European Summit Challenge
Germany - Zugspitze 2962m

Last updated September 2005

Reading the material put out by the Tourist Office, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Zugspitze is not a walker's peak. It is true that it's not a mountain to be taken lightly, there are permanent snow fields to cross and an exposed ridges to traverse even on the easiest route, that described in the text, but it is a summit accessible by a confident scrambler. The two other options are very exposed klettersteig routes requiring stamina and specialist equipment and are covered in detail in the Cicerone Press guide. All routes require an over night stop at one hut or another.

Reintal Valley Route - Start at the Olympic Ski Stadium. Follow track up to the Partnach Alm and on to the Reintal Valley. At the Angerhutte, climb steeply to the Knorrhutte where you spend the night. The following morning cross the Platt towards the Zugspitzbahn, turning north before you reach it. Climb the slope to the right of the concrete buildings, and keep a look out for the wire ropes to the right. Follow the klettersteig and way-markings to the summit platform.

Höllental Valley Route - Starting at Hammersbach, follow trail to the Höllentalanger Hut. Continue along valley to the start of the klettersteig, from were you'll need to put on your climbing harness and via ferrata kit. Cross the Höllentalferner (glacier) and climb steeply to the summit.

Neustädter Hut Route - This route ascends on the Austrian side of the mountain and begins from the Ehrwald - Zugspitzbahn cable car station. This route begins easily enough, following a path / ski run through the forested slopes, but a tricky klettersteig awaits. Overnighting at the Neustädter Hut is recommended. This means a short first day, but leaves a full day to finish the ascent and follow another route down.

The nearest airport is Munich, however I took a cheap flight with Ryan Air to Frankfurt-Hann and hired a car from Hertz. The flight and drive took up a full day both ways. New flights are opening up all the time, so it is well worth have a hunt around.

The nearest train station is in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. To consult a rail timetable on-line, take a look at

There is a wide range of accommodation available in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tourist Office can help you book valley accommodation in advance, and has plenty of information regarding local area, hiking, events, weather, etc. There are some great pictures here too.

There is a campsite on the B23 just west of the town, before you get to Grainau.

Once on the mountain, the network of huts provides all the support for light weight hiking; snacks, hot meals, drinks, beds, sheets and blankets. A night's sleep in a hut is not cheap, so the discount given to members of UIAA affiliated clubs such as the BMC is appreciated. The Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tourist Office also hosts a table of huts, their telephone numbers, capacity and open season.

Werdenfelser Land

Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt produce an excellent 1:50,000 map, "Werdenfelser Land" showing both walking and klettersteig routes. Visit their website (in German only) and follow the links for Bayern Viewer, a scalable map of the region that uses maps of various scales including the 1:50,000.

There are 1:25,000 maps available from other publishers, but those I saw plot the contour lines at less regular intervals.

Klettersteig, Scrambles in the Northern Limestone Alps

Cicerone Press' "Klettersteig, Scrambles in the Northern Limestone Alps" by Paul Werner and translated by Deiter Pevsner, last published 1987, is still available and the only English language guide to scrambling / klettersteig routes on the Zugspitze. ISBN 0902363468. Take a look at their website at

Rother Guide

Rother have published "Walks around the Zugspitze" by Dieter Siebert, and distributed by Cordee. ISBN 3763342427. As the name suggests, this is a walker's guide to the mountains. There are suggestions covering valley walks and some higher routes, including the decent from the Zugspitze. Take a look at their website at

The German Tourist Board has useful fact about travelling to Germany.

The website of the German Alpin Club, Deutschen Alpenverein known by the initials DAV, is in German only.