The peak of Scheffauer offers climbing targets on its north face, while the southern side, albeit being steep, is less rocky.
Wilder Kaiser W part, seen from N
Wilder Kaiser W part, seen from SE
This western part of Wilder Kaiser rises from Inn valley near Kufstein and has its 1st culmination in the remarkable sharp ridge of Zettenkaiser, which stays with only 1953m just below the 2000-line, however. Scheffauer is the 1st outstanding summit in this chain, and offers basically the 3 routes indicated in the primary image. The chain continues east of Scheffauer with a series of broad peaks all between 2000m and 2150m, called Hackenköpfe (yes I'd like to have a series of Broad Peaks in the alps, but for Hackenköpfe to become that we have to wait another couple of millions of years). The chain "ends" after approximately 5 km at Sonneck, 2260m (which is an outstanding climbing peak but still lacks a SP-page). The complete chain can be traversed in a long trip with easy climbing (up to UIAA II) - which is an exciting feature.
Starting point for the northern side is Kufstein, a nice historic village close to the German border in the valley of Inn river.
Kufstein can easily be reached as well from Germany (Munich, via Rosenheim) or from the Tyrolian capital Innsbruck, either by train or by car on the Inntal Autobahn. It may be noted that besides a picturesque inner village Kufstein offers a specialty in form of a castle with a "heroes organ" which sounds at certain times each day over Kufstein with some organ concert. Kufstein even offers a nice little planetarium.
From Kufstein, at 500m, either follow from Kufstein-Mitterndorf - close to the center - a marked path (there are several variants) to Kaindl hut, 1310m, or take the chair-lift Wilder Kaiser from northern suburb Sparchen (there's a bus out there from the train station, about 3 km) to Brentenjoch, 1260m, and follow a comfortable road to the hut, which is the BC for all tours here.
Starting point for the southern side is the name-giving village of Scheffau, 752m, approximately 20 km from Kufstein. One may drive up to and jump into the scenic lake Hintersteinersee at 883m.
No particular fees. Red tape in the proper (American) sense is virtually inexistent in the Alps.
However, note that Wilder Kaiser nevertheless has the status of a natural reserve and is thus protected area with certain regulations. Wild camping is not allowed (but has to be distinguished from bivouacing). As everywhere, it is essential to leave nothing unnatural behind.
Since I do not have enough stuff for separate route pages, I will add in some route information here.
This is a very long (and thirsty) ascent either from Hintersteinersee via Steiner Hochalm, 1257m, or directly from Scheffau via Schisling and Kaiser Hochalm, 1417m. At about 1800m it gets rocky with a few short passages secured by cables. There is no intermediate hut for staying overnight, but there are possibilites to stop for a bite to eat and drink (ask about in the valley before starting). It nevertheless appears to be a rewarding ascent, in particular if you start early enough to see the sunrise midway.
North face routes
Compare the primary image.
- Widauer Steig: this is a very stimulating path through the N face, which completes naturally the southern ascent in both directions and constitutes in its lower part an interesting via ferrata rated "B" (exert much caution when wet). It is done by many people, so beware also of falling stones. I've seen people climbing it with 5 or 6 year old children unroped, which is surely quite irresponsible, and apart from that I think that children of this age cannot grasp mentally what they are doing and seeing here anyway, so I would never recommend this.
- Leuchsweg: This is an easy climb in the western part of Scheffauer's N-face, first climbed by Georg Leuchs. There are some passages of UIAA II especially in the upper part, but mostly it is easier. The lower part can be muddy and the rock there is not very reliable. You start following a distinctive pillar until in the upper part the wall gets steeper and one makes a beautiful traverse to the right to a final gully, which also offers some nice scrambling. You will enjoy this route most if you are able to do it as a sunny afternoon walk without any gear.
- Ostlerplatte: This route, albeit hopefully sunny, is definitely more than an afternoon walk for most people. However, it has been opened solo climbing by J. Ostler in 1903. The route is reported to be fully equipped with cemented bolts since several years. It comprises about 16 pitches, most of which are less than 40 m and grade III, some easier, and the approach to the huge slab and the crux in the last pitch may reach IV. The highlight is the huge slab in the upper part (well visible from afar), which is crossed diagonally with the help of a grade II ledge and offers spectacular views down. Note the danger of rockfall when several parties are climbing. The lower part may hold snow for a long time, and like in most of these limestone routes you must envisage several wet passages even in a sunny period.
- Grand Traverse: Seldom done but exciting if you have the corresponding mentality is the traverse of Zettenkaiser - Scheffauer - Hackenköpfe - Sonneck. Zettenkaiser may be reached from Kaindl hut by quite an exciting scrambling via "Riegensteig" (btw Zettenkaiser east face is a classical grade IV climb); alternatively I've heard that it is possible to cross all of the Zettenkaiser ridge starting from west where the ridges dives into the meadows, but this may be recommended only to vegetarians, I suppose. From Zettenkaiser to Scheffauer it is partly grade II. After that over Hackenköpfe it is still a long walk with gorgeous views and only a very few and short, easy climbing passages. Descent may be to the north when you reach "Kopfkraxen" shortly before Sonneck, using a very well marked path (we were extremely grateful for that because we did it in thick fog) 1000m down through "Gamskar" and returning to Kaindl hut via "Bettlersteig". The whole traverse is very long and the most relaxed way to do it may be to start in the afternoon and plan a bivy on Scheffauer, which offers good places for that.
- The vertical slabs below the Widauer Steig traverse are crossed by a number of more or less difficult sport climbing routes of several pitches.
Detailed route info for Ostlerplatte
1:25000 edited by German Alpine Club (Deutscher Alpenverein DAV), Nr. 8