The Alpspitze Via Ferrata route is a fixed cable and ladder route up the north face of the Alpspitze. It is a good challenge that can be completed in less than a day if you take the Alpspitzebahn (the Alpspitze tram). For a real challenge, take the trail through the Hollentalklamm and up the Alpspitze from there.
From Garmisch, Germany follow signs to the Alpspitzebahn. Take the tram up the Alpspitze. The trailhead is marked by a sign at the top of the tram and the base of the Ferrata is about 10-15 minutes down this trail. 3-4 minutes into the trail you will cross through a passageway that has fixed cable and ladders to help you through. This is a good example of how the Ferrata is protected. Continue up the trail until you see a signpost advertising the two main routes on the mountain. You should see the trail tunnel through the mountain in the distance from this point. Standing at the signpost you will see that the start of the Ferrata is up the scree slope to the right about 15-20 yards away. You will find a fixed ladder and cables right there. Follow the trail all the way to the top of the Alpspitze using cables to clip into for protection as necessary. Don’t forget to sign the log book which is halfway up the route at a saddle. This book is specifically for climbers of the Via Ferrata route. There is an additional log book to sign at the top of the Alpspitze as well.
The descent from this climb is the standard Nordwand route. The pictures below show both the start point of the ferrata and the descent via the Nordwand route.
Catching the first tram up the mountain will give you plenty of time to make it up and back. Generally count on 2.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down at a steady pace with a few short breaks along the way. Add more time as required based on your personal experience.
Exposure to heights is the crux of this route in the summer, other than that this climb is really made easy with all of the fixed ladders and cables. In the summer this is a great introductory route to alpine climbing as long as individuals attempting the climb have some experience with heights and basic rock climbing safety. Take a look at the pictures I have posted to get an idea of what awaits.
There is a lot of loose rock on the mountain as well as melting snow and ice that will periodically cascade small rocks and ice across sections of the route. These sections are obvious when you are up there, and I highly recommend a helmet because of this. The fixed cables and ladders provide ample security for the route.
A chicken sling is a runner or daisy chain connected by carabiner or girth hitched to your harness with a locking carabiner on the opposite end to clip into protection. For children and novice climbers I highly recommend two of these so that they never have to be unhooked from the cable during transitions. You can find klettersteig kits in the local climbing stores, but these are an unnecessary expense. A standard locking carabiner will fit the cables and a complete set up as described above will cost less than half of the price of a kit and the gear can aso be used in other endeavors. A klettersteig kit will only be used on a fixed cable route. Save your money.
In the summer there is no water source on the mountain, so carry it up with you.
Additional Photos of the Route
Helpful Site Links
Alpine Weather Server
This site has updated weather reports and a live webcam of the mountain. Alpspitzgebiet
Translated: Alpspitze Area. This site contains information on the Alpspitze Bahn including hours and pricing for the lift.