The "Maedelegabel" (or in german "Mädelegabel") is the fourth highest peak and one of the most popular "sight-seeing summits" in the Allgaeu Alps (Allgäuer Alpen).
It's so popular because
1. the ascent is quite easy (Grade I max.) on a marked path and can be done by almost every hiker
2. it is situated along the "Heilbronner Weg", a very famous and popular hiking trail in the Allgaeu Alps and therefore a lot of the dozens (or even hundreds :-) of hikers doing the Heilbronner Weg on a nice summer weekend are making the detour onto the summit.
3. and of course because of the great view from the summit.
On road B19 to Oberstdorf. Don't drive into the town centre but turn right in the direction to "Fellhornbahn" and "Birgsau". At the intersection "Spielmannsau"/"Birgsau" turn right and drive until the big parking site of the "Heini-Klopfer-Skiflugschanze". Here the parking is free - if you drive on until the parking site of the Fellhornbahn they carge you 2,50 Euro per day!
By public transport:
By train to Oberstdorf. At the train station there is also the bus terminal. Take the bus to "Birgsau".
There are two possibilities to climb the "Maedelegabel":
Via the "Kemptner Huette"
Leave the bus at the big intersection of the "Spielmannsau"/"Birgsau" roads or walk back from the "Skiflugschanze" parking site. You have to walk the road to "Spielmannsau" because private cars are not allowed. But you can hire a taxi! From "Spielmannsau" there is a hiking path to the "Kemptner Huette" (about 4,5 hours). From the hut it's about 4 hours to the "Maedelegabel".
Via the "Waltenberger Haus"
Take the bus until the final stop in "Birgsau" and walk straight on to "Einoedsbach". Thats the southernmost inn in Germany and also the southernmost place which is inhabited the whole year round! You can also stay overnight at quite reasonable prizes! From "Einoedsbach" you reach the "Waltenberger Haus" in about three hours on a very beautiful and impressive hiking path. From the hut it is about two more hours to the summit of the "Maedelegabel".
But they charge you a horrendous fee at the parking site at the Fellhorn cableway station - 2,50 Euro per day!!
So you better park your car a few kilometers before at the parking site of the "Skiflugschanze" (ski-jump). There the parking is free and you can go the last few kilometers to Birgsau by bus or just hike.
When To Climb
Best time to climb the "Maedelegabel" is summer, beginning with mid-June, and early fall. Earlier in the year there is a lot of snow in the ascents to the huts and further on!
But you have to be aware that even in summer there could be still a lot of snow in the northern ascents to "Waltenberger Haus"/"Bockkarscharte" and to "Kemptner Huette". There even could be snowfall in mid-July making the ascents very hard and difficult!
You also should be aware that the "Maedelegabel" and especially the "Heilbronner Weg" are very famous and popular spots for hikers. So on sunny summer weekends there are really hundreds of hikers on the paths and the huts (although they are more alpine hotels with hundreds of places) are crowded. So my advice is to climb the "Maedelegabel" or hike the "Heilbronner Weg" not on a weekend but during the week!
The "Kemptner Huette"
(1846 m) is a big alpine hut of the DAV (German Alpine Club). It offers almost 300 places and is open from mid-June to mid-October.
In spite of its hugeness it is possible that it is overcrowded on summer weekends, so you better book in advance or avoid the weekends!
The "Waltenberger Haus"
(2084 m) is a smaller hut of the DAV (German Alpine Club). It offers 75 places and is open from mid-June to the beginning of October.
Although it is not lying direct at the "Heilbronner Weg" it could be overcrowded on summer weekends!
If you want to have a look onto the surrounding area of the "Maedelegabel" you can use the following webcams:
Webcam from "Nebelhorn" onto the Allgaeu Alps
The "Maedelegabel" itself is not visible at the picture. It is just outside of the picture on the right. But it gives you a good impression about the weather and snow conditions in the Allgaeu Alps.
Webcam from "Fellhorn" onto the area southwest of the "Maedelegabel"
. The "Maedelegabel" itself is not visible at the picture. It is further to the left . But it gives you a good impression about the weather and snow conditions in the Allgaeu Alps.
Guides and Maps
The following guide book and the map should be essential if you would like to do some hiking or climbing tours at "Maedelegabel" or other mountains in the Allgaeu Alps.
Dieter Seibert / Heinz Groth
Alpenvereinsführer Allgäuer Alpen
Bergverlag Rother, München, new issue in May 2003
Umgebungskarte 1:50 000
UK L8 Allgäuer Alpen
Bayrisches Landesvermessungsamt, München, 1998