Of the rocky summits of Wilder Kaiser, this is the easiest to hike. Lacking only 150 compared with its highest summit, it offers both dramatic view of ravines and a grandiose panoramic view of the main ridge of the alps.
On a summer or fall day offering acceptable weather, there will be many people doing this hike. The mountain is neither more nore less crowded than others in the region, due to the closeness of several cities.
There are two routes, one from the North, one from the South. The latter is easy, although some fitness is required. The North route is more demanding, offering cable portions and snow until late summer. (Due to climatic change, snow has receded quite a lot, so it's essential to get up to date on snow conditions when planning a tour like this.)
From Munich/München in Bavaria, Germany, take the motorway A8 (direction Salzburg), leave it near Rosenheim for A93 (direction Innsbruck), exit at Kufstein Süd and follow the road leading to St Johann. Leave this road at Ellmau and follow the sign to "Wochenbrunneralm". There, at 1085 meters, you can park the car.
From Innsbruck, take the motorway directed to Kufstein, exit at Wörgl Ost and follow the road to St Johann. Exit at Ellmau and procede as described before.
From Wochenbrunner Alm, there is a good trail up to a saddle called Ellmauer Tor. The last portion to the summit is steeper with a few cable passages. Clear signs and markings throughout the trail.
The base for the North trail is Grieseneralm, 988 meters. Take one of the car routes described before, but don't exit at Ellmau, proceed to St Johann, follow the signs to Griesenau, where you turn left to a toll road to Grieseneralm.
From there, the trail is marked first to Stripsenjoch, then to "Steinerne Rinne" and Ellmauer Tor. The last section is identical with the South trail. You can ascend from the North and descend to the South, but there is no public transport to any of the car parks involved, so you'll need someone to drive you.
No permits are known in this part of the world. Both roads are toll roads on the last kilometers, however. The fee, including parking, will be around 3 Euro.
When To Climb
The South trail will be free from snow from July to October, the North trail from August. Snow on the Southern slope will make the ascent physically more demanding. During the cold season, ice will develop both on the Northern trail and on the rocks leading to the summit, so whoever does it under those conditions should know what she or he does.
Both Wochenbrunner Alm and Grieseneralm are sort of country hotels, so don't expect the atmosphere of a mountain cottage there.
30 minutes uphill from Wochenbrunner Alm, there is Gaudeamushütte, a real cottage. However, it's rather close to the valley.
A real mountain cottage showing a magnificent view is Gruttenhütte, which can be reached from Wochenbrunn in about 90 minutes. However, this means a detour from the straight trail to the summit.
The Austrian Alpine society offers a good weather forecast under http://www.alpenverein.at
http://cms.tiscover.com/sixcms/detail.php?id=5295&template_id=2069 gives a webcam view from St Johann, however not showing the Wilder Kaiser massif but looking in the other direction. But you'll see the general weather condition.
Route description (in German)
- Klettersteige Wilder Kaiser
Via-Ferrata.de - Klettersteigportal - Over 100 fixed rope routes. Moreover detailed information over climbing, alps, hiking and other outdoor activities.