Through the Krottenbach valley to the Tölzer Hütte
From the shores of the artificial Sylvenstein lake this tour runs at first along a even paved road through dense forest. You continue above the Krottenbach canyon still rather comfortable direction Delpsee. The ascent at the end of the valley is steep and quite strenuous. You will be awarded with the maginificent Karwendel panorama from the Tölzer Hütte. The complete hike is rather long and so you have to be in good shape to do it. Since I wasn’t sure how long this tour would take I did take the car for once.
- length: approx. 14 miles
- walking time: approx. 8 hours
- elevation in the ascent: 3800 ft.
- drop in the ascent: 3900 ft.
Fall, the removed village
Between 1954 and 1959 they have built a dam about 8 miles south of Lenggries to prevent the villages and towns along the Isar from the numerous floodings. Within the area to be flooded there was a small village with a few wooden houses and a chapel. This village has been torn down and rebuilt a few feet further up the mountain. There is not much to see but with its situation in the middle of the woods and right on the lake it is a good starting point for longer hikes.
Another day where the forecast had sunny weather in store and so off I went into the mountains. The schedule of the mountain bus from/to Lenggries is rather sparse and since I wasn’t sure how long this hike would take I decided to take the car, just in case. It is a bit difficult to find a parking space due to the many campers that stay here overnight. Once I have bought the parking ticket I am on my way.
I start on the road that leads to the forester’s lodge called Aquila which is a popular excursion destination at the end of the Bärchen valley. I kind a like such even roads at the beginning of a tour. They are good to warm up for the ascent. So I am enjoying my stroll through the cool forest and am looking for the turn to the Krottenbach valley. Exactly when I thought that I have missed I am stumbling over it.
Following the canyon of the Krottenbach
Just below the sign showing the way to the Tölzer Hütte there is another sign telling me that the path is closed due to a damaged bridge. That won’t keep me from continuing. In the worst case I will have to turn around and look for another way. From here I am walking on a gravel road slowly rising uphill. The elevation is not very steep and most of the time I am walking through the shade of the forest. To the left I can hear the water hissing through the canyon below. But I can’t see it due to the dense forest.
There are many orchids in full bloom along the way. May has been rather rainy so the scenery around me is luciously green. Up to know this hike is a real treat. The cool, tangy air sort of helps me to come down quickly. I hope it continues like this. After about an hour or so I reach another turn. To the right the path continues on the Faller roundtrip back to Fall. My path continues straight ahead. I am still walking on a forest road which is not so well groomed. I like this more then the pounded gravel roads.
At the turn I see this tree trunk that has fallen and the new saplings are growing upwards like several trees. A few minutes later I get a glimpse into the canyon and see a waterfall. And again a few steps further I see the summit of the Schfareuter for the first time. At this point I am not sure if I am really going all the way to the top. I’ll decide once I have reached the Tölzer Hütte.
Slowly the woods are getting less dense and I can see the summits around me from time to time. The higher I am climbing the more often I can also look into the canyon below my path. The disadvantage of this is, that it is pretty hot now and I am mostly walking in the sun. That means I have to rationalise my water a bit. But I will surely come to a point where I can refill my bottle.
The road still mounts slowly but the ground of the canyon is getting closer. When crossing a bridge I am astonished to see that there is no water in the creek. That’s strange since I heard the gurgling all the way up. Is this the supposedly damaged bridge already? I can’t see anything and cross it without any problems.
Just a few minutes later the world is back in order and the creek does have water. I guess that it has been covered with stones and the water is running underneath the rocks for a while. Since the forest is getting lighter with every step I do have a panoramic view to the valleys end with the summit of the Stierjoch, Torjoch and Schafreuter all the time. I like that secenery. On the other side I have to realise that I still have a rather long ascent in front of me.
Following the creek uphill
At one point the road turns into a path. The creek hasn’t excavated so deeply into the rocks anymore and accompanies me constantly. After a while I reach this rocky terrain where the water runs through several basins towards the creek. In one of those basins I see this black salamander. Funny enough he’s only moving when I am moving too. Apart from that he’s lying in the water and probably hopes that he will survive the situation. Good for me, since I can get a good shot of him. A few basins further I am filling up my water bottle.
A short time afterwards the caynon is getting deeper again and the forest is more dense. The cool air is much appreciated. I am all sweaty meanwhile. After two hours of walking I have gained only about 1000 ft. in elevation. Guess there is a steep ascent waiting for me.
And then the valley opens up and offers great views of it’s end with the summits of Stierjoch, Torjoch and Schafreuter. Very impressive scenery. To my right I can see the last bit of snow and am surprised how long it does last this summer. The good thing is that this will keep the creek going.
Again there is a stretch where the creek has formed a deep canyon but just a few minutes later I do reach the famous damaged bridge. You really can’t cross it. But it spans over the creek at a point where the creek is not so deep and I can cross it without getting wet. Sometimes you just have to be lucky. After three hours into the tour I would have had to go back quite a long way before reaching another path that would give me a detour.
The steep and strenuous ascent
I am taking a short break at this bridge and do fill up my bottle again with the crystal clear water. It tastes just great. Right after the bridge follows the first real ascent. The path mounts in serpentines along the flank of the Stierjoch. The valley opens up to a broad hollow and offers a great view of the Schafreuter.
The forest is a bit more dense and therefore it is a bit cooler. Again and again I am looking towards the valley floor and see the creek splashing over small waterfalls towards Fall. I barely meet other hikers. And most of them are descending. So I guess they came from the Rißtal on the other side of the mountain.
The path is getting very steep and I gain height pretty fast. Between the trees I do get great views. On one side into the valley where I came up and on the other side to the summits where I do see a larger waterfall. I realise that I have made a long way already.
I continue my ascent along the flank of the Stierjoch. The big waterfall at the end of the valley is coming closer real quick. I am wondering where all this water comes from. I find it rather impressive. When I finally reach the bottom of this fall I am tempted to take a shower in this fresh water. There is not a single soul around and so I could do it. But checking my watch tells me that I should move on. I still have a few miles to hike. So I am filling up my water bottle again and search for the path.
The heaviest part of the tour
I can’t find a sign and the only way up seems to be this narrow crevice you can see in the picture to the left above. It is not long but turns out to be a real challenge. More or less on all fours I am climbing through loose rocks. That’s very tiresome. This reminds me somehow of my tour through the Wolfsschlucht in Kreuth. There the ascent is as steep. Once I have made it through the crevice I see that there is a path leading around the rocks. It probably leads around them a bit further down from the waterfall. I didn’t see it. At least I have accopmplished the most challenging part of this tour.
Beautiful scenery above the fall
In the undergrowth above the fall tons of toads are swarming about. They find ideal conditions. A gurgling creek, dense undergrowth and almost no humans around. The path isn’t that steep anymore but leads through the bright sunshine. To the right I now see the Schafreuter all the time. Guess I still have a bit to walk before I reach the cabin.
After a last steep ascent I reach the almost overgrown Delpsee with the summit of the Baumgartenschneid in the back. A deep hollow has been formed here. It’s beautiful. When I climbed the summit of the Schafreuter last year I already had a view of this hollow. So it can’t be that far anymore to the Tölzer Hütte.
The path through the hollow is dragging a bit. Below the Delpsjoch goats are grazing. This terrain is probably too difficult for cows to climb. Along the rocky walls of the summits there are a few more snowfields. At least I am at an elevation now where the temperatures are more supportable. And then I finally see the cabin. A cold drink and great food is waiting.
The Tölzer Hütte, a mountain cabin with a incredible view and delicious food
The view from the Tölzer Hütte into the Karwendel mountains is always breathtaking. This is one of my favourite parts of the Alps. Those majestic summits, just wonderful. The cabin actually is in Austria, allthough you really can’t make out the border up here. I decide not to climb all the way up to the summit and am asking the landlords for alternate routes to get back to Fall.
They suggest that I take the same route down as coming up. But I find that too strenuous. Alternatetively I can walk below the summit of the Schafreuter to the Moosenalm and then ascent to Grasköpfel. Sounds good to me. So after a longer break and a serving of cheese dumplings with cabbage I start with the descent. Below the summit runs a path through mountain pine to the Wiesingberg. That’s the one I am taking now.
The descent with a surprise
The path is easy to walk and leads almost on even terrain to the Wiesingberg. From there I am crossing a pasture towards the valley. At a turn the path coming down from the summit crosses and here I can here the sound of cowbells. This sound of the bells for me is as much a part of the mountains as are the cabins. On this pastures the world seems to be still in order.
Once again I have a great view of the Karwendel summits and between the gras the gentian is blooming. The descent is rather easy and good to walk so far. Actually I could have taken the straight way into the valley to the Oswaldhütte and hope that I can still catch the bus that would bring me back to my car. But I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it in time. So I take the path leading to the Grasköpfel from the Moosenalm.
A cow going wild barres my way
I remember that the descent from the Moosenalm to the Oswaldhütte is rather unpleasant to walk. So I rather take the route over the pasture and make the climb to the Grasköpfel. I am walking on almost even terrain while I hope that the ascent tot the Grasköpfel won’t be too steep.
Soon I do reach the Wiesbauern Hochleger where the ascent starts. As of the landlords of the Tölzer Hütte the path continues on a narrow ridge to Fall after the ascent. Since I am not afraid of heights and sure footed I am confident that this will not be too much for me despite being rather tired by now.
While walking towards the Hochleger I do see some cows lying in the gras chewing. A peaceful image. But appearances are deceiving. One of those cows is staring at me. The closer I get the higher it moves its head. At one point it gets up and bristles with anger. When I am still not getting out of her way it starts pawing with one leg. That’s the sign for me to get the hell out of her way.
A sign is showing me the alternate route. Crossing the Reitsteig will bring me to Vorderriß. There I will have to wait for the bus. So what? I rather return home safely instead of ending on the horns of a cow gone mad. This path is much more comfortable to walk then the descent tot the Oswaldhütte. Unfortunately it doesn’t end in the village of Vorderriß but at a small parking lot in the middle of the woods. I try to hitchchike maybe I am lucky and somebody is taking me to my car. Meanwhile I am walking along the road direction village. But apparently I do look too much like a mess so I have to walk the 2 miles to the bus stop. There at least is a restaurant where I can get a cold drink. And a while later the bus picks me up and soon after I am sitting in my car driving home. This tour has been a challenge but I have seen a lot of beautiful things. So when you are looking for a real challenge you should be going on this tour.