Evening sun on Grünstein (right) and Ehrwalder Sonnenspitze (left)
Grünstein is a major summit of the Mieming range
and is located in the western part of this area. With a height of 2661 m Grünstein is not among the highest peaks of Mieming range, that is Hochplattig
, more than 100 m higher, or Griesspitzen, east of Grünstein. Nevertheless Grünstein is wellknown and, besides of Hohe Munde, one of the most visited summits of Mieming main range.
Grünstein is located between Griesspitzen
to the east, Marienbergspitzen
to the west, Hölltörl col
to the south and Dachenkopf
to the north.
It is the highest summit of the west range of the Mieming area
between Grünsteinscharte and Marienbergjoch. This west range is a huge rock wall, dropping down 400 to 500 meters to the north and the south. The normal route is the south route which requires some rock climbing up to UIAA grade II. The rock is good for Mieming range standards; normally Mieming rock climbs tend to be in bad and crumbled rocks.
Grünstein, east arete and Grünsteinscharte as seen from Tajatörl in spring
Another well known route is the east arête coming from Grünsteinscharte (UIAA grade II, III in parts) and the west arête from Marienbergspitzen (UIAA grade II – III in parts).
The summit is an excellent lookout, the higher Mieming summits blocking the view only in eastern direction.
I said Grünstein is one of the most visited summits within Mieming main range. This does not mean crowds on the summit as the normal route has its obstacles and is poorly marked with cairns. At Hölltörl, the starting point of the normal route, there is no signpost pointing out the summit. All other routes are less known. So don´t worry, you will not meet many people on your way.
Getting ThereNorthern main trailhead
is the parking area of Marienberg ski runs above the village of Biberwier
Southern main trailhead
is the parking area at Thaler Inn
, Arzkasten near the village of Obsteig
Grünstein at the right end of Mieming range as seen from the northwest Grünstein and (left) Ehrwalder Sonnenspitze above low clouds in autumn
Your reach Biberwier
Summit view to the north, Zugspitze, Ehrwalder Sonnenspitze, Ammergauer mountains Summit view to the east, Griesspitzen, Inntal
You reach Obsteig
by car either from Innsbruck
or from Landeck
by following highway number A 12
to the exit “Telfs” Turn on road number 189
and pass through Obsteig
. Take the first road branching off to the right in the woods and follow it until you reach the parking area at the inn.
Routes OverviewRoutes Overview
Southern normal route
This route starts at a col named Hölltörl
(hells gate). I don´t know where this denomination derives from; it is simply a beautiful place.
Reaching Hölltörl from the north:
Follow the forest road from the parking area above Biberwier circling around the huge hotel
at the valley station of Marienberg cablecars
. Turn left on a narrow trail entering the woods. Follow this trail through the woods up to the station of the first section of the cablecars. Ascend the ski run and regain the trail on the left side (in the ascent sense) of the ski run. Traverse higher up a debris flow zone and regain the forest road after that. Follow the road up to the mountain station and to the near Marienbergjoch
, the huge col between Hochwannig and Grünstein range.
Left of Marienbergjoch a trail starts and traverses the south slopes of Marienbergspitzen up to Hölltörl.
Reaching Hölltörl from the south:
Follow the forest road starting at the inn and parking area to Lehnberghaus
by either following the road and later the trail using the valley ground or following the forest road on the west slope of Nisskogel – Jöchle – Wankspitze ridge. From Lehnberghaus follow the trail in northern direction to Grünsteinscharte. At about 1720 m turn left on the trail to Hölltörl.
Marienbergjoch as seen from the traverse to Hölltörl Höllreiße, ascent to Hölltörl (beginning of the east arete) and to Hölltörl (to the left of the picture) At Hölltörl
North of Hölltörl you see a scree cone coming down from two rock chutes. Ascend that scree cone and traverse to the left, passing by the first / eastern chute until you reach the bottom of the second / western chute
. Climb the eastern limitation of that western chute until it gets perpendicular (UIAA grade I). Traverse there into the chute (steep slab (UIAA grade I).
With snow fill you can climb the chute directly, too.
First (wrong) and second (right) chute as seen from Hölltörl South ascent lower part South ascent lower part
Ascend the chute shortly and go right when this is easily possible. Leave the chute to your right and scramble up easy rocks to a ridge. Turn left there and walk up to the upper part of the first / eastern chute. Stay left and climb a first short rockwall
(UIAA grade I) until you can traverse into a chute. Pass by this chute and climb a second short rockface
(UIAA grade II, secured with an iron rope) up to a ridge. Follow that ridge to a third rockwall
which can be climbed on its left side using a huge crack or in its middle part using a chute. From there on follow a rock ridge (UIAA grade I) up to a sort of landing which marks the lowest point of the upper Grünstein south cirque
Left of you is the upper end of the western chute; with enough snow you can ascend and descend the whole chute (this is the normal ski route
Second, secured, rockwall Third rockwall Upper Grünstein cirque; bootskiing area
Follow the foot tracks in the scree navigating round a rock ridge to the right
. Gain the scree and grassy ridge above the rocks and follow it straight up to the uppermost part of the cirque. The ridge turns into a rock ridge near the upper end of the cirque; you can climb it up directly
(UIAA grade I / I-) or navigate round it on its left side
(steep scree tracks; this is the descent route, too).
At the upper end of the ridge (or a bit below it) traverse to your right
into the huge summit rock chute
coming down right / east of the summit block. Ascend this chute; there is one huge rock blocking the chute, climb it directly (UIAA grade II). A second chockstone was washed out of the chute recently; funnily enough this was – as I was told – the most difficult bit of the route. Actually (2015) it is instable terrain which will get better / more firm in the future.
Summit chute Chokestone in summit chute Circling around summitblock
Leave the chute to your left when you reach the summit block. Don´t follow the chute to its end. Follow the ledges
to your left navigating around the summit block until you reach its western face
. Climb up the west face of the summit block to the nearby summit.
The descent is on the same route. Parts of the scree filled upper Grünstein south cirque are good for bootskiing down in the scree. Great fun!
Summit Summit view to the southwest with upper Grünstein cirque Summit view to the south
The ski route mostly follows the southern normal route
. You need to reach Hölltörl
, from the north via ascending the Marienberg ski area to Marienbergjoch
and then traverse on the south slopes to Hölltörl, or you start at Thaler Inn, ascend to Lehnberghaus
and to Höllreiße
, turn left and ascend the slopes to Hölltörl.
For the summit ascent you need enough snow and good avalanche conditions. Use the eastern chute completely to reach upper Grünstein cirque. Go up to its upper end and leave the skies at the entrance to the summit chute.
Follow that chute up to the left side ledges, circle round the summit block and climb it on its western side. With very good snow condition you may reach the summit with skies, too.
This route is only for the very experienced ski tourist! Don´t underestimate the difficulty of skiing down the south side of Grünstein!
Summit view to the north
West arete Marienbergspitzen - Grünstein Seebensee, Drachenkopf and - left - Grünstein north face
Red Tape & Accommodation
No Red Tape as far as I know.
You find all kinds of accommodation
Gear & Mountain Condition
Upper Grünstein south cirque
Grünstein nearly is a year round summit. In late spring, summer and autumn it is a mountaineers and climbers summit which requires climbs up to UIAA grade II (two parts) on the normal route in rather good, sometimes exposed rock. The other routes are more difficult and more demanding.
You should bring a helmet for the south normal route. As the most difficult rock wall is secured with an iron rope you need no extra rope with dry and snow free conditions. Slings, rope and hareness for less experienced mountaineers can be useful for the south route and for the two aretes.
The north chute is a late spring / early summer outing. Crampons, helmet, ice axe and a rope with ice screws and some slings are a must.
In late winter and spring Grünstein is summited with skies, too. You have to be an experiences skier to do so! Most common is the south normal route, using the chutes more than the ridges on the south ascent. Very good skiers do the north chute, too. Both ski routes require excellent ski and snow conditions.
You need full avalanche gear and ice gear, especially for the north chute.
See the Tirol avalanche bulletin here
Ehrwald valley and Ehrwald mountain
Maps & Guide Books
Drachensee and Coburger Hütte; the shelter for all northern ascents
Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 25.000, Blatt Nr, 4/2, Wetterstein- und Mieminger Gebirge, Mittleres Blatt
Zugspitze, Mieminger Kette: Ehrwald, Lermoos, Garmisch, Reutte. Wander-, Rad- und Skitourenkarte. 1:50.000 KOMPASS-Karten, Innsbruck, Februar 2009
Alpenvereinsführer Mieminger Kette
München : Bergverlag Rother, 1989.
The "old" classic (probably sold out)
Alpenvereinsführer Wetterstein und Mieminger Kette.
München : Bergverlag Rother, 1971.