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

Page Type
Trip Report
Germany, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Oct 28, 2006
Hiking, Mountaineering, Via Ferrata
Summer, Fall
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Hoellental (Valley of hell) or how to get s.o. mountain-addicted
Created On: Oct 30, 2006
Last Edited On: May 7, 2007

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: 21-24 of 24
Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Nov 2, 2006 8:51 am - Hasn't voted

Re: just what is...

An iron route is a "via ferrata", a route wich is secured with a cable. Look at the picture "Brett" or this:

The history behind it was touristical, to lead safly tourists to the summit. Cheers Sebastian


hendu - Mar 26, 2007 8:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Great Report

Nice to see a report on this hike. I tried to do this myself in September after spending a few days at Oktoberfest. But I was ill prepared and had to turn back after crossing the "Brett" since I wouldn't have made it to the top in time for the last tram down. Definitely great motivation to try it again.

Sebastian Hamm

Sebastian Hamm - Mar 26, 2007 8:32 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Report

Hi hendu,

What a bummer! But thank you very much.
It´s such a nice trip. I really enjoy it each time. It´s a perfect route. Forest, creek, via ferrata, rubble, glacier and 2200 m elevation gain.

Good luck for the next time. Feel free to vote.
"Prosit!" Sebastian


reinhard2 - Jun 10, 2007 6:39 pm - Voted 10/10

Very nice to read

especially when mentally quite close to the terrain. In fact I just returned from Zugspitze yesterday, after ascending from Ehrwald via the Gatterl. I spent half a day on the top, watched a lot of people coming up or going down your route and admired the stunning cloud formations developing and changing all the day. The Hoellental ascent and the one via the Wiener-Neustaedter Huette are the only ones I do not yet know, but I hope this will change this year - only that I would not do a 2200m ascent to me, therefore I would do it when the Hoellentalangerhuette is still open!

Some of the pics would deserve being posted with a higher resolution, I think.

Sebastian, how did you do the arrangement of a centered text column and a pics column on each side?

Thanks for posting!

Viewing: 21-24 of 24