Ascent of Birkkarspitze on 2014-07-16

Climber: Lee Newton

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:9019 ft / 2748 m

Ascent Trip Report

On a family holiday to Seefeld im Tirol, I borrowed a (crap) bike from the hotel where we stayed and drove the short distance to Scharnitz early, to start before the heat of the day took hold. In Scharnitz turn right (signed Karwendeltaler) just before a bridge in the main road and drive through the village to the parking area beisde the beuatiful river Isar. An all day parking ticket from the meter cost 6 Euros (coins only) in 2014. It is possible to go a short distance further to a where I also saw a signpost "walkers car park" but you don't gain much. Struggling aginst the heavy and uncomfortable bike, I slowly cycled 12km to a junction of paths. A signpost there indicated Karwendelhaus, the normal starting point for the northern approach to the Birkkarspitze so it was clear I had the right path. I had gained net 230m altitude including one stretch of descent and reascent leaving 1550m to the summit, and it was now 07.30. Hiding the accursed bike in the bushes, I started off gladly on foot up the path. The approach was at times steep, at times not so steep, but kept gaining height until at about 2200m I entered the Westliche Birkkar (west birch corrie). Here the character of the route changes dramatically, now on rock and scree instead of a real path, with big cliffs all around. The route continues without difficulty however, gaining height on a rising traverse before going more steeply up some scree to the bottom of a broken rocky slope. This has been fitted (in 2012) with cables which are not so much needed due to the technical dificulty of the moves but more due to the increbile brittleness and unreliability of the rock. I doubt I have ever pulled and broken so many holds with so little force in my entire hiking career. Suddenly it was over, and I arrived at the col a few meters from the Birkkarhutte (2635m), a little bivi hut on the ridge. To reach the summit from here required only 10 minutes, with a bit more scrambling. Again there is cable at any remotely steep bit. The descent by the same route was very long in the heat of the day, and the bike still needed unexpected amounts of effort to go along the flat bits between the downhills. I was pretty tired when I got back and a bit disappointed with the crappy rock, mentally wiping a few nearby peaks off of my to do list on the way.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The final summit slopes of the Birkkarspitze are steep and loose (2014-07-16). Photo by Lee Newton.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6297 ft / 1919 m
    Extra Gain:230 ft / 70 m
    Round-Trip Distance:23.6 mi / 38 km
    Route:Hinterautal and Adlerweg
    Trailhead:Scharnitz  3182 ft / 969 m
    Gear Used:
Bicycle, Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes

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