Traverse of Arnspitzen

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 47.39719°N / 11.22245°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: UIAA II - III-
Sign the Climber's Log


Traverse of ArnspitzenGroße Arnspitze(left) and Arnplattenspitze with the traverse ridge

The ridge between bold Arnplattenspitze and broad Großer Arnspitze, in parts a rock ridge, in parts overgrown with dwarf pines (Latschenkiefer, Pinus mugo mugo), hosts an interesting off-trail and scrambling traverse route, in which you can include – if you like – the bastion-like Mittlere Arnspitze. But you must not traverse this minor summit on the traverse, you can bypass it on its northwest side.

The rock scrambling difficulties never exceed UIAA grade II- without Mittlere Arnspitze and UIAA grade III (one short move) with Mittlere Arnspitze included. It is a delightful outing in this small subarea of Wetterstein range.

The route is mainly off-trail although there are narrow foot tracks in some parts and sometimes old and withered red marks visible. The route finding down Arnplattenspitze, if you start there, and the route finding up to Mittlere Arnspitze, if you include this summit, can be difficult. I recommend to do this traverse only with good weather without fog.

The views to Wetterstein and Karwendel ranges and to the south are marvellous, the scenery is impressive. Although the traverse is well known, you will not meet many people on your way.

Getting there

Traverse of ArnspitzenArnplattenspitze as seen from Große Arnspitze

You reach Arnplattenspitze on the

  • Hoher Sattel route or on the

  • Weißlehnkopf route

  • These routes start at Leutasch / Arn or at Scharnitz / Giessenbach.

    See the Arnplattenspitze page for more information.

    The routes to Große Arnspitze are

  • via Achterköpfe, starting from Mittenwald or Leutasch / Lehn

  • via Haselrinne and Arnspitzhütte, starting from Scharnitz

  • via Hoher Sattel and Arnspitzhütte, starting from Scharnitz Giessenbach or Leutasch / Arn

  • See Lukas Kunzes Große Arnspitze page for further information.

    Route Description

    I describe the traverse from Arnplattenspitze to Große Arnspitze.

    At the summit cross turn southeast and descend the small ridge until you can leave it to your left. Scramble down some grassy rocks until you reach the huge and steep summit slab which builds the northeast summit rock face. Look for a chute – like, wide crack in this slab to your right and scramble down this crack in steep but good rock. Some UIAA grade II - moves are required in the lower parts of this crack which ends at a near horizontal ledge, leading you to the ridge crest below Arnplattenspitze.

    Traverse of ArnspitzenTraverse overview to Große Arnspitze
    Traverse of ArnspitzenCrack system - descent from Arnplattenspitze
    Traverse of ArnspitzenMittlere and Große Arnspitze

    On your left is the steep northwest rock face of Arnplattenspitze, on your right are many, many dwarf pines. Stay on the ridge crest and scramble down easy rocks to the meadow col between Arnplattenspitze and Mittlere Arnspitze. Do not enter the dwarf pine zone with the exception of some short bypasses in the dwarf pines, leading you around steeper sections of the ridge.

    To bypass Mittlere Arnspitze look for a narrow foot track on its left side. It starts left of the meadow col. This track leads you down to some dwarf pines, located on a secondary ridge on the northwest side of Mittlere Arnspitze. After that ridge the track ascends steeply to a notch in the ridge northeast of Mittlere Arnspitze. Above this notch you can see “Böses Band” (the “mean ledge”), a more difficult part of the Mittlere Arnspitze traverse.

    Traverse of ArnspitzenBypass route of Mittlere Arnspitze
    Traverse of Arnspitzen"Böses Band", the "mean ledge"
    Traverse of ArnspitzenRegaining the ridge crest

    Traverse of Mittlere Arnspitze:

    From the meadow col between Arnplattenspitze and Mittlere Arnspitze ascend shortly to the beginning of the southwest face of Mittlere Arnspitze. Scramble up the first part of the rocks more on the right side of this rock face and traverse to the left at the beginning of some smooth slabs. Follow these rocks until you reach a triangular shaped, huge rock. Traverse there to the left again and ascend easy rocks until you reach the dwarf pine zone below the southwest ridge. Follow the lower end of the dwarf pine zone until you reach the southwest ridge and climb down into a sharp notch.
    After the notch climb up the rocks to your right and follow the easiest route up to a ledge, which leads you again to the right. Follow this ledge as long as you can climb up to the summit easily to your left.

    Traverse of ArnspitzenMittlere Arnspitze southwest traverse route
    Traverse of ArnspitzenMittlere Arnspitze northeast traverse route

    For the descent climb back to the ledge and leave it immediately to your left to reach the broad col between the summit and the eastern secondary summit. From this col climb down a system of narrow and steep chutes on its northeastern side (good rock with good grips and holds, maybe one UIAA grade III- move) to a scree field. Descend the scree field and turn left to descend between the steep rock sections and dwarf pines to reach the “mean ledge” which, despite of the intimidating denomination, is not more difficult than the other sections of the traverse. After the ledge scramble down some easy rocks to reach the notch where the bypass track of Mittlere Arnspitze regains the ridge crest.

    From there the route ascends steeply to an elevation within the ridge. Follow the steep but good rocks left of the ridge crest to reach this elevation. From there ion stay mainly on the ridge crest or a bit left of it, depending on the amount of dwarf pine obstacles. The descent to a small notch requires one last UIAA grade II move.

    Traverse of ArnspitzenLast part up to Große Arnspitze
    Traverse of ArnspitzenLast part up to Große Arnspitze
    Traverse of ArnspitzenGroße Arnspitze summit block

    At the summit block of Große Arnspitze follow some narrow foot tracks on the right side of the ridge crest, bypassing some prominent rocks on their right side. Gain the ridge crest above these rocks and follow the foot track to a notch in front of the summit rock; there is a memorial plaque fixed to the rocks.

    You can tackle the rocks directly up to the summit or you leave the ridge to the right and follow the marked trail from Arpspitzhütte up to the summit of Große Arnspitze.

    Great traverse and lots of scramble fun.

    Gear & Mountain Condition

    Traverse of ArnspitzenMittlere and Große Arnspitze

    The traverse is mainly a summer and autumn tour. It requires good and stable weather conditions and in parts good visibility.

    You should be able to master scrambling up to UIAA grade II / III- in steep and exposed terrain. And you need a knack for orientation especially if you traverse Mittlere Arnspitze as the route is not always clear and easy to find.

    A helmet for Mittlere Arnspitze is recommended. I have seen parties with rope and climbing gear on the Mittlere Arnspitze traverse, too.

    For the traverse without Mittlere Arnspitze climbing gear is not necessary.

    Current Weather:

    Further Information

    For Red Tape, Accommodation, Maps and Guide Books

    see the Große Arnspitze page or the Arnplattenspitze page.



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