Hoellental (Valley of hell) or how to get s.o. mountain-addicted

Hoellental (Valley of hell) or how to get s.o. mountain-addicted

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Oct 28, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Via Ferrata
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall

The Hoellental-ascent, a hard one day trip (10/2006)

Deep view - Climbing ZugspitzeDeep view: Climbing Hoellental
Hoellental 10/2006Near the hut
The  Brett "Brett"
Looking backAfter the first iron route
Looking to the summitView to the summit
HoellentalLonely Hiker
On the glacierOn the glacier
Deep viewDeep view
The final ridgeThe final ridge
Happy summitersOn the summit

Last week I asked my friend Sam if he wants to go on a trip to the Alps. He never did a trip to the mountains before, but he was very interested in it. I dreamed about a last tour in this season. This one had to be hard enough to exist in mind over the winter. So I thought about Hoellental (engl: Valley of hell) at Zugspitze the highest mountain of Germany. I did it in 2004 the first time. It is normally a two day ascent, but you can do it on one day. But then you have to ascend 2200 meters in 7-9 hours! You have to start early to reach safly the last cable car at the summit for descending to the valley and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This trip includes all types of mountaineering. First you walk through a forest in the dark of the early morning. Then you hike in a clammy creek. There you have to cross the river over some bridges over the canyon of "Hoellentalklamm" and in the late season on your own, because some bridges are dismantled for the winter. Then you hike through a high valley, after this follows a short iron-route, followed by hiking on rubble up to the last german glacier. After this sorrowful glacier follows the last part, the summit wall with a nice iron route which includes some very icy passages. Yes, this trip would be good to be the last in this season.
My friend didn´t know what he really would expect, but he was excited. We started our journey in Bonn, the old capitol of West-Germany and he got my whole secondary equipment and some things from my girlfriend. We drove well prepared to Munich with my van. In Munich we did a stop at HB, the famous Hofbraeuhaus known all over the world. We drunk a big Radler (lemonade and beer), ate some traditional chicken and prezel before we drove to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the town at the foot of Zugspitze. Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the presenter of the Olympic Games in 1936. We drove to Hammersbach and slept in my VW-van and watched some episodes of "King of Queens" ;-)
The next day we woke up at 0515 and started our ascent at 0545. We were very fast in the first part in the forest. It was dark but the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen was glimming in the valley. We reached the bridge over Hoellentalklamm. It was very loud, the water was roaring deep in the canyon. A little bit after this we had to cross a river on our own. I was testing a way over some rocks, I was just saying (on german!) " Oh, these rocks are very slippery!" as my friend shouted "Shi*, Shi*, FU**!!!" and bounced out of the river. I laughed a little bit as I saw him bouncing through the water up to the knees. I was very surprised that this little mistake and the wet trousers didn´t stress him the next hours. We reached the closed Hoellentalanger-hut 2,5 hours after starting at Hammersbach. We took a little break and met a friendly couple who joined the rest of the trip together with us. We four were the only people who did this trip on this nice autumn day. After this little break we hiked through the high-valley towards the first iron-route, which includes the parts "Leiter" and "Brett" - two traditional old parts of this Hoellental-ascent. This iron-route leads through a steep step to the upper section of Hoellental. After this wall followed the strenuous ascent on the rubble which had appeared by the vanishing glacier. This was not the favourite type of hiking for Sam. Because of his husky body of over 200 pounds he slipped on the rubble sometimes. It was very strenuous for him. After this part we reached the end of the valley. Now, there followed the next experience for Sam, the dirty, snow-free glacier with some deep dark crevasses. We buckled up our crampons and searched a safe way through the crevasses. Sam got a queasy feeling while going between, and jumping over some crevasses and hearing the ice snapping around him. I had a lot of fun, and exulted the whole way up: "The boys are having fun, jiihaa!" After this funny part for me and scary part for him, we reached the bergschrund and the start of the final part of the ascent - the summit wall with the iron route. This part isn´t very hard, but we had more than 1700 meters done at this point of our trip. We took some "Power Bar Gels Tropical Fruit", which gave us a short bacardi-caribbean-feeling in this icy region. The wind came up and we increased the pace. The last 100 meters of elevation were fully covered by snow. This part was a little bit tricky. After 2200 meters I reached the summit first. Some tourists on the platform next to the summit ran to the railing, waved to me, I saluted back and they took some shots of an exhausted man on the summit. The three others reached the summit after some minutes. We all were very happy to have finished this terrific ascent. Sam got some special congratulations because this strenuous trip was his first mountain-trip he ever did. He was tough, he did it in a little bit more than 9 hours to the summit, this is not a record, but for the first trip ever it is superb. Later he said, that he was thinking about flying with a rescue-helicopter out of the valley while ascending on this strenuous rubble short before the glacier. GOOD JOB, SAM! EVERYTIME AGAIN! We crossed to the platform and drunk a Radler and a Hot Chocolate in the restaurant. We took the cable-car to Eibsee and continued by train to Hammersbach where the parking was.

After this we finished our day trip in PIZZA HUT, eating a big "Cheesy Crust Caribbean Chicken Lovers-Pizza", which gave us the second caribbean-feeling this day in a little town in Upper Bavaria ;-) We slept in my van again, and watched some episodes of "King of Queens" again, and drove on the next day to "Schloss Neuschwanstein" the famous castle of Ludwig II, which was archetype for the castle of Walt Disney. After this little sightseeing we drove to Bonn and could look back to a great weekend. Thank you, Sam.

Sebastian Hamm

Strenuous rubbleStrenuous rubble
Hoellental-glacierThe glacier
Hohe Riffel and WaxensteinView to the North

Hoellental 10/2006The first rock wall
EibseeView to Eibsee
The icy passagesIcy Passages


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 24

mvs - Oct 30, 2006 11:49 pm - Voted 10/10


Way to go Sebastian! I was thinking of doing that myself last weekend. Seems pretty ideal as a late season trip...

Excellent report and photos.

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 7:07 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Cool

This trip ideal. I did it the second time in late october. It nice to be mostly alone in this nice valley. The conditions are quite good. The last 100m are snow-covered. No Problem. I am glad you like my report. Cheers Sebastian


mvs - Dec 31, 2006 8:25 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Cool

Whew, I finally went and did the Höllental ascent (today). Despite a bad forecast, the weather was great! What a beautiful, beautiful climb.

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Dec 31, 2006 9:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Cool

Congrats, this is really a late season tour ;-) I like this route. Happy 2007!


RonaldT - Oct 31, 2006 11:27 am - Voted 10/10


Congrats. Very nice report really! I was looking for such a trip for the last week-end. A mixed route with challenging parts. Too bad I didn't see it before, I would have done it and probably on the same day. We finally decided to climb the Grauspitz (2599m) in Liechtenstein but got lost ;) We finally took a summit, which was not the Grauspitz but the Falknis (2560). Well, I keep your report in my favourites and will certainly do it as soon as possible - thanks again for the details and nice photos. Still possible in 2006?

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 11:43 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great!

Thanks for your kind comment. Yes it is still possible till the first big snowfall in ~December comes. You need a full via ferrata set and crampons for this tour. I will do it next autumn again, maybe we will met there ;-)

Cheers Sebastian

PS: Feel free to vote.


RonaldT - Oct 31, 2006 11:53 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Great!

Thanks for the advice Sebastian and forgive me for the vote (I am quite new to this site so...) Well, I just did it! It definitely deserves a 10/10!

I'll keep you posted when I'll go.


Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 11:58 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great!

Oh, I see, you are a new member. WELCOME TO SP!
If you have any questions, send me a private message. You could do it on my profile page. Cheers Sebastian


vvujisic - Oct 31, 2006 3:29 pm - Voted 10/10


Very nice page!

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 6:00 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great!

Thank you very much. Sebastian

Big Benn

Big Benn - Oct 31, 2006 5:40 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice Report

I have really enjoyed reading that report Sebastian. It's in a area I hike in a lot, but not as high as you went, so not via the "dreaded" Brett to the Zugspitze! And it's so nice to know that SP now has a report of that route, (I can only dream of doing it at present), along with some great pictures. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Many thanks, Bryan.

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 6:09 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice Report

Thanks for your nice comment. I did this route as my season-end-trip the second time. It is very nice. Maybe you will do it in summer as a two-day-trip and stay in Hoellentalanger-hut. It is then 2,5h to the hut. 30min to Brett. 1,5h to glacier. 30min on glacier. 2h to summit on via ferrata. The first 10m of the second via ferrata is damaged with broken cables and needs a lot of power. Maybe this could be a problem to some people. Nevertheless it is very intersting to hike to the hut and to the end of the lower part of the valley. I can recommend it to you.
I have done some shots of Kramerspitz for you, but they are not very sharp ;-(

Augie Medina

Augie Medina - Oct 31, 2006 6:26 pm - Voted 10/10

Entertaining Story

Good for Sam! I'll have to try a Radler sometime.

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Oct 31, 2006 6:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Entertaining Story

Don´t you have a "Oktoberfest" in L.A.? ;-)

Augie Medina

Augie Medina - Oct 31, 2006 11:15 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Entertaining Story

We must have; I'll look for it.


dadndave - Nov 1, 2006 6:24 am - Voted 10/10

Good TR

And great photos.

Can't you be deported from Germany or thrown in jail for putting lemonade in beer?

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Nov 1, 2006 7:21 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Good TR

Thanks for your comment.

No, it is traditional to put lemonade in beer in bavaria. It is for women, for people who aren´t strong enough for 1 liter 5,5%, for drivers or for people who did a sportive trip, because it is really refreshing. If you put banana-juice in it, you would be thrown in the cesspool. ( I´ve seen it ;-P )
Test it: e.g. 50% Lager-beer (maybe heineken) and 50% Sprite


SirsAm - Nov 1, 2006 3:12 pm - Voted 10/10

That was a trip!

Hi Sebastian,
I read all posts and your report of our trip. I think it was a very great idea to "walk" up to there ;-). Thanks for doing it with me. As you told it was my first trip to the mountains, but I think ít won´t be the last!
cya sAm

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Nov 1, 2006 10:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: That was a trip!

Everytime again. Thanks for coming with me. I am proud to hear that it won´t be your first and only trip to the alps. One more addict. Cheers Sebastian


46and2 - Nov 2, 2006 12:29 am - Hasn't voted

just what is...

an iron-route exactly? From your pics, it looks like some kind of "assisted climbing". What is the history behind it? Very interesting.

Viewing: 1-20 of 24



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.

ZugspitzeTrip Reports