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Watzmann massif: Watzmann with “woman” (left) and “children” (center) from the north

Watzmann massif: Watzmann with “woman” (left) and “children” (center) from the north

height 2713  m above sea level NHN
location Bavaria ( Germany )
Mountains Berchtesgaden Alps
Dominance 15.9 km →  Hochseiler
Notch height 939 m ↓  Trischübelpass
Coordinates 47 ° 33 '16 "  N , 12 ° 55' 20"  E Coordinates: 47 ° 33 '16 "  N , 12 ° 55' 20"  E
Watzmann (Berchtesgaden Alps)
rock Limestone , dolomite
Age of the rock Triad
First ascent in August 1800 by Valentin Stanič
Normal way from the Watzmannhaus ( 47 ° 34 ′ 16 ″  N , 12 ° 56 ′ 3 ″  E )

The Watzmann is the central mountain range of the Berchtesgaden Alps . The highest peak is the Watzmann-Mittelspitze ( 2713  m above sea  level ), which is also the highest point in the German part of the Berchtesgaden Alps. Around the Watzmann and its neighboring peak ( Kleiner Watzmann or Watzmann woman and Watzmann children ) entwines the Watzmann forecast . The Watzmann east face is the highest face in the Eastern Alps .

Location and morphology

Watzmann seen from the south (from the Ofenloch): southern tip (left) and central tip (right).
Watzmann seen from the northeast (from Hinterbrand): Kleiner Watzmann (left) and Großer Watzmann (right).

The Watzmann is located in the extreme south-east of Upper Bavaria in the Berchtesgaden National Park in the communities of Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee . The municipal boundary runs over the central and southern tip. The mountain range has an area of ​​around 50 km². The highest point, the Mittelspitze ( 2713  m ), is located about 10 km southwest of Berchtesgaden and 30 km southwest of the city of Salzburg on the northern edge of the Alps . To the west of the Watzmann, beyond the Wimbach valley , rises the Hochkalter ( 2607  m ), to the north, beyond the valley, the Ramsauer Ache , the Tote Mann ( 1392  m ) and south of the Schneiber ( 2330  m ). To the east, across the Königssees , lie the Jenner ( 1874  m ) and the Kahlersberg ( 2350  m ).

After the peaks of the Hochkönigstock (up to 2941  m ), the Watzmann is the highest point in the Berchtesgaden Alps , which are part of the northern limestone Alps . Access is mostly from the north, starting from the Ramsau district of Wimbachbrücke or from Hinterschönau from the Hammerstiel car park via the Watzmannhaus ( 1928  m ). As valley locations, Ramsau and Schönau are more than 2000 meters in altitude below the summit - so the Watzmann has a remarkable difference in altitude for the Eastern Alps , which is often only surpassed by four-thousand-meter peaks across the Alps.

Summit cross on the Hocheck, behind the Hochkalter

The largest part of the Watzmann massif is called the Großer Watzmann . It has an approximately 4.5 km long, almost NNE-SSW running main ridge, the Watzmanngrat . This connects the main summit, the Mittelspitze ( 2713  m ), with the southern tip ( 2712  m , formerly also: Schönfeldspitze ) and the Hocheck ( 2651  m ). Apart from these three dominant surveys are mainly the east of the Great Watzmann located Small Watzmann ( "Watzmann woman", 2307  m ) and the east of the center tip lined up against a Quergrat Watzmann children (up to 2270  m high) are known (see also other peaks of the Watzmann massif ) . The section of the Watzmanngrat north of the Mittelspitze, the Watzmannkinder and the Kleine Watzmann enclose the Watzmannkar , at the upper end of which there is the very small Watzmann glacier (see also snow and ice fields on the Watzmann ).


Dachstein limestone on the east wall (seen from the 3rd child). The banking of the limestone and the central incline to the north can be seen very clearly.
The largely wooded Quaternary alluvial cone of the Eisbach with the St. Bartholomä Chapel near the shore of the Königsee at the foot of the eastern flank of the Watzmann massif

The summit regions of the Great and Small Watzmann consist of relatively weather-resistant, banked Dachstein limestone and plate limestone . These sedimentary rocks come from the younger Triassic ( Norium , around 215  mya ). The banky stratification of the Dachstein limestone can be seen particularly clearly on the east wall. The formerly horizontal layers now dip there at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees to the north, as they were folded when the Alps were formed. Typical of these limestone formations is their lack of fossils. Mass occurrences of megalodonts (“cow steps”) are only found here and there .

The base of the mountain consists of a relatively brittle dolomite, the so-called Carnic-Norian dolomite, as well as Ramsaudolomite , a lateral equivalent of Wetterstein limestone . These rock units are geologically older and come from the early Upper and Middle Triassic ( Ladinium- Norium, approx. 235 to 220 mya). All the rocks of the Watzmann massif formed on the shelf of the western Tethys and were transported north to their present positions in the form of a tectonic blanket during the formation of the Alps . The dolomite rocks mainly appear on the west and south-west side of the Großer Watzmann in the graveled Wimbachtal and on the slopes of the Eisbach valley .

The Eisbach (or Eisgraben ) has created an alluvial cone on the western edge of the Königssees , which has also narrowed the already narrow lake at this point. If rubble from the Eisbachtal continues to be transported to the east, this alluvial cone will ultimately have divided the Königssee in two halves in the near future.

Flora and fauna

A mating grouse on the Watzmann

Due to its great differences in altitude and the great ecological diversity, the Watzmann has a particularly species-rich flora and fauna. The low-lying areas are dominated by montane beech forests , which merge into subalpine mixed forests . The upper forest level is determined by conifers, especially spruce , larch and stone pine . These natural forests were replaced by spruce monocultures , especially on the easily accessible north side of the massif for the large wood requirements of the Berchtesgadner saltworks . The tree line is around 2000 meters, the tree line a little deeper. Above this, dwarf shrub heaths dominate , which are formed, for example, from the lashed alpine rose ( Rhododendron hirsutum ), mountain pine and green alder bushes , lawn communities (blue grass-Horstseggenrasen, Rostseggenrasen and Polsterseggenrasen) as well as crevices and rock debris communities.

In the national park and especially on the Watzmann there are numerous plant species from the Eastern Alps that are absent in the rest of the Bavarian Alpine region, such as the wild cyclamen ( Cyclamen purpurascens ), the snow rose ( Helleborus niger ), Einseles Columbine ( Aquilegia einseleana ), Clusius cowslip ( Primula clusiana) ), Burser's saxifrage ( Saxifraga burseriana ), the Dolomite man's shield ( Androsace hausmannii ), the Tauern flower ( Lomatogonium carinthiacum ), the Austrian hogweed ( Heracleum austriacum ) and the common ragwort ( Senecio abrotanifolius ).

The fauna of the entire Berchtesgaden National Park is characterized by various ungulates such as roe deer , red deer and chamois . There are also alpine animals such as the mountain hare , the capercaillie and the black grouse, as well as the rock ptarmigan and hazel grouse , the golden eagle , the alpine salamander and the black adder . The alpine marmot only occurs in the vicinity of the Trischübel pass . The alpine ibex can only occasionally be found on the Watzmann as mixed game from the Hagen Mountains and the Röth. Many other animal species are native to the various altitudes of the Watzmann.

Snow and ice fields

There are some snow and ice fields all year round on the Watzmann , of which the Watzmann Glacier is the largest and the ice chapel is the best known due to its easy accessibility from St. Bartholomä . The Watzmann Glacier , which is already visible from Berchtesgaden, has been regarded as a glacier by the Commission for Glaciology of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences since 1959 . The classification as a glacier is controversial among scientists due to its size and its low flow velocity.

Remains of the Watzmann glacier (summer 2017)

The Watzmann Glacier lies east of the ridge between the Hocheck and the Mittelspitze with an average height of 2060  m in the upper Watzmannkar. In 2007 its area was 5.6 hectares with an average thickness of 3.8 m, a maximum thickness of 16 m and a volume of 600,000 m³. In the years before 2007, the ice field lost an average of one meter in thickness each year, so that if the climatic conditions remain the same, the ice body will have largely disappeared by around 2020. On the ice field and to the west of it lie the remains of a JU 52 transport aircraft that crashed in October 1940 .

Ice chapel with vault in summer

The ice chapel is likely to be the lowest year-round snowfield in the Alps. When Sebastian Finsterwalder took the first complete topographical survey of the Bavarian glaciers in 1892, the ice chapel was still an independent, small glacier that lost its tongue between 1920 and 1950 and is now just a snow field. Its lower end is 930 meters above sea level in the upper Eisbach valley and can be reached in about an hour's walk from St. Bartholomä am Königssee. The ice chapel is fed by the avalanches that fall over the east face of the Watzmann in spring and collect in the corner of the wall. Sometimes a gate-like vault forms in the ice at the point where the Eisbach emerges from the ice chapel. Before entering, there is an urgent warning, there have already been deaths from falling ice. In the east face itself, in the so-called Schöllhornkar, there is another ice field, called Schöllhorneis , over which one ascends when climbing the Kederbacher-Weg . Kar and Eisfeld bear the name of Christian Schöllhorn from Munich , who was the first victim of the east face. On May 26, 1890, he fell into the rift at the top of the ice field and was fatally injured. Another small, nameless snow field is a few hundred meters below the central point, also in the east wall.


The Watzmann glacier and the ice chapel have been designated as valuable geotopes by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment (geotope numbers: 172R027 and 172R025).


The Watzmannhaus

The middle peak was first climbed in August 1800 by the Slovene-speaking Austrian Valentin Stanič , even if other sources mention 1799 as the year of the first ascent. A few days after Stanič reached the summit of the Großglockner on the day after its first ascent, he also climbed the highest point of the Watzmann coming from the Hocheck.

The southern tip was first climbed in 1832 by Peter Karl Thurwieser over the Schönfeld.

The first crossing of the Großer Watzmann (Hocheck, Mittelspitze, Südspitze) was carried out in 1868 by the Ramsau mountain guide Johann Grill , the Kederbacher , and Johann Punz. These two were the first to reach the summit of the Kleiner Watzmann in 1852. The Watzmann east face was also climbed for the first time in 1881 by Johann Grill with his guest Otto Schück.

Grill was the first host of the Watzmannhaus from 1888 to 1905 . The Alpine Club Hut is located north of the Hocheck at 1930  m on the Falzköpfl and is an important base for crossing the mountain range.

Watzmann crossing

Crossing the middle peak
The Watzmann-Hocheck, immediately before you reach it on the normal route

When crossing the Watzmann ridge, or “Watzmann crossing” for short, the three peaks of the main ridge, Hocheck, Mittelspitze and Südspitze, are usually crossed from north to south. This tour is often done in two stages. On the first day you climb up to the Watzmannhaus and on the second day after an overnight stay you pass the three peaks and descend into the Wimbachgries. The descent over 1400 meters in altitude into the Wimbachgries takes place via a steep path, which is at risk of falling and falling rocks, on which different alpine landscapes are passed. You get back to the starting point via the Gries, a large stream of rubble. In an emergency, bivouacking is also possible in a shelter on the Hocheck.

The total walking time to exceed it is usually 12 to 15 hours, depending on ability, condition and duration of the break. The extreme athlete from Ramsau, Toni Palzer, holds the record time of 2 hours and 47 minutes. On June 26, 2020, he ran the route from the Wimbach Bridge to the Watzmannhaus in 49 minutes, on to the Hocheck in 32 minutes, from the Hocheck to the southern tip in 24 minutes and from the southern tip back to the Wimbach Bridge in 1:02 hours. The duration of the exceedance can be more than fifteen hours in adverse conditions and physical condition problems. However, due to the popularity of the tour, there may be delays as it is used by more than a hundred climbers on some days. From the Hocheck to the central summit the difficulties are moderate, between the central and southern summits there are climbing points up to grade II to be mastered. Bad weather influences increase the demand, as the climbed rock becomes even more slippery due to moisture from snow, rain or fog. Wire rope insurances defuse the key points , but there are also very exposed passages that are not secured by wire rope. The tour is therefore not a fixed rope in the true sense, but many use a via ferrata .

Watzmann east face

Highest wall in the Eastern Alps

St. Bartholomä with the Watzmann east wall in the background
Watzmann east face
The Watzmann east wall above the ice chapel

The east face of the Watzmann-Südspitze, also called Bartholomäwand, is one of the most famous rock faces in the Alps. Whether it deserves the title of the highest eastern Alpine wall has long been a matter of dispute, as the 1800 meters of wall heights often cited in the literature are lower than the 1900 meters that the Alpine Club Guide " Julian Alps " gives for the western wall of Montasch ( 2754  m ). In fact, the 1900 m at Montasch refer to the difference in altitude between an upstream valley and the summit, but not to the actual wall, which has a lower altitude - around 1400 m.

With its wall height of around 1800 m, the Watzmann east face also exceeds all other high walls in the Eastern Alps: the north face of Triglav (2864 m) in the Julian Alps (around 1500 meters), the south face of the Birnhorn (2634 m) in the Leoganger Steinbergen and the north face of the Hochwanner in the Wetterstein Mountains (both approx. 1400 to 1500 m wall height), the north face of the Schermberg in the Totes Gebirge (1400 m wall height) and the north face of the Hochstadel ( 2680  m ) in the Lienz Dolomites (approx. 1300 to 1400 m wall height). The Watzmann east face is thus the highest rock face in the Eastern Alps. Only less steep flanks are higher, such as the eastern flank of the Wiesbachhorn at 2,400 meters.

In the magazine of the German and Austrian Alpine Club in 1922, the Triglav north face, the Hochstadel north face and the Watzmann east face were named as the three highest rock faces in the Eastern Alps. In the past, the Watzmann east face was sometimes even called the “highest rock face climbed in the Alps”.

The Watzmann east face and the ice chapel are counted among the hundred most beautiful geotopes in Bavaria by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment ( Geotope no. 172R025).

Difficulties and dangers

Since the first ascent in 1881 by Johann Grill , the “Kederbacher”, and the Viennese alpinist Otto Schück, who he led, more than 100 people have died on the east face. It has claimed more lives than the north face of the Eiger . The higher absolute number of fatal accidents arises from the fact that a much higher number of mountaineers attempted the Watzmann, but often without being able to cope with the wall.

However, the wall is technically not particularly difficult: on the easiest path, the Berchtesgadener Weg, which Josef Aschauer and Hellmuth Schuster accidentally found in 1947 , “only” the third level of difficulty is required in an 80 m long passage and several other short places ; Most of the route leads over easy rock (I – II) and walking terrain. However, the wall makes demands on the climber that he can hardly prepare for on smaller walls and in the climbing garden. The required physical and mental condition, the often difficult orientation and the inability to recognize bad weather fronts approaching from the west at an early stage are repeatedly underestimated. Depending on the route taken, a retreat is just as difficult as the further ascent from the middle of the wall at the latest. There is a risk of falling rocks, especially on nice weekends when there are many rope teams on the Berchtesgadener Weg . In winter or spring, when the rocks are covered in ice or snow and there is a risk of avalanches, the Watzmann east face (as well as the Watzmann crossing) is reserved for professionals and area experts only. Especially at the time of the snowmelt , in the months of May and June, the wall repeatedly claims fatalities, as tons of old snow can slide off the downwardly layered strips and kill mountaineers. Only when this massive accumulation of old snow has slipped or melted does the Berchtesgaden mountain guides begin with regular tours through the wall.


Apart from Berchtesgaden way draw a few more routes through the wall to the southern tip, in particular, these are the Kederbacherweg (named after the Erstdurchsteiger, although the rope team at the top of the path to the center point and not as common today chose the southern tip), the Salzburger way , the Münchner Weg , the Frankfurter Weg , the Polenweg , the Franz-Rasp-Gedächtnisweg and a few more. Variants are often possible in this strongly articulated and not particularly steep wall.

Special alpine achievements

One of the greatest alpinistic achievements that were accomplished on the Watzmann is the winter ascent of the Salzburger Weg by Hermann Buhl in the night of February 28th to March 1st, 1953. For the ascent of this difficult route through the snow-covered east face, Buhl from St Bartholomä to the southern tip only about nine hours. Then he crossed the entire Watzmanngrat via Mittelspitze and Hocheck. Buhl, who lived with his wife Eugenie in the nearby Ramsau, served this tour as preparation for the upcoming Nanga Parbat expedition in the same year , which he - also single-handedly - helped to achieve with the first ascent of the eight-thousander .

The mountain guide Heinz Zembsch has the most climbs of the east face with 410 (as of September 2015). Before him, Franz Rasp was the long-time “caretaker” of the east face: he was the first to climb several routes alone and was probably the best expert on the wall. On January 1, 1988, Rasp fell fatally on his 295th ascent with another climber.

Philipp Reiter and Martin Schidlowski have held the record for the fastest ascent of the east face since August 25, 2015, who climbed from St. Bartholomä via Berchtesgadener Weg to the southern tip in two hours and 3 minutes .

Bivouac box

Bivouac box in the Watzmann east wall

In the upper part of the east wall of the Watzmann there is a bivouac box at 2380 m (under the "Massigen Pillar") , which is used as emergency accommodation, especially in the event of sudden weather changes.

West flank

Watzmann west face with Hocheck (left) and Mittelspitze (right)

The western flank of the Watzmann breaks off between Schüttalpelschneid and Griesspitze with an altitude difference of up to 1700 m against the Wimbachtal. The border between Ramsaudolomit and Dachstein limestone is at about 2000 m. Above the flank is generally comparable to the east wall, only a little flatter. Below, two mighty systems of trenches run through the flank, which is very brittle and overgrown with mountain pine. The routes through the western flank are very arduous and place high demands on orientation. At the turn of the century before last, the Watzmann west face was still enjoying some interest and was climbed several times on different routes; mountaineers were also killed in attempts to climb the mountain. Today, the various climbs through the western flank are seldom and then mostly done in descent.

More climbing routes

In addition to the east face guides (see above) there are a number of other, mostly high-alpine and challenging climbs. Most of them are located on the west face of the Kleiner Watzmann , which rises almost vertically above the Watzmannkar and is also clearly visible from the hiking trail that leads up to the Watzmannhaus. There are dozens of climbing routes of various levels of difficulty, including the Sacrische Eck , the first route of level VII (UIAA) in the Berchtesgadner Land. Other climbing routes can be found mainly on the southern slopes of the Watzmann children .

Worth mentioning is the re-route from the Watzmannkar through the so-called small east face to the Mittelspitze , a very impressive climbing route (III− UIAA). Routes through other walls of the Watzmann massif, e.g. B. the Hachelkopf north face, climbed by Franz Rasp solo , usually have long approaches and are therefore uninteresting for many climbers.

Other peaks of the Watzmann massif

f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap

Little Watzmann (Watzmann woman)

Little Watzmann with 1st and 2nd child

The most important peak of the Watzmann massif after the main peaks of the Großer Watzmann is the Kleine Watzmann (2307 m), also called Watzmannfrau , Watzmannweib or (rarely) Watzfrau ( location ). The normal route to this summit leads from the Kührointalm from the north over the Ice Age moraine, known as the Kederbichel , to the ridge, which soon narrows to an exposed climbing area known locally as the “gendarme”. Like the following climbing passages, you do not exceed the second level of difficulty on the gendarme. In contrast to the Großer Watzmann, there are neither wire rope safety devices nor clear markings. In the slabs just below the summit there is a small cave with a narrow entrance, which can also be used for bivouacking if necessary . In connection with the descent over the east ridge to the Mooslahnerkopf, the Kleine Watzmann can be traversed; the east ridge is technically the easiest route to the Watzmannfrau, but much longer than the normal route and only marked with cairns in places . From the summit of the Kleiner Watzmann, a path-free descent to the Königssee is possible over the saddle to the first Watzmannkind in an easterly direction. You pass the Watzmannlabl , a small meadow. The very steep west face of the Kleiner Watzmann is the most important climbing wall on the Watzmann after the southern tip-east face.

Watzmann children

The Watzmann family “mirrored” from the Breithorn ascent

The Watzmannkinder close the Watzmannkar at the top. According to the legend there are seven; however, only five are distinct peaks in their own right ; Numbering from east to west: 1st child 2247 m ( ), 2nd child 2232 m ( ), 3rd child 2213 m ( ), 4th child ("Watzmann-Jungfrau") 2270 m ( ), 5 Child 2225 m ( ). The new alpine club leader Berchtesgadener Alpen alpin also speaks of a sixth Watzmann child (2225 m) and means the upswing at the foot of the Mittelspitze east face, where the Watzmann ski pass is located. The exact heights of the individual Watzmann children are repeatedly the subject of discussions. In particular, the 3rd child, who is very important as a ski tour destination, is very often given in the literature as 2232 m, although this is probably a wrong assumption of the height of the 2nd child. The incorrect altitude information 2165 m or 2167 m can also be found in tour descriptions. While the official topographic map 1: 25,000 from 1959 still recorded 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th child with height information, the maps in the editions from 1967 to 2008 only contained the heights of 1st and 2nd child. The current topographic maps 1: 10,000 and 1: 25,000 of the State Office for Digitization, Broadband and Surveying now list all 5 Watzmann children with altitude marks.

The Watzmann children are easiest to reach from the north of the Watzmannkar (partly via paths, partly pathless and climbing) and are often visited in winter as part of a ski tour . To the south, the Watzmann children break off with steep walls of over 1000 meters into the Eisbach valley. A tour that is seldom carried out but is valued by those in the know is the climbing over all Watzmann children.

The Watzmann ski pass is not the lowest point between the fifth Watzmannkind and the Watzmann-Mittelspitze, but rather a 2428  m high, not very clear notch directly at the foot of the east face of the Mittelspitze. The lowest point between the Watzmann children and the Great Watzmann does not have a name of its own.


Grünstein, seen from the Koenigssee part of Schönau

The Grünstein ( Lage ) is 1304 m high, the smallest and at the same time the easiest to climb summit of the Watzmann massif. It rises directly above the Schönau and can be reached via hiking trails either from the Hammerstiel car park or from the Königssee toboggan run. A little below the summit is a managed hut, the Grünsteinhütte . The Grünstein is a popular hiking destination because of its relatively low alpine requirements and the panoramic view over the Berchtesgadner valley basin.

On June 21, 2009, the construction of a via ferrata on the Grünstein began. Eight weeks later, construction was completed and the Isidor via ferrata (named after Isidor Grassl) was opened. The climb leads  to the summit in via ferrata difficulty level C, there is also the difficult variant in grade D / E with the entry further to the right, which leads to the Isidor variant after about a third of the climb length over a suspension bridge. Since 2011 there has been a third entry, the so-called robber ladder, also in grade D / E, but longer than the difficult variant, into which it ends just below the suspension bridge.

Deer meadow

The Hirschwiese (also Hirschwieskopf , Lage ), 2114  m , the southernmost summit of the Watzmann massif, is the extension of the rock ridge that descends from the Watzmann southern tip and reaches its lowest point in the Schönfeldscharte. From Trischübel ( 1765  m ), the saddle between Watzmann and Steinernem Meer , a marked path leads through steep grass to the small plateau with the two peaks, which are a few minutes apart. The mountain is very often climbed by hikers because of its easy accessibility and the view of the Watzmann in particular.

More peaks

Due to its compactness and small area, the Watzmannstock has only a few other peaks:

  • Großer Hachelkopf ( 2066  m , ): The highest of the Hachelköpfe , a ridge that branches off eastwards from the Hirschwiese and descends over the Burgstallstein to St. Bartholomä. It is difficult to climb from the Hirschwiese and is rarely visited due to its remoteness and lack of awareness, but it offers a good insight into the east face of the Watzmann.
  • Grießspitze (also Griesspitze , 2257  m , ): The only prominent elevation of the west- south -west ridge of the Watzmann-Südspitze , which frames the Schönfeld together with the southern ridge of the Watzmann-Südspitze . It is only rarely reached without a path and by climbing.
  • Mooslahnerkopf ( 1815  m , ): Strictly speaking, not an independent summit, but only a subordinate elevation in the ridge that descends eastwards from the Kleiner Watzmann . It can be reached from Kühroint via a path without any climbing difficulties and offers impressive views down to the Königssee . The Mooslahnerkopf is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Berchtesgadner Land. The ridge that leads west from it to the Watzmannfrau is the technically easiest ascent on this, less difficult than the marked normal route from Kühroint over the Kederbichl.
  • Falzköpfl ( 1928  m , ): Also not an independent summit, but a subordinate, widely visible elevation in the wide slope that runs from the Watzmann-Hocheck north down into the valley. The Watzmannhaus is located on the Falzköpfl , the most important mountaineering accommodation on the Watzmann.
  • Schapbachriedel ( 1329  m , ): A wooded knoll in the northern part of the Watzmann massif, immediately southwest of the Grünstein. Despite its greater height, the Schapbachriedel, unlike the Grünstein, is practically unknown. It is completely forested and therefore does not offer a good view of the valley and does not have a marked hiking trail.


The - erroneous - view that the Watzmann is the second highest mountain in Germany after the Zugspitze is sometimes found. In fact, it is the third highest main summit in Germany after the Zugspitze and the Hochwanner ( 2744  m ) in the Wetterstein massif . Since the German-Austrian border runs over the latter two, it is the highest mountain, the base of which is entirely on German territory.

The Watzmann in art and culture

Cultural traditions

Watzmann legend

Watzmann family - 19th century postcard

According to legend, the country was once ruled by the cruel King Waze or Wazemann, who with his wife and children spread fear and terror. When he crushed a peasant family on his horse, the peasant woman cursed that God should turn him and his family to stone. Then the earth opened up, spat fire and turned the king and his family to stone. In some versions of the legend it is still told that the Königs- and Obersee was created by the merged blood of the royal family and that Watzmann's dogs fell from death as a dog .

The impression of a “family” lined up next to each other results, as is often shown in photos and pictures, from the view from the north; From left to right, the Watzmann woman, the children and the Great Watzmann appear, which emerges from the main peaks.

Watzmann chamois

The " Watzmann-Gams " is a ski mountaineering competition that has been organized annually by the German Alpine Association (DAV) since 1971 and is held on the Watzmann.

Popular culture

Away with the Watzmann, a clear view of the Mediterranean! is one of the many variations of the Sponti sayings .

Visual arts

The Watzmann by Caspar David Friedrich , around 1824–1825

In the 19th century in particular, several painters such as August Leu , Johann Matthias Ranftl , Julius Lange , Heinrich Reinhold and Ludwig Richter made the Watzmann the motif of their pictures. One of the most famous works on this is by Caspar David Friedrich ( Der Watzmann ). But contemporary artists are also grappling with the mountain, which has become a landmark of Berchtesgaden, with a lot of advertising.


The Watzmann saga was revisited several times, including by Ludwig Bechstein .

Ludwig Ganghofer used motifs from the Watzmann saga for his novel Die Martinsklause in order to connect them with the historically documented first settlement of Berchtesgaden by Augustinian canons at the beginning of the 12th century.

From 1982 to 1985 he gave its name to the Austrian satirical magazine Watzmann, published by the cartoonist Helmut Vogl .


Der Watzmann ruft is the title of the 1974 concept album (the authors call it "Rustical", derived from musical and rustic) by Wolfgang Ambros , Manfred diving and Joesi Prokopetz , which was later turned into a musical .

The Watzmann is part of the official logo of the Berchtesgadener Land district . He is also the logo of the administration union tourism region Berchtesgaden-Königssee and the Berchtesgaden Tourismus GmbH . The Bergader private cheese dairy registered Watzmann as a trademark for its products in 1968 . The Watzmann also adorns the packs of Berchtesgadener Land Milch . In addition, numerous other trademarks have rights to the Watzmann.

In addition to companies from the region, others also use the well-known mountain as a symbol without any reference to the Berchtesgadener Land.


Web links

Commons : Watzmann  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Watzmannstock  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Watzmannstock  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Bavarian Glaciers in Climate Change - a Status Report. Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Health, Munich 2012, pp. 15, 25 ( PDF )
  2. Bavarian Glaciers in Climate Change - a Status Report. Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Health, Munich 2012, p. 21 ( PDF )
  3. ^ Bavarian State Office for the Environment, Geotop Watzmann-Gletscher (accessed on October 19, 2017).
  4. a b Bavarian State Office for the Environment, Geotop Eiskapelle W von St. Bartholomä (accessed on October 19, 2017).
  5. Peterlin-Neumaier: A jubilee also of Göll. In: Berchtesgaden National Park , 6, 2002/2, p. 24.
  6. "Once hell and back" at the Watzmann: Palzer recovers record in fabulous time , bgland24.de (accessed on June 27, 2020)
  7. See: Ludwig Sinek:  Of the three highest rock faces in the Eastern Alps. In:  Journal of the German Alpine Association / Journal of the German and (the) Austrian Alpine Association , year 1922, (Volume LIII), pp. 74–90. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / oav.
  8. see Ludwig Distel, in: VIII. Annual Report of the Academic Alpine Association Munich , p. 83
  9. ^ Watzmann east wall with ice chapel (accessed on October 20, 2013)
  10. Information sheet on the Watzmann east face and ice chapel of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment (pdf)
  11. 100th fatality in the Watzmann east face. Homepage of Bergwacht Berchtesgaden, July 10, 2010, archived from the original on October 25, 2010 ; accessed on September 14, 2015 .
  12. a b c Berchtesgadener Anzeiger from September 5, 2015: Watzmann extreme
  13. Compare: von Frerichs: Der Watzmann , pp. 319–321. (There are also route sketches to the west face climbs).
  14. Alois Igelspacher: Kleiner Watzmann and Mooslahnerkopf: climbing tour over the Watzmannfrau. Retrieved May 12, 2019 .
  15. Bernhard Kühnhauser: Alpine Club Guide Berchtesgaden Alps with Hochkönig . 20th edition. Bergverlag Rother , Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-7633-1127-9 , pp. 506 .
  16. a b Topographic map 1: 25,000 , location map 1: 10,000 in the BayernAtlas of the State Office for Digitization, Broadband and Surveying Bavaria
  17. sueddeutsche.de, accessed on September 13, 2011
  18. sueddeutsche.de, accessed on September 13, 2011
  19. Grünstein via ferrata with Var. Isidor , bergstieg.at, accessed on December 11, 2018
  20. berchtesgadener-land.com, accessed on August 16, 2012
  21. ^ Wolfgang Pusch: Watzmann . 1st edition. Rother, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-7633-7052-8 , pp. 8, 30-35 .
  22. ^ A b Ludwig Bechstein: King Watzmann . In: Legends and stories from German districts . 3. Edition. Loewes Verlag ( available online from the Gutenberg-DE project ).
  23. ^ Christian Holzner: Der Watzmann: Exhibition in Berchtesgaden ( Memento from February 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ); a contribution on the occasion of the anniversary year "Berchtesgaden 200 years of Bavarian" about a group exhibition of contemporary visual artists of the region in the "Galerie Ganghof" for the regional television Upper Bavaria on June 25, 2010
  24. www.lra-bgl.de official homepage of the district of Berchtesgadener Land , accessed on April 20, 2017.
  25. www.berchtesgaden.com official website of the Berchtesgaden-Königssee Tourist Region Association , accessed on April 20, 2017.
  26. www.berchtesgadener-land.com official homepage of Berchtesgadener Land Tourismus GmbH , accessed on April 20, 2017.
  27. tmdb.eu trademark search , accessed on December 11, 2018.
  28. Danish Watzmann milk from the Allgäu , January 20, 2017 at www.berchtesgadener-anzeiger.de, accessed on April 20, 2017.
  29. tmdb.eu trademark search , accessed on April 20, 2017.
  30. Watzmann-Klau, the second: Now the Ösis! , February 11, 2015 at www.bgland24.de, accessed on April 20, 2017.
  31. Danish Watzmann milk from the Allgäu , January 20, 2017 at www.berchtesgadener-anzeiger.de, accessed on April 20, 2017.
  32. Table of contents online (PDF) .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 12, 2005 .