Hike to the Rotwand

Kirche im Dorf Spitzingsee mit Bergen im Hintergund

I just love the summer heat and this summer was really great so far here in Munich. So I decided to spend my 3 weeks off here in Munich and it’s beautiful surroundings. There is quite a lot to explore here and I am asking myself, why I did neglect all this until know. I mean, there are people traveling around the globe to come here and visit Bavaria. So why should I always go away for vacation?

After climbing the Hochgern, I wanted to go on another tour while off work. But then the mercury rose to the 80’sand 90’s and it was just too hot to climb another mountain. Finally there came a day with only mid 70’s, so I got up early and drove into the mountains. On a week day this goes rather fast.


Rotwand wanderung 048

As a starting point I chose Spitzingsee this time.This is a small lake at approx. 3500 feet. I was joined by a dear friend whose condition isn’t exactly like mine. So we chose a tour that is not that hard to do.

Our goal was to reach the Rotwandhaus which sits at approx. 5800 feet.

Rotwand wanderung 130

There are 2 options on how to get there. We decided to take the one that is longer, but brings you through beautiful scenery. On this track you have a short piece where you will have to climb a steep path at the end.

Easy warm up in the valley of the Valepp

To start we descended into the Valley of the Valepp. The good thing about this is that you can warm up a bit, but on the other we thought, that we actually want to walk up the mountain and therefore this means with every foot we descend we will have another foot added to the ascent.  Full of energy we follow the creek called Rote Valepp through its green valley.

This is still a regular street and we could have taken a bus to bring us to the point from where we wanted to ascent. But this something everybody can do, and we not everybody 😉

At the beginning the valley broadens and we get the first glimpses of the surrounding mountains. Soon we reach the Blecksteinhaus, restaurant in the middle of nowhere, and here we leave the paved road and continue on a gravel road. ly due to the cloudy weather and since it was a week day we were the only ones and heard nothing but the singing birds. I have a guide that describes the best tracks in the Alps and it did say that this one can be crowdy at times. For us this was just perfect.

From here on the only way is up

After a 40 minutes we arrived at Waitzinger Alm auf 3100 ft.

Rotwand wanderung 065From this point on there was only one direction and this was UP. The path led us to a valley called Pfanngraben which means the Pan Ditch. We soon found out why.

The narrow path is well groomed and rises slowly through a canyon. A small creek flows through the valley creating waterfalls and small ponds, hence the name.

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Fascinating views in the Pfanngraben

This would probably a good location for canyoning, but for the moment we stick to hiking and admiring this beautiful scenery. Next to the path we find a lot of mouth watering wild strawberries. Of course we pick a couple of them. The are sooo good. Forget the ones from the supermarket. This is the real stuff.

Rotwand wanderung 076

2.5 Hours later we made half of the ascent. But why should we go to a place called calamity? (Elend)

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After a while the path gets steeper, but still manageable. A part from the berries we see also beautiful flowers and insects that enjoy the nectar.

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We reach a place called „Kümpflalm“ and finally we get glimpses of the surrounding mountains which we didn’t get during our hike through the canyon.

Crossing alpine pastures on our way to our first stage

The ascent is still not to heavy and we start hearing the bells of the grazing cattle, that is brought up to the mountains during the summer. Unfortunately you can also smell them.

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And finally I found the Alpine Roses I love so much. If you are lucky you find mountains that are full of these pink roses and if the light is right they seem to glow.

Rotwand wanderung 116

A few minutes later we reach the final challenge. Sort of a rocky wall with a very steep path. This is working hard on our condition. But since we can see the cabin that awaits us with great food we have something to motivate us. Although we see our goal, we still need an hour to get there.

Once we reach the top of the ridge we can see the path that was made for the lazy ones. From Spitzingsee, our starting point, you can take a funicular that brings you to the top of a mountain close by and then walk in 45 minutes on almost even terrain to the cabin we are going for lunch.

The Rotwand House

We feel that we have earned our lunch up here. The food is great, almost restaurant quality like in the valley. They offer a wide variety and most of the ingredients come from a organic farm in close by Austria. You can taste the enthusiasm of the cooks and even watch them prepare the food. And since we did work out we don’t have to count the calories and start with „Kasspatzn“ (Pasta with lots of cheese) and then share a serving of „Kaiserschmarrn“ (sort of scrambled pancakes with raisins and almonds.) Incredibly good! The prices are a bit on the higher side, but for such high quality food I am ready to pay a bit more. Whenever I am visiting such a cabin I love to drink either Elder syrup mixed with water or a fresh buttermilk. we pass an hour in this cabin before we get ready for the descent. Here’s our last glimpse of the cabin:

On our way downward we walk along a gravel road via which the supplies are being brought to the top of the mountain. So it is rather easy to walk. The Rotwandhütte is open year round and in the winter months when the road is covered with snow it is being used as a 2 mile tobbogan run. I guess I have to come back in winter. Sounds like a lot of fun.

When you have climbed a mountain, you’ll have to come down again

A last glimpse of the surrounding mountains before the road leads us into the forest, where we see plenty of beautiful flowers that aren’t to be found elsewhere and are therefore especially protected. And of course we find a few more wild berries. Here we even get to taste wild raspberries. Yummy!

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This part of our hike is shorter and since we walk downwards we reach the valley after a 1,5 hour hike.

At the street in the above picture we complete the circle. Back in Spitzingsee we are a bit tired, but feel great after this workout and the unbelievable sights. Below a few impressions from the village. The painting on the house in the right picture is typical for this region and the bavarian word for it is „Lüftlmalerei“. This is a rather new one and I really like the idea of seeing old traditions being still alive.

On our way back to the parking lot, we come across a big crowd. After seeing practically no people during the hike, this feels sort of awkward. But soon we see the reason why. A young fox was sitting in front of  the church.

Rotwand wanderung 160

Foxes are usually very shy and you hardly see any. Since this one could have rabies everybody is being cautious and nobody is getting close to him.

This was the perfect end to a great day and we go back to our car and drive back to Munich.

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