Super route, tried it last year but got badly off route This year it worked out fine
Did the Watzmann when I was six and seven years old with my father when he was stationed in Germany. Great time! First time I had been exposed to hiking / scrambling. We first did just the Hocheck from the Watzmannhaus and returned the next summer and did the traverse. We came up Wimbachgries and stayed at the Wimbachgrieshutt prior to coming up and over the Sudspitze, Mittelspitze, and then the Watzmann. It was funny cause the hut keeper would not tell my father where the trailhead was cause he was afraid of him taking a "kinder" up the Sudspitze. I am currently in Germany and plan on going back to the Watzmann this summer, possibly with my father and doing the traverse again.
This was my first "major face" after I began climbing in late 1975. I climbed it with Dan Matheson of the U.S . and Gerhardt Scherar.
Best weather conditions, very nice tour. We started the day before in St. Bartholomä and took the Rinnkendlsteig to Watzman hut.
We found this a good idea:
Sleeping on a Hammerstiel parking place (750 m), cycling (and also walking) up by the steep road to Kuehrointalm (1409 m), then hiking to Watzmannhaus and further to Hocheck (2651 m) and climbing the ridge to Mittelspitze (2713 m). Of course we descended the same route and made the tour in one extraordinary day. In the evening we were already drinking coffee in Salzburg.
Watzmann is a great mountain!
At best weather we went to the Mittelspitze via the Hocheck. Great mountain - to much people - to much iron.
Best weather. We left Watzmann hut at a quarter past seven. Because of our very big knapsacks we made several stops, tempo was slow. Towards ten o' clock at Hocheck, where breast and waist harness were fetched out. Gusty wind ceased. Using all the wire ropes and cables for belaying, middle-peak was reached at late morning. For the season great distant views to the central alps. Further on to the south peak, that was reached at 2 p.m. Only two other people at the summit, the masses of mountaineers begun the descent before. Because of looming cumulus clouds we did not rest long and left the summit soon. Each time I descend south peak via Schönfeld to Wimbachgries, I wonder why the tour is worth this oppression. And each time my answer is: It is! When we arrived the down-hill leading gritty ditches a thunderstorm came up and it began to rain. Three quarters of an hour later we arrived the hut of Wimbachgries completely drenched. Thanks to Uwe, the new hut keeper, for friendly accommodation and best attendance.
One incident should not fail to be mentioned: One day later two completely exhausted fellows arrived Wimbachgries hut at eleven o' clock p.m. in pitch-dark night after traversing Watzmann from Watzmann hut in eighteen hours!
We left Kühroint hut at half past seven for traverse of Kleiner Watzmann. Unnecessary equipment was left at the hut. At the "Gendarm", crux of north-east-ridge, belaying our two newcomers Thomas and Heinz with rope and harness was necessary. We arrived at the summit, 2307 m, towards 11 o' clock. Very cloudy on top, but windows of good sight opened to all directions. The main ridge of Great Watzmann remained hidden all day. Descending towards Mooslahnerkopf at the end of the east ridge was lots of fun. Great views from the ridge and Mooslahner over Lake Königssee. At all the way down to the Mooslahner makes higher demands on sense of direction than the ascent across the Gendarm. Back at the hut on early afternoon. Some mugs of beer made the following 500m ascent to the Watzmannhaus, where we spent the second night, a torture.
It was the last day with fine weather, one day later there was snow from Watzmannhaus to the summit. It was a very nice climb, but many people did the same like me ".
Impressive route as you are viewing it from St. Bartholomae: you don't believe istis just a UIAA grade III-IV. But as soon as you are into it (and are good at route finding ) pitch after pitch solves easily. Often it is more hiking than climbing. I solo'ed 1991(easily) and returned with my brother the other year. We had troubles then since using the rope slowed us down as well as the upper 500 meters had ice and snow. The most difficult pitches I remember are some 400m above ground and then just 50m below south summit. The route is not difficult but may not be underestimated. It is a long 1800m climb and then you still have to descend some 3 hours to the next hut (Watzmannhaus). Weather conditions need to be stable. You do not see bad weather approaching since you are in an east face but storm comes in from west. Of the various routes at the east face this route seems to be the easiest but also the most worthwhile. I can recommend it.
Perfect condition. Stable weather, no snow, not to many people (weekday). This make the ridge traverse pure fun. But the descent down to Wimbachgries is exhausting.
The Kederbacher Route is not the easiest way through the E-Face and also not the most beautiful one. The easier and probably more beautiful one is the Berchtesgadener way.