West of Watzmann and Hochkalter rises a huge and oblique karst plateau, bordered by deeply cut in valleys and culminating in its southern parts in some high peaks which show huge and perpendicular rockfaces to the south. This impressive feature is called Reiter Alm, a subarea of Berchtesgaden Alps the highest peak being Stadelhorn (2286 m), a broad, huge and impressive rock at the border between Germany / Bavaria and Austria / Salzburg. The south face of Stadelhorn hosts some of the finest rock climbing routes of Berchtesgaden area.
Reiter Alm is a Dachstein limestone plateau, starting to the north at Schwarzbachwacht, bordered to the northwest by Saalach valley and to the east by Ramsau / Hintersee, Grundübelau and Hirschbichl. The northern part of Reiteralm is a low karst plateau, full of dwarf pine thickets and some Alm meadows. The west and east rim of this plateau is built by the lower summits of Drei Brüder, Edelweißlahner and Weitschartenkopf, easy targets for a hiking tour. The southern part shows a more alpine character with the main summits Stadelhorn, Großes Häuselhorn and Wagendrischlhorn and the secondary summits of Mühlsturzhörner and Grundübelhörner to the southeast.
All sides of Reiter Alm show steep to perpendicular rock faces, giving an inaccessible aspect to the mountain group. Consequently the four trails from the valleys up to the plateau are all steep and some are secured with fixed steel ropes.
Stadelhorn sits on the south end of Reiter Alm and is the culmination point of a L – shaped ridge, coming from Großes Häuselhorn and Wagendrischlhorn to the northwest and going to Mühlsturzhörner and Grundübelhörner to the southeast and east of Stadelhorn. The summit is separated from Wagendrischlhorn by Mayrberg col which is the only south – north – traverse route of Reiter Alm. All normal routes to Stadelhorn unite there to reach the short and steep ascent of the summit block.
All the normal routes to Stadelhorn are long and demanding trails. The summit block requires some UIAA grade I moves and offers a great view all around Berchtesgaden mountains and to the adjacent group. Being far from belonging to the “high peaks” of Berchtesgaden (Watzmann: 2713 m; Hochkalter: 2607 m) Stadelhorn and the neighbour summits Wagendrischelhorn and Häuselhörner belong nevertheless to the main hiking destinations of Berchtesgaden.
Reiter Alm offers a variety of trails and traverses, many of them going to Stadelhorn. To shorten the in some parts long trails and routes, an alpine club hut, the Neue Traunsteiner Hütte, situated at about 1700 m in the center of the lower part of Reiter Alm, offers food, drinks and lodging.
There are four main trailheads for the main ascents to Reiter Alm and Stadelhorn:
Ramsau / Hintersee or Schwarzbachwacht can be reached by car
The next train station to Reiter Alm is Berchtesgaden. Lokal busses number 845 and 846 go to Hintersee trailhead.
Stadelhorn Main Routes Overview
From Schwarzbachwacht traverse on a good trail (number 470) to the eastern drop of Reiter Alm and ascend it up to a height of about 1500 m. Follow the trail across the lower Reiter Alm Karst plateau, slightly ascending, until you reach Neue Traunsteiner Hütte.
Turn south there and follow the trail up to the col between Wagendrischlhorn and Unterer Plattelkopf, the so called "Rossgasse". Traverse the east side of Wagendrischlhorn (trail number 473) to Mayrbergscharte and use the summit ascent from then on.
Go southwest on Hirschbichlstraße for about 300 m, starting at Hintersee parking area. Böslsteig (number 473) then branches off (signpost) to your right, leading up into the woods in some zigzags. It is first a supply road; at about 1080 m height (Halsgrube) Böslsteig branches off this road to the left and gains the lower slopes of the huge cirque between Grundübelhörner, Mühlsturzhorn, Stadelhorn, Wagendrischelhorn and Plattelköpfe on a near level part of the ascent.
It then ascends very steeply and in some times secured with steel ropes those slopes until it reaches the heights of Reiter Alm at Reiter Steinberg (2060 m, ascent of 1000 m altitude difference).
At Reiter Steinberg turn left on the trail traversing Oberer Plattelkopf (2098 m) and Unterer Plattelkopf (2106 m) to the col between Wagendrischlhorn and Unterer Plattelkopf. Traverse the east side of Wagendrischlhorn (trail number 473)to Mayrbergscharte and use the summit ascent from then on.
Follow Hirschbichlstraße for about 3,8 km (!) starting at the Hintersee parking area. At about a height of 1080 m Schaflsteig (trail number 473) branches off to the right (signpost) and ascends steeply through woods and dwarf pine zones to the southwest side of Stadelmauer, the huge southwest rock face of Stadelhorn and Großes Mühlsturzhorn.
The route climbs up to the southwest ridge below Stadelhorn and descends shortly to the beginning of the chute up to Mayrbergscharte. The route up to the col is secured with steel ropes and some iron pegs and is very steep.
Use the summit ascent from Mayrbergscharte.
Schrecksteig (trail number 474) starts at the military supply cable car valley station at Oberjettenberg. It uses first a supply road up to a height of 1000 m. Then a steep zigzag trail continues up to the lower Reiter Alm Karst plateau, northeast of Weitschartenkopf (Schrecksattel).
Follow the near level trail to Neue Traunsteiner Hütte. Turn south there and follow the trail called Rossgasse up to the col between Wagendrischlhorn and Unterer Plattelkopf. Traverse the east side of Wagendrischlhorn to Mayrbergscharte (trail number 473) and use the summit ascent from then on.
There are two route possibilities which can be combined to a round trip.
At Mayrberg col turn southsoutheast to the westnorthwest ridge of Stadelhorn and follow the red and white marks over rocks and on scree and meadow ledges up to a steeper part of the ridge. The marked route zigzags up, using ledges, some chutes and short rock faces (UIAA grade I climb) up to the summit zone.
Follow the scree path up to the summit cross.
Trailhead Hintersee / Ramsau
Ascend Böslsteig, normal route to Wagendrischlhorn, descent on Via ferrata to Mayrberg col, ascend / descend Stadelhorn on the summit route
Descent route Schaflsteig to Grundübelau, nice walk back below the huge rock faces of Grundübelhörner to Hintersee.
A loooooong day! Allow about 9 hours walking time, 1900 m of altitude difference.
The german part of Reiteralm belongs to the Berchtesgaden National Park and is a strictly protected zone.
The information center at Hintersee / Ramsau will inform you about regulations within the protected core zone of the national park.
No camping and no fire is allowed within the core zone (upper alpine zone of Reiter Alm).
Stadelhorn is a summer and autumn hiking tour which requires good boots and normal hikung gear. You need lots of water especially if you don´t pass by Neue Traunsteiner Hütte.
Schafsteig and Böslsteig are narrow and in some parts steep trails.
Böselsteig and the south chute to Mayrbergscharte are partly secured with iron pegs and cables; a helmet can be useful. Via ferrata gear is not a must.
All routes are long and demanding when done in one day. Neue Traunsteiner Hütte offers accommodation. If you plan an overnight stay on the hut you can include some more Reiteralm summits to an interesting round trip.
The climbing routes at Stadelhorn are all difficult and need full climbing gear and a lot of experience.
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Alpenvereinskarte BY 21; Nationalpark Berchtesgaden, Lattengebirge, Reiteralm; scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2013, UTM grid
Alpenvereinskarte BY 20; Lattengebirge, Reiteralm; Ramsau; scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2015, UTM grid
Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation Bayern, UK50-55, Berchtesgadener Alpen; Bad Reichenhall - Königssee - Hallein - Lofer – Saalfelden, scale 1 : 50.000, edition 2015, UTM grid
Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, Alpenvereinsführer Berchtesgadener Alpen alpin, edition 2014