from a cave directly below the main summit which is shaped - if you let your imagination run wild a little bit - like a vulture head.


The vulture head shaped cave below main summit

Anyway Geierköpfe is an interesting hike. Most people climb the west summit, located high above beautiful Plansee lake, a fjord - like deep mountain lake southeast of Reutte. Not too many go on, following the short ridge to the main summit with its caracteristic summit cave. Only few do the whole traverse to the east summit. That involves some rock scrambling in bad rock and the problem how to get back to your ascend trailhead. In the “Main Routes” section there are some suggestions how to solve this problem.

Being a traverse monster myself I only can recommend the traverse of the whole Geierköpfe ridge, which is done best - in my opinion - from west to east. You can leave a bike at the eastern descend trailhead and bike down the descending Ammerwald road to Plansee trailhead where you started the traverse in the morning. And in summer Plansee offers a good and refreshing swim after a 6 to 7 hours day.

Getting There

Plansee as seen from the southwestern ascent

Main trailheads are

  • Ammerwald; Bei den Sieben Quellen

  • Am Plansee

  • all located in the valley between Graswang / Linderhof and Reutte.

    You reach these trailheads
    From Munich

  • by using highway A 95 and road number B 2 to Oberau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, then

  • road number B 23 to Ettal; after Ettal

  • take the first road to the left, leading to Graswang, Linderhof and to the trailhead (road number St2060).

  • The eastern trailhead is exactly at the German - Austrian border, there is a parking lot in front of the only switchback of the whole Graswang - Ammerwald road.
    For the western trailhead traverse the border and go on the road L255 to “Am Plansee”. Turn left and follow the road to the campgrounds until you reach parking area number 2

    From Reutte / Lechtal / Füssen

  • by using road number 198 (Lechtal) or 179 (from Füssen) to Reutte, continuing on

  • road number L255 to Am Plansee or alternatively to the eastern trailhead.

    West summit
    GeierköpfeWinter view of the northern Geierköpfe rockfaces
    Geierköpfe as seen from Kramerspitz

    Railway and bus connections are complicated for this mountain. You can use the Außerfern railway from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Griesen and use a bike to reach Am Plansee via Nadernachtal.

    Main Routes Overview

    Main hiking trails are:

  • Southwest route / Zwerchenberg (Zwergenberg) trail:
    Start at „Am Plansee“, there are two parking areas near the campground (fee required during main season); follow the road to the north, take the first forest road to your right until you reach some withered signposts, indicating „Geier“. Follow the sometimes very steep and exposed trail up to Zwergenberg, traverse the plateau of Zwergenberg to the hunters hut. Climb then Kreuzjöchl and (steep again with one rock scramble part) Geierkopf west summit.

    A bit of scrambling shortly below west summit
    GeierköpfeWest summit as seen from main summit
    East summit as seen from main summit

  • East – Northeast trail:
    Start at the parking area “Bei den Sieben Quellen” at the only switchback of the Ammerwald road. Follow the Neualp valley trail to the south, ascending to Neualp hunters hut. Turn right / west on a hunters trail and ascend the south slopes of Geierköpfe. Leave the trail below Geierkopf east summit and ascend off trail to that summit. Alternatively traverse the whole south slope of Geierköpfe in some ups and downs to reach Kreuzjöchl and Geierkopf west summit (see Zwerchenberg trail).

    West and main summit as seen from Zwergenberg
    GeierköpfeDeep view to Plansee
    Plansee trailhead and Thaneller

    GeierköpfeSummit panorama of Geierköpfe main summit


    Geierköpfe north face with the ski route cirque


  • Ridge crest traverse:
    See the Geierköpfe traverse page for a detailed description of this route.

  • South slope traverse:
    Between Kreuzjöchl southwest of the west summit and the Neualm east of the east summit there is an unmarked hunters trail, traversing the south slopes of Geierköpfe. You can use this not maintained trail to return to the southwest or the east ascent route when doing the ridge crest traverse of the three summits instead of descending to the opposite trailhead. The south slope traverse has some ups and downs and goes through nice and hot dwarf pine zones so don´t expect an easy walking trail.

  • Ski route

    A rather difficult ski route starts at Hotel Ammerwand parking area and uses the steep slopes and the huge north cirque up to point 2056 m of the Alpenvereins map, situated on the west ridge of the western summit. The last bit of that ascent is a steep chute which ends at a rock window which you have to pass through (ice axe and crampons required). The route then follows the west slopes up to the west summit. Ski down the same route. You need absolute low avalanche risk for that!

    Red Tape & Accommodation

    Geierköpfe south slopes

    There are no special regulations as far as I know. Please note that the German parts of Ammergau Alps are a nature protection reserve with the usual restrictions like fire, camping, littering prohibited.

    Geierköpfe summits are located in Austria but the eastern ascent route is partly on the German side of the borderline.

    You find accomodation at:

  • Hotel Ammerwald

  • Am Plansee - campgrounds

  • Graswang

  • Reutte

  • No mountain huts are located in this region.

    Gear & Mountain Condition

    Geierköpfe main summit

    Geierköpfe are a summer and autumn hike on sometimes steep and sparsely marked trails with withered red dots. The traverse from the main summit to the east summit needs some rock scrambling up to UIAA grade I in exposed terrain and bad and loose rock.

    You need normal hiking gear and good shoes.

    In winter and early spring, the north slopes and chutes offer a ski tour route up to the west summit. That undertaking needs full ski tour and avalanche gear.

    Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Book

    Evening view from below Geierkopf west to the west


  • Topographische Karte 1 : 50.000, Karwendelgebirge, Werdenfelser Land, UK L 5, Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt München

  • Topographische Karte 1 : 50.000, Füssen und Umgebung, Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt München

  • Alpenvereinskarte Bayern, scale 1 : 25.000, number BY 6, Ammergebirge West, Hochplatte, Kreuzspitze; 2012

  • Guide Book

    Alpenvereinsführer alpin
    Allgäuer Alpen und Ammergauer Alpen
    Bergverlag Rother, München, 2008



    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.