With an altitude of 2607m Hochkalter is the highest summit in the group of the same name. The mountain range is separated in the main ridge of Hochkalter, the Southern Chain of Wimbach and the Hocheisgroup. Though interest of mountaineers concentrates on his neighbor, Hochkalter is in no way inferior to the famous Watzmann. Both Mountains are separated by the wild valley of Wimbachgriess, where the decay of the mountains becomes evident. Indeed, the whole mountain range is susceptible for rock-slip:
- Today's appearance of Hochkalter summit is dated from 24th of August 1908, when the main summit broke off (heigth about 100m, width 80m, depth 30m).
- On 25th of July 1954 the last 30m of second Blaueisturm fell of.
- On the day nine years later a crag of height 40m slipped off north-face of Schärtenspitze.
- A huge rock-slip came down from the notch between the Palfelhörner (2,222m, 2.067m) in Southern Chain of Wimbach in second week of February 1959 (several hundred thousand cubic metres of stone).
The scree covering the whole valley of Wimbachgriess is coming down from the region of the Palfelhörner.
Below the Hochkalter to the northern side you can find the steep and narrow glacier called Blaueis. Unfortunately Blaueis, the northernmost glacier of the alps, has lost much substance during the last years.
Interest of mountaineers concentrates on main summit and its neighbors around the glacier with collective name Blauseisumrahmung ("frame of Blaueis") nearby Blaueishütte, the central point of support. The homepage of Blauseishütte
offers several topos, route descriptions and pictures of neighboring ascents. The hut is a paradise for sport climbers. Several routes of highest difficulties have been opened here during last years. Beginners and advanced climbers will find several routes to Steinberg and Schärtenspitze.
Hocheisgroup and Southern Chain of Wimbach are secluded areas of great beauty, only visited by few mountaineers. Parts of these are territory of Austria. The preponderant part of the mountain range belongs to Germany.
Routes Overview and History
First of all it has to be said, that Hochkalter is a mountain for experienced mountaineers. Occasional hikers shoudn't try to reach the summit.
of the main summit of Hochkalter were prince bishop Schwarzenberg with Gemminger, Tatz and Wein in 1830. They reached the summit through "Kaltergraben (Hirschenlauf)" in the West of the mountain range. Today this ascend is of no touristic importance.
Most Popular Routes Overview
- Todays normal route reaches the summit from Blaueishut over "Schöner Fleck", Rotpalfen (Wasserwandkopf) and Kleinkalter.
3.5h from the hut. UIAA I with few points UIAA II.
Thurwieser and Wein, 1833.
- Traversing Blaueis the summit can be reached over the "classical route". The glacier is steep up to 55 degrees in its upper part. Traversing the crevice (bergschrund) beneath the Blaueisscharte may be very tricky (impossible?) in late summer.
Best time: second half of june.
3-4 h from the hut. UIAA II.
E. Richter and Johann Grill "Kederbacher", 1874.
- Blaueis-north-ridge is part of the Blauseisumrahmung and a route for experienced climbers. From Eisbodenscharte the climb reaches the summit by crossing Blauseistowers and Blauseisspitze. Here the main difficulties have passed. Over normal route back to the hut.
6-7 h from the hut to the summit. Parts are up to UIAA IV.
W. v. Frerichs, R. v. Below, 1899.
- The Ofental route offers the possibility to traverse the mountain on a route of limited difficulties. Usually it is only used for descend.
4-5 h from summit to Hintersee. UIAA I.
H. Buchner, H. Hinterstoißer, 1882.
From Munich or Salzburg to Berchtesgaden in outermost south-east of Germany. From Berchtesgaden to Ramsau / Hintersee.
From Munich to Berchtesgaden you can travel by train (hourly, takes almost 3 hours). From Berchtesgaden by bus to Ramsau/Hintersee, where the path to the hut starts. Not possible as a day trip, but as a two day trip with an overnight stay at the Blaueis Hut, Hochkalter-traverse can easily be done with public transportation.
No permits required. Lodgings usually opened from june to september/october (usual fee). Hochkalter mountain range is part of national parc Berchtesgaden. No camping!
When To Climb
Best time for climbing: july, august, september.
For Blaueis-glacier: second half of june.
National parc - please don't camp.
- Blaueishütte (1,680m).
Alpine Club of Germany (Deutscher Alpenverein), section Berchtesgaden. Most important point of support for ascends around the glacier (Steinberg, Schärtenspitze, Blauseisspitze, Hochkalter, Kleinkalter, Rotpalfen). Best reached from Hintersee or Ramsau in 2.5 to 3 hours). Tel.: 08657 / 271.
- Schärtenalm, 1359m
Schärtenalm (resting place for only 6-8 people). On the way from Ramsau/Hintersee to Blaueishütte. Starting point for ascends to Steinberg and Hochalm.
- Wimbachgrieshütte, 1327m (16 beds, 58 mattrasses)
Tourist club "Die Naturfreunde". Opend from May to end of October.No privileges for members of the German alpine club DAV.
Lying between Hochkalter and Watzmann in the valley of Wimbachgries. Winterroom (ask hut-keepers for key: Doris and Uwe Christensen, Sieben - Palfen - Weg 4, 83435 Bad Reichenhall, Tel. and Fax. 08651 / 2971; perhaps you may be successful under 08657 / 657, but I think this is the number of the former hut keeper).
Starting point for hochalmside of Hochkalter and Southern Chain of Wimbach.
Tel.: 08657 / 344.
Easily reached from chargeable parking-place Ramsau/Wimbachbrücke (2.5 hours).
- Hirschbichl, 1153m
Bergheim Hirschbichl (private, 18 beds, 20 mattrasses) and inn (Alpengasthof). At the pass of Hirschbichl between Reiteralm and mountain range of Hochkalter. Starting point for Hocheisgroup and Southern Chain of Wimbach. Can be reached from Hintersee (Germany, 2h) or Weißbach (Austria,2 h).
maps and guides
The following guides to the Alps of Berchtesgaden (in german language) are not listed by amazon.com, so I want to reference them here:
- Schöner / Kühnhauser, Berchtesgadener Alpen, guide of the german alpine club (Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV)). Comprehensive presentation of ascends in the mountain range of Berchtesgaden (all difficulties). Contents: Massifs of Hochkalter, Watzmann, Göll, Lattengebirge, Reiteralm, Hagengebirge, Steinernes Meer and Untersberg.
Published by Bergverlag Rudolf Rother GmbH, Munich.
ISBN 3-7633-1127-0, 22,90 Euro.
- Schöner, Berchtesgadener Alpen, a selection of routes in the Alps of Berchtesgaden for wanderers and mountaineers up to difficulty UIAA I. Contents: Massifs of Hochkalter, Watzmann, Göll, Lattengebirge, Reiteralm, Hagengebirge, Steinernes Meer, Untersberg and Hochkönig. Includes map 1:50000.
Published by Bergverlag Rudolf Rother GmbH, Munich.
ISBN 3-7633-3119-0, 14,90 Euro.