The Watzmann, overlooking the town of Berchtesgaden
|Elevation||2,713 m (8,901 ft)|
|Prominence||953 m (3,127 ft)|
|Isolation||15.9 km (9.9 mi)|
|Parent range||Bavarian Alps|
|First ascent||1799 or 1800 by Valentin Stanič|
The Watzmann (Bavarian : Watzmo) is a mountain in the Bavarian Alps south of the village of Berchtesgaden. It is the third highest in Germany, and the highest located entirely on German territory.
Three main peaks array on a N-S axis along a ridge on the mountain's taller western half: Hocheck (2,651 m), Mittelspitze (Middle Peak, 2,713 m) and Südspitze (South Peak, 2,712 m).
The Watzmann massif also includes the 2,307 m Watzmannfrau (Watzmann Wife, also known as Kleiner Watzmann or Small Watzmann), and the Watzmannkinder (Watzmann Children), five lower peaks in the recess between the main peaks and the Watzmannfrau.
The entire massif lies inside Berchtesgaden National Park.
The Watzmann Glacier is located below the famous east face of the Watzmann in the Watzmann cirque and is surrounded by the Watzmanngrat arête, the Watzmannkindern and the Kleiner Watzmann.
The size of the glacier reduced from around 30 hectares (74 acres) in 1820 until it split into a few fields of firn, but between 1965 and 1980 it advanced significantly again and now has an area of 10.1 hectares (25 acres).
Above and to the west of the icefield lie the remains of a JU 52 transport-bomber that crashed in October 1940.
Amongst the other permanent snow and icefields the Eiskapelle ("Ice Chapel") is the best known due to its easy accessibility from St. Bartholomä. The Eiskapelle may well be the lowest lying permanent snowfield in the Alps. Its lower end is only 930 metres high in the upper Eisbach valley and is about an hour's walk from St. Bartholomä on the Königssee. The Eiskapelle is fed by mighty avalanches that slide down from the east face of the Watzmann in spring and accumulate in the angle of the rock face. Sometimes a gate-shaped vault forms in the ice at the point where the Eisbach emerges from the Eiskapelle. Before entering there is an urgent warning sign that others have been killed by falling ice.
In the east face itself is another icefield in the so-called Schöllhorn cirque, called the Schöllhorneis, which is crossed by the Kederbach Way (Kederbacher-Weg). The cirque and icefield are named after the Munich citizen, Christian Schöllhorn, who was the first victim on the east face. On 26 May 1890 he fell at the upper end of the icefield into the randkluft and was fatally injured. Another small nameless snowfield is located several hundred metres below the Mittelspitze also in the east face.
The best climbing period is June through September, in some years October. The easiest route is to follow hiking trails from the village of Ramsau near the small town of Berchtesgaden up to the Watzmann Hut at 1,928 metres, such as hiking trail 441 from Wimbachbrücke. This is quoted as taking four hours, though an experienced hiker can do it in less than three. One typically spends the night there and then climbs to the summit the next morning. The climb from the hut to the Hocheck peak (2,651 m) is quite straightforward, though a head for heights is required on the peak. The Hocheck is around two hours from the Watzmann Hut. From the Hocheck, hikers can return to the hut or continue and traverse to the Mittelspitze and from there to the Südspitze. The traverse is more challenging, at the easier end of UIAA Class II, and very exposed. Sooner, permanent cables existed along the ridge, but were dismantled at some points to prevent inexperienced hikers from attempting the traverse, having a sense of false safety. From the Südspitze, most hikers will not return to the Watzmann Hut but continue to descend into the Wimbachgries valley and from there back to Ramsau. One should estimate 12 to 17 hours for the complete circuit, stable weather conditions are essential as drastic weather change on the ridge between the peaks can be fatal.
On the northeastern face of the massif at 1,346 m (4,416 ft) is a scenic viewpoint called Archenkanzel. From there, it is possible to look down to lake Königssee, which is 743 meters below, and also to St. Bartholomew's Church.
A much more serious and challenging climb is the famous East Face (Watzmann-Ostwand), which rises from the Hirschau peninsula at lake Königssee to the main peaks in a vertical ascent of around 1,800 metres (the longest wall in the Eastern Alps). While the easiest routes through the east wall is rated UIAA Class III, the wall has claimed almost 100 lives so far. Difficulties include the length of the climb, route-finding, and deteriorating weather conditions approaching from west, the predominant direction for weather change in the area, difficult to ascertain from the face. A simple emergency shelter has been erected in the wall. Even experienced climbers are advised to hire a local guide for the wall as finding the route can be challenging.
The Königssee is a natural lake in the extreme southeast Berchtesgadener Land district of the German state of Bavaria, near the Austrian border. Most of the lake is within the Berchtesgaden National Park.
Schönau am Königssee is a municipality in the district of Berchtesgadener Land in the German state of Bavaria. It is located at the northern end of the Königssee lake.
The Kehlstein is, at an elevation of 1,881 metres (6,171 ft), a subpeak of the Göll massif, a 2,522-metre-high (8,274 ft) mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps. The rocky promontory is located west of the Hoher Göll main summit, high above the Obersalzberg mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden. It is chiefly known for the Kehlsteinhaus mountain inn built in 1937–1938, which is a major tourist destination.
The Berchtesgaden Alps are a mountain range of the Northern Limestone Alps, named after the market town of Berchtesgaden located in the centre. The central part belongs to the Berchtesgadener Land district of southeastern Bavaria, Germany, while the adjacent area in the north, east and south is part of the Austrian state of Salzburg.
The Schneefernerkopf is a 2,875-metre-high (9,432 ft) peak in the Zugspitze massif in the Alps. It lies at the western end of the Wetterstein chain in the Alps on the border between the German state of Bavaria and the Austrian state of Tyrol. It is the dominant mountain in the Wetterstein, especially when viewed from Ehrwald.
At 2,606.9 metres (8,553 ft), the Hochkalter in the Berchtesgaden Alps is the highest peak in the massif of the same name and therefore one of the highest mountains in Germany. The Hochkalter Massif is also called the Hochkalter mountains.
The Funtenseetauern is a 2,579 m high border peak between Germany and Austria on the northern edge of the Steinernes Meer, one of the nine massifs of the Berchtesgaden Alps. The Funtenseetauern rises south of Berchtesgaden, its broad shoulder towering over the lakes of Königssee and Obersee. To the northwest of the Funtenseetauern and linked to it by a ridge is the Stuhljoch (2,448 m), whose Stuhlwand rock face drops steeply into the bowl of the Funtensee.
The Hoher Göll is a 2,522 m (8,274 ft) mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps. It is the highest peak of the Göll massif, which straddles the border between the German state of Bavaria and the Austrian state of Salzburg.
The Großer Hundstod is, at 2,593 metres, one of the main peaks in the Steinernes Meer in the Berchtesgaden Alps, and lies on the border between Bavaria and the Austrian state of Salzburg.
The Jenner is a mountain in Bavaria, Germany. It is part of the Göll massif within the Berchtesgaden Alps. Its summit, accessible from Schönau by cable car (Jennerbahn) since 1953, offers panoramic views to the Watzmann range and the Königssee below.
The Teufelshörner are a pair of mountains on the German-Austrian border in the Berchtesgaden Alps. The two peaks, which form a mountain ridge, are the Großes Teufelshorn and the Kleines Teufelshorn.
The Blaueis is the northernmost glacier in the Alps and lies within the municipality of Ramsau in the Bavarian part of the Berchtesgaden Alps. The glacier lies on the exposed north-facing slopes in the upper Blaueis cirque, nestling between the rock faces of the Blaueisspitze (2480 m), Hochkalter (2607 m) and Kleinkalter (2513 m), which ring the glacier in a horseshoe shape.
The Watzmann Glacier is one of the five recognised glaciers in Germany. It is located below the famous east face of the Watzmann in the Watzmann cirque and is surrounded by the Watzmanngrat arête, the Watzmannkindern and the Kleiner Watzmann.
The Steinernes Meer is a high karst plateau in the Northern Limestone Alps. As one of the nine sub-ranges of the Berchtesgaden Alps the Steinernes Meer belongs partly to Bavaria and partly to Salzburg.
Berchtesgaden National Park is in the south of Germany, on its border with Austria, in the municipalities of Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden and Schönau am Königsee, Berchtesgadener Land, Free State of Bavaria. The national park was established in 1978 to protect the landscapes of the Berchtesgaden Alps. Headquartered in the town of Berchtesgaden, the park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990.
At 2,430 m (AA), the Raucheck is the highest peak in the Tennen Mountains in the Northern Limestone Alps. To the south rock faces up to 1,000 metres drop into the valley of the Salzach, whilst its northern side descends relatively gently over a broad plateau into the barren Pitschenberg valley where the Leopold Happisch Haus is located.
The Übergossene Alm is the name of the summit region of the Hochkönig (2,941 m) in the Berchtesgaden Alps. It contains the remains of a glacier that used to cover almost the entire summit plateau; in 1888 around 5.5 km² of the plateau was covered by an ice sheet. Since then the glacial surface has melted until it now covers just 1.5 km² and the glacier has split into three, small crevasse-free areas. The name of the glacier goes back to a local legend.
The Aiguilles d'Entrèves is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps. It is situated at the head of the Glacier du Géant, and its rocky summit ridge forms part of the frontier between France and Italy. It lies east of the Tour Ronde, between the Col d'Entrèves and the Col Occidental de Toule. It has a steep, sound face of red granite and can be readily accessed from the Torino Hut/Pointe Helbronner.
The Aiguille de la Brenva is a remote rocky mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps. It lies wholly within Italy on a ridge descending south-east from the Tour Ronde. It has been described as "a spectacular fin with a fine E face". It stands on a ridge separating the Entrèves glacier from the Brenva glacier, yet is somewhat overshadowed by its larger neighbours, such as the Aiguille Blanche and the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. Nevertheless, it is a distinctive peak, offering a number of very challenging climbs, especially on its east face which consists of vertical granite flakes and cracks. On its northern side stands a distinctive, slender rock pinnacle about 60 metres high, known as the Père Eternel.
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