Zugspitze über Höllental is a 19.8 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Grainau, Bavaria, Germany that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from May until September.

Distance: 19.8 km Elevation Gain: 2,330 m Route Type: Out & Back



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wild flowers




This is Germany’s highest summit, the Zugspitze, up the Höllental (Valley of Hell) route. This route has everything you could want: a spectacular gorge, tunnels, Alpine hut, hanging valley, glacier, Via Ferrata with nearly a kilometer of vertical exposure, and a beer garden summit destination. The route starts in Hammersbach, goes up through the Höllentalklamm, past Höllentalangerhütte, then up a Via Ferrata route on the hanging valley of the Höllentalferner, onto the Höllentalferner itself, then up another Klettersteig to the summit. The route to Höllentalangerhütte is moderate, however the route afterwards certainly gets more difficult. Höllentalangerhütte has lodging, a restaurant, and a beer garden.

15 days ago

A must do if you are looking for a moderately strenuous hike, bring water. There is a restaurant on the Austria side of the trial. Wonderful day of the weather is nice.

17 days ago

I will be headed Zugspitze At the end of September and I was wondering what is the easiest way without renting a car to get to Munich to Zugspitze? Can I take a bus from Munich to Zugspitze. And do I need some type of permit or purchase a ticket to get to the cross at the peak? Thanks for any and all info.

1 month ago

Very exciting route! We did it in a 7 hr day from the Hammersbach trailhead, starting at around 530 am. Even though we were there on a weekday, we had plenty of company on the route. Also, for morning climbers, almost the entire route has full sun. It feels much hotter than the posted temperature, and we were in tank tops and t-shirts the whole time. Bring and wear sunscreen/sunglasses. The first several miles go quickly, with not much of the elevation gained. However, starting from the first via ferrata things get much more challenging. Having rock climbing experience was very helpful, since there were some minimally or unprotected fifth class moves and quite a bit of fourth class without fixed gear. We brought 3-4 liters of water apiece and ran out. There is a stream prior to the glacier, we would recommend filling up there. Running out of water with 2k feet to go in the July sun is not an experience I can really recommend. We did the route in approach shoes, with microspikes and trekking poles for the glacier, but we saw a very wide variety of gear choices based on sure footedness and skill level. We had good conditions on the glacier, with slightly slushy snow/ice that could be moved across with ease. The microspikes were sufficient traction; crampons seemed like overkill, though we saw plenty of climbers using them. Using trekking poles for stability was an effective way to keep balance and make progress, almost no one had an ice axe. The moves from the glacier onto the second via ferrata were low fifth class for about 15-20 feet before an anchor was reached. The second ferrata section comprises the entire rest of the route, approximately 2000 feet. It varies significantly in difficulty and exposure, which can be substantial. The final push to the summit cross is surreal, moving from a challenging day in the mountains to a huge crush of humanity. There were a lot of inexperienced people clambering around on the cables to get to the summit cross. We took the cable car down. All around, a long, hard, fun day in the mountains!

rock climbing
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This route was a very challenging and great beginner introduction to alpine hiking and mountain climbing in general because of the varied terrain. I went in the middle of July so the route had absolutely no snow or ice save for the glacier itself. You have some standard hiking through trails, the gorge, and up into the valley which should be achievable by anybody in average physical shape (the elderly/less physically capable should consider easier trails). After the easier first half there is klettersteig/via ferrata to get up the first cliff face which will instantly gut check you whether you are truly comfortable with heights or not (turn around if aren't, it only gets worse at the top of the valley). Also, DO NOT be an idiot; use a klettersteig harness and use it properly for the cable sections! Following this, there is a not too difficult scree field to cross and then the glacier which requires crampons (watched someone nearly die because they slipped and almost fell into a crevasse because they weren't wearing crampons). The second klettersteig route is much longer and more challenging but after 15 numbered sections you are at the peak. Took my group about 7.5 hours from the hut in the valley at a steady moderate to slow pace with minimal breaks. You have the option of taking the cable car down if you don't want climb back down the mountain and there is plenty of options for food/drink at the top. If you find yourself arriving after the last cable car there is a hut with beds at the top as well. Beautiful views, minimal training required thanks to klettersteig, and a great challenge for beginners like myself. Totally recommend!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I climbed it in two days from the 1990s

rock climbing
Monday, October 24, 2016

This is Germany’s highest summit, the Zugspitze, up the Höllental (Valley of Hell) route. This route has everything you could want: a spectacular gorge, tunnels, Alpine hut, hanging valley, glacier, Via Ferrata with nearly a kilometer of vertical exposure, and a beer garden summit destination. The route starts in Hammersbach, goes up through the Höllentalklamm, past Höllentalangerhütte, then up a Via Ferrata route on the hanging valley of the Höllentalferner, onto the Höllentalferner itself (white in upper left), then up another Klettersteig to the summit. Here is a photographic trip report: https://flic.kr/s/aHskKPtxqq I booked a room ahead of time online at Höllentalangerhütte. I also joined the Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) at the hut, which provides a membership discount on affiliated huts and coverage for helicopter rescue if necessary. I arrived by Deutschebahn to Garmisch-Partenkirchen midday, stored my luggage in a locker at the Hauptbahnhof, stopped to pick up a topo map at Buchhandlung Adam (Am Kurpark 20), then took a taxi a few miles to the trailhead in the hamlet of Hammersbach. Lots of little kids hike up to Höllentalangerhütte through the Höllentalklamm. After this, it's a completely different climb, requiring lots of mountaineering experience, or a guide, or both. Though this route can be accomplished in a day, it's long. A safer option is to book a berth at Höllentalangerhütte, enjoy the Höllentalklamm in daylight, and depart right after first light after a good night's rest. Minimum necessary gear for this route: Helmet Harness Via Ferrata Lanyard with K-rated carabiners Via Ferrata Gloves Mountaineering boots Crampons Ice Axe 3 l water Here's what happens if you fall off the rock with the wrong gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Y2WgtnemY. And more on the necessity of at least an ice axe below. I was solo, so I also brought along a personal anchor system and tied a couple Prusiks, expected to be unnecessary for this B/C rated route, but that made me feel better. I was expecting to see a few sloppy safety practices, but was amazed by what I really saw: obviously unsafe gear, and oftentimes no gear at all, climbing this route with no protection whatsoever. Inappropriate gear and usage appears to be the cause of the regular climbing deaths on this mountain. Guided tours roped their clients for protection along the glacier. Individual hikers used ice axes in case self arrest was necessary. Several hikers used no self arrest protection whatsoever! Crossing the randkluft and transitioning back to the Klettersteig is the most dangerous part of this climb. Incredibly, I observed many climbers packing away their crampons and axes while still standing on the ice uphill of large crevasses! The two on the right in the posted photograph are doing this. One little mistake and you'd be on a fast slide down to the bottom of the crevasse beneath us. I learned after I returned and told this account that a German man died in August 2016 at this point by making this very mistake and sliding into this crevasse: http://goo.gl/8YUjFg. This local news article says that a Zugspitze climber falls into a crevasse every year. I stood in line and removed my gear only after safely back on the rock. A note on Via Ferrata lanyard usage: I thought the most unsafe practice I would see on this route was unclipping both carabiners at once. Nope. Several climbers were ascending and descending this Klettersteig with no protection whatsoever, like the climber in front of me in the posted photograph. The fall beneath these pegs is a few hundred meters, but the result is the same as a ten meter fall I suppose. I climbed the Alpspitze the day after this climb. A German woman climbing without protection said to me in my Via Ferrata gear, "Zat iz not ze vay vee do it!" I replied that I'd "honestly never do what you’re doing." If you visit these routes, do it the right way. There are too many accounts of people lost while climbing without respect for the conditions. A famous point along the Höllental Route is "Die Schlüsselstelle"; the "key" to accessing the upper Klettersteig. This youtube video shows this part of the route: Abenteuer Zugspitze - Höllental-Klettersteig, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGDiYYsVad0#t=645s. At the summit, many climbers and people in street shoes who ventured out to the Via Ferrata from the seilbahn were moving around the icy summit with no protection. That cross is built a few boot-lengths away from a cirque wall that drops about a kilometer back down to the Höllentalferner. The safest options back down are the seilbahn (mind the time of the last car), or staying at Münchner Haus on the summit. You can also descend via the Rental route about 21 km and through the Partnachklamm back to Garmisch. Descending back down the Höllental route is extremely difficult and highly discouraged.

1 month ago

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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