Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 47.55996°N / 12.25237°E
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 6821 ft / 2079 m
Sign the Climber's Log


HackenköpfeSouthern view of Hackenköpfe

The western part of Wilder Kaiser range consists of a single 5 km long ridge starting at Sonneck in the east and running straight west. The higher rock parts of that ridge are ending at Scheffauer and Zettenkaiser, the ridge then drops down to the gentle meadows of Walleralm.

Scheffauer is the best known and the most crowded summit of that ridge. East of Scheffauer and west of Wiesberg, a large alpine meadow below Sonneck and Kopfkraxen, you may recognise several not very prominent peaks sticking out of the connecting ridge with impressive rockfaces to the south and north. The whole terrain looks rather difficult and repellent.

These peaks are called Hackenköpfe and to my astonishment many years ago, when I considered a guide book of Wilder Kaiser, the traverse of these peaks is not exceeding UIAA grade II, mostly easier. The steep and often perpendicular rockfaces, however, are the world of the skilled climbers.

Hackenköpfe are a triple summit:

  • Westlicher Hackenkopf (2092 m)

  • Mittlerer Hackenkopf (2079 m)

  • Östlicher Hackenkopf (2119 m)

  • The connecting ridge from Scheffauer to Wiesberg is about 3 km long, quite a distance.

    When I climbed the Hackenköpfe first in 1992 I met nobody. Scheffauer was crowded as usual and there were some parties climbing Sonneck. I returned in 1998 and it was the same. In 2010, however, I had to learn that Hackenköpfe traverse is no longer an insider tip. If you google Hackenköpfe, you know why ……

    Nevertheless you will not meet too many people there.

    Getting There

    HackenköpfeTrailhead overview

    Hackenköpfe are best summited from the south; trailheads for hikers and climbers are:

  • Bärnstatt / Hintersteiner See near Scheffau

  • Jagerwirt / Treffau near Scheffau

  • The best northern trailheads are:

  • Kaindlhütte

  • Anton Karg Haus / Hinterbärenbad

  • Southern main trailheads

  • Leave A 12 / Inntal highway at exit Kufstein West when coming from Munich or Rosenheim (currently the toll stickers are not controlled between the border and exit Kufstein West but the situation may change) and follow road number 173 and 178 to Scheffau.

  • Leave A 12 / Inntal highway (toll road) at exit Wörgl and follow raod number 178 to Scheffau.

  • From Lofer / Sankt Johann follow road number 178 until you reach the Scheffau intersection.

  • Leave road number 178 at the signpost “Scheffau” and follow the signposts “Hintersteiner See”, passing through the village and ascending steeply up to some meadows. Arriving at Gasthof Bärnstatt leave the road to the right, there is a hikers parking area in the woods (fee required).

  • Alternatively bear right after the church of Scheffau and follow road Oberfeld and Wegscheid up to Jagerwirt parking area.

  • HackenköpfeSouthern trail to Kopfkraxen

    Northern main trailheads

    For the northern trailhead you have to go to Kufstein.

  • Kufstein / Sparchen is the trailhead for Hinterbärenbad / Anton Karg Haus. There is a huge parking area (fee required) at the end of beautiful Kaisertal, the valley between Zahmer and Wilder Kaiser. Trail number 801 leads up to Hinterbärenbad.

  • Kufstein Mitterdorf is the trailhead for Kaindlhütte. Parking areas are at the cablecar valley stations of Kaiserlift cablecar to Aschenbrenner Haus or Brentenjoch cablecar.

  • Use trail 814 from Kufstein to Aschenbrennerhaus and Brentenjoch. Alternatively use the cablecars to these destinations. Follow trail 814 to Kaindlhütte.

  • Route Overview

    Normal Route

    The normal route of Hackenköpfe is the traverse of the three summits. You may climb Westlicher Hackenkopf together with Scheffauer and then turn back. But the traverse is such a great undertaking you should not miss it.

    The traverse can be done west – east or east – west. Starting at the west end you pass the most difficult part of the traverse after a 3 minutes walk, an early test wether to go on or not.

    HackenköpfeSouth ascent to Scheffauer
    HackenköpfeHackenköpfe as seen from Scheffauer
    HackenköpfeFirst chimney, the crux (UIAA grade II)

    West end of the traverse

    Col between Scheffauer and Westlicher Hackenkopf.

    This col is the end point of:

  • the southern ascent from trailhead Bärnstatt / Hintersteiner See and

  • the northern ascent from Kaindlhütte via Widauer Steig, an exposed but not too difficult via ferrata.

  • East end of the traverse

    West ridge of Kopfkraxen summit; trail junction of the Hackenköpfe traverse with trail Scheffau – Kopfkraxen – Hinterbärenbad.

    You reach this end point using:

  • the northern ascent, Güttlersteig, from Hinterbädenbad / Anton Karg Haus to Gamskarköpfl, Kopfkraxen.

  • the southern ascent from Bärnstatt / Hintersteiner See via Steiner Hochalm, Kaiser Hochalm and Kopfkraxen ascent or via Scheffau / Jagerwirt, Wegscheidalm, Kaiser Hochalm and Kopfkraxen ascent.

  • Traverse from west to east

    Start at the col between Scheffauer and Westlicher Hackenkopf climbing the meadow east of that col. Follow the sharp ridge descending to a notch. Climb the steep chimney (UIAA grade II) back to the ridge and follow the ridge up to Westlicher Hackenkopf (easy rock scramble, cairn at summit).

    HackenköpfeFirst chimney, the crux (UIAA grade II)
    HackenköpfeMittlerer Hackenkopf as seen from Westlicher Hackenkopf
    HackenköpfeWestlicher Hackenkopf as seen from the east

    The ridge stays level first and then descends to a col between Westlicher and Mittlerer Hackenkopf. Follow the exposed ridge (easy scrambling) and descend on easy rock and meadows to the col (many karst features). Ascend again (UIAA grade I), follow the next level part of the ridge until it gets steep (summit block of Mittlerer Hackenkopf). Traverse into the southwest side to a notch (cairn) and follow some meadow and rock ledges (again cairns) to a broad chute directly below Mittlerer Hackenkopf.

    Ascend that chute (UIAA grade I) until you reach a steep part; to your right there is a chimney (UIAA grade II), climb that chimney, leave it at its top to the left and traverse up to a notch in the main ridge. Descend some meters down the northeast side (cairn) and ascend through another chute up to the summit ridge of Mittlerer Hackenkopf (UIAA grade I).

    Mittlerer Hackenkopf is in fact two summits, each with a huge cairn. Pass the first summit, follow the exposed ridge and traverse the second summit on its northeastern side and gain the ridge again.

    HackenköpfeRoute to Mittlerer Hackenkopf
    HackenköpfeLooking up to Mittlerer Hackenkopf
    HackenköpfeMittlerer Hackenkopf chimney

    The ridge is now broad with meadows, limestone outcrops and many karst features. Follow the ridge in some ups and downs and with some short and surprising scrambling action (some UIAA grade I parts), pass some large dolines and ascend steadily to the culmination point: Östlicher Hackenkopf. The route traverses the summit on its south side until it gains the ridge; for the summit go back some steps on the ridge to lay a hand on the huge cairn on the top.

    Now the route descends to Wiesberg, mainly on the south side of the ridge, in many ups and downs with meadow ledges, scrambling parts and again many karst features. There are several route possibilities on or just below the ridge line.

    Arriving at the lower meadows of Wiesberg you have to stay left. Follow the meadows up, left of a little valley, following sparse cairns until the ridge gets sharp again and the route reaches the eastern end (or starting) point of the traverse where the southern ascent to Kopfkraxen and Sonneck reaches the ridge line.

    Scheffauer (from the west end of the traverse), Kopfkraxen and Sonneck (both from the east end of the traverse) can be summited easily; allow 20 more minutes for Scheffauer and 1 to 1,5 more hours for Kopfkraxen and Sonneck (forth and back).

    Climbing routes

    Both, the northern and the southern rockfaces of Hackenköpfe are hosting some interesting climbing routes up to UIAA grade VII.

    This page with many detailed information gives a first overview:

    Hackenköpfe climbing routes overview

    Red Tape & Accommodation

    HackenköpfeKaiser Hochalm, Wiesberg and Sonnenstein

    The whole of Kaisergebirge is a nature protection area. Animals and plants are strictly protected.

    Restrictions of other acticities, like camping out inside the protected area, fires, littering and so on are most likely; unfortunately there is no restriction list on the above mentioned homepage.

    All sorts of accommodation can be found at:

  • Scheffau

  • Ellmau

  • Kufstein

  • Mountain huts and inns:

    South side:

  • Bärnstatt

  • Gruttenhütte

  • North side:

  • Anton-Karg-Haus

  • Kaisertalhaus (Hans-Berger-Haus)

  • Kaindlhütte

  • Walleralm

  • Gear & Mountain Conditions

    HackenköpfeScrambling on the traverse below Mittlerer Hackenkopf

    Hackenköpfe are (late) spring, summer and autumn summits.

    For the traverse you need to master UIAA grade II in exposed terrain; the route then normally needs no belaying.

    As there are not many cairns you sometimes need the skills to find the best route. Full hiking gear is needed for the traverse.

    All the climbing routes need full climbing gear and are exclusively for the good climbers among us.

    Current Weather

    Check the weather forecast here.

    Map & Guide Books

    HackenköpfeWiesberg, Kopfkraxen and Sonneck


    Alpenvereinskarte, scale 1 : 25.000
    Kaisergebirge, Blatt 8

    Guide Books

    Pit Schubert
    Kaisergebirge Alpenvereinsführer extrem
    edition 2000
    Bergverlag Rother

    Horst Höfler / Jan Piepenstock
    Kaisergebirge Alpenvereinsführer alpin
    12. edition 2006
    Bergverlag Rother



    Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

    KaisergebirgeMountains & Rocks