Kleiner Lafatscher

Kleiner Lafatscher

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 47.34682°N / 11.45750°E
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 8645 ft / 2635 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Kleiner Lafatscher (2635 m)...Dominating Kleiner Lafatscher above Halleranger (image of user luidger)

Life often tells us that it is better to deal with the big brother than with the little brother. But sometimes life is wrong as it is the case with the two brothers Großer and Kleiner Lafatscher. Having climbed both of them my favorite is the little brother.

The two Lafatscher brothers are part of the Gleiersch - Halltal range of Karwendel mountains and, as they both exceed 2.600 m, belong to the high Karwendel summits.

The Gleiersch - Halltal range is a dominating ridge with a nearly perpendicular drop of about 1000 m of altitude difference and more on its northern side. The south sides are built of steep slabs, meadows and rock faces, dominating Halltal valley to the east and Gleiersch valley to the west.

Kleiner Lafatscher stands above Lafatscher Joch, the most important col to traverse from the south side to the north side of the range. It is a rather prominent mountain when viewed from the east and from the north. The northern rockface above Halleranger (Anger = meadow) bears some of the finest and most wellknown climber routes of Karwendel.
As the notch between Kleiner and Großer Lafatscher, a huge summit block west of the summit of Kleiner Lafatscher, is not very deeply cut in, our summit does not look very prominent when viewed from its higher brother.

In former times the normal route to the top was a marked and maintained one. Nowadays with the many more or less experienced people hiking from one alpine club hut to the other the route is no longer maintained and signposted. Marks did fade away and the cairns of the lower part of the route are regularly destroyed so to prevent the less experienced from summiting.

Thus Kleiner Lafatscher is leading a calm life now. The summit register has only 10 pages of entries a year and if you are unlucky you will meet two, three or four people at the summit. The whole day.

Kleiner Lafatscher was first summited may, 26th 1881 by A. Zott, H. Zametzer, F. Kilger, H. Schwaiger. The famous northeast dihedral of the huge northern rockface (UIAA grade IV+ to VI-) was first climbed in 1932 by Matthias Auckenthaler.

Getting There

Kleiner LafatscherKleiner Lafatscher as seen from Thaurer Zunterkopf

There are several trailheads for Kleiner Lafatscher, depending on wether you choose to do a one day hike or summit this peak during a longer Karwendel traverse:

  • Halltal / Issbrücke parking area

  • Bettelwurfhütte

  • Halleranger Hütte / Halleranger Alm

  • Pfeißhütte

  • You reach Halltal

  • from Salzburg / Munich / Kufstein by highway number A 8 to Inntal - intersection, A 12 to exit Hall - Mitte (toll road). At the exit Hall - Mitte follow road number 171A to Hall center and road number L225 to Absam and in the direction Gnadenwald. Where this road turns right go straight on on the Halltal road.

  • from Innsbruck / Arlberg by highway A 8 (toll road) to exit Hall Mitte; go on as described above.

  • from Munich (toll free) use highway A 95 to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, road number B 11 to Mittenwald and Scharnitz, road number 177 to Zirl and road number 171 to Hall center, passing through the town of Innsbruck. At Hall center do as described above.

  • Current regulations for Halltal (08 / 2014):

    Halltal is closed to public traffic and will be so in the future. This is due to security regulations (landslide areas along the road).

    Actually there is a shuttle bus service on weekends with good weather during the summer months (see schedule and prices here ).

    This bus starts at Absam / Halltal parking area and ends at the Sankt Magdalena mountain inn. With this bus it is possible to reach all the Halltal trailheads without walking or at least with only a short additional walk.

    During the week and in autumn a taxi service is available to the trailheads; prices actually (2014) range from 18 € to 23 € up to 5 persons and 25 € to 30 € up to 8 persons.

    Pfeißhütte can be reached from Scharnitz (best by MTB, otherwise a very long hike), from the mountain station of Hafelekar cable car, starting at Innsbruck or from the villages of Rum or Thaur between Innsbruck and Hall.

    Halleranger Haus or Halleranger Alm can be reached from Scharnitz (again best by MTB, otherwise a very long hike) or from the villages of Schwanz / Vomp or Terfens, east of Hall.

    Route Overview

    The normal route to Kleiner Lafatscher starts at Lafatscher Joch (col) and uses the southeast ridge of the mountain.

    You reach Lafatscher Joch:

  • coming from Halleranger Haus or Halleranger Alm by using trail number 223 from Halleranger up to the col

  • coming from Bettelwurfhütte by traversing the Bettelwurf - Speckkarspitze area on the south side on trail number 222 until you reach the col
    starting at Halltal / Issbrücke by using the trail to Issanger (beautiful meadow) and to the col or by using the forest road to Herrenhäuser and Issjöchl and descending down to Issanger

  • coming from Pfeißhütte by using trail number 221 to Stempeljoch and trail number 222 (Wilde Bande Steig) to the col.

  • Kleiner LafatscherKleiner Lafatscher as seen from Issanger
    Kleiner LafatscherIssanger and Rosskopf
    Kleiner LafatscherLafatscher Joch with normal route

    Starting some 50 meters below the col on the south side you see a narrow footpath which zigzags up the steep scree and meadow slope of the lower southwest ridge up to a first peak in the ridge (easy rock scramble in the upper parts). There are some cairns and several foottrails guiding you up. At the first peak the ridge gets rocks and more exposed. Best is to follow the ridge crest (UIAA grade I / I+) up to the summit arete which you reach at its southernmost edge. Follow the easy summit ridge to the summit cross.

    Kleiner LafatscherMiddle part of Lafatscher normal route
    Kleiner LafatscherGreat views from normal route
    Kleiner LafatscherThe more difficult part of the normal route

    Other more easier routes are:

  • Northeast arete: UIAA grade III-, 2h

  • Ridge to Großer Lafatscher: UIAA grade II to III, bad rock; normal route to Großer Lafatscher from Wilde Bande Steig is UIAA grade I (in parts) and off-trail

  • Kleiner Lafatscher is a classic climbing mountain. There are several famous climbing routes on the north and northeast side of that mountain.

  • Nordostkante: VI/A2, 3-5h

  • Nordostwand-Schichttafel ("Der letzte Mohikaner"): VII+ (one part), VI+, VI, 8h

  • Pendelquergang: VIII-/A4

  • Gerade Nordostverschneidung VI-, IV, 4-6h, (most famous climbing route of Halleranger)

  • Nordwandplatte "Sturmwind": VI+, VI, 4-6h

  • Nordostwand: IV, 4h, partly bad rock

  • Nordnordostpfeiler: VI-, IV, 4h

  • Nordwand, Alter Weg: IV+, 4-7h

  • Nordwand, Haklführe: VI, 8h

  • Nordpfeiler, Lafatscher Pfeiler: VI-, V+, 5-8h, famous climbing route

  • Nordwestpfeiler: VI-, V+, 6h

  • "Rumpelstilzchen": IX+, IX

  • "Tomahawk": IX-

  • "King-Swing": VIII/A0

  • Kleiner LafatscherEasy rock climb on normal route
    Kleiner LafatscherSummit view to Bettelwurf
    Kleiner LafatscherSummit view to Grubenkarspitze, Eiskarlspitze, Hochnisslspitze

    Red Tape & Accommodation

    Kleiner LafatscherA view from Kleiner to Großer Lafatscher

    Red Tape

    Kleiner Lafatscher is part of the “Alpenpark Karwendel”, an important and strictly protected national park.

    There is no entrance fee for the park but many regulations to follow.

    There is a National Park Information Center at Hinterriß.
    The road to Halltal is a toll road with restricted parking areas which should be respected.


    Camping is not allowed within Alpenpark Karwendel.

    Food and lodging can be found in

  • Innsbruck

  • Hall in Tirol

  • Mountain huts

  • Hallerangerhaus

  • Hallerangeralm

  • Bettelwurfhütte

  • Pfeißhütte

  • Mountain inn Sankt Magdalena / Halltal (no overnight stay)

  • Herrenhäuser / Knappenhäuser / Halltal (old salt mining inn; no overnight stay)

  • Kleiner Lafatscher180 degree summit panorama

    Gear & Mountain Condition

    Kleiner Lafatscher is mainly a summer and autumn mountain. However, the south ascents to Lafatscher Joch tend to be free of snow earlier than other Karwendel regions. So you find some ascent entries in the summit register even in december, january, february and in early spring. The southeast ridge / normal route from Lafatscher Joch should be fun with some snow on it.

    Kleiner LafatscherWildflowers of Kleiner Lafatscher: Gentiana punctata
    Kleiner LafatscherWildflowers of Kleiner Lafatscher: Aconitum napellus
    Kleiner LafatscherWildflowers of Kleiner Lafatscher: Hieracium piosella

    The normal route to Kleiner Lafatscher needs climbing skills up to UIAA grade I+. Unexperienced may be secured with a rope.

    Normal hiking gear and good shoes are sufficient. With snow everything is more difficult and complicated. So an ice axe and crampons can serve well during a snow ascent.

    Current Weather:

    Maps & Guide Book

    Kleiner LafatscherWildflowers of Kleiner Lafatscher: Gentiana asclepiadea


    Alpenvereinskarte, 1 : 25.000, Karwendelgebirge, Mittleres Blatt, number 5/2, 2008

    Alpenvereinskarte, 1 : 50.000, Innsbruck und Umgebung

    Guide Book

    Walter Klier: Karwendel alpin, Alpenvereinsführer, Bergverlag Rother, München, 16th edition, 2011