Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The way-marked path to Birkkarspitze Peak starts right next to Karwendelhaus Lodge.
This trail starts off very steep and you’ll make your way around and up the cliffs assisted by a fixed anchoring system of cables.
The rugged terrain leads through dwarf pines and avalanche barriers.
The next stage of the trail is not as steep as the previous.
It leads to the southeast towards Schlauchkar Cirque that seems to be never-ending.
You will pass a trail that branches off towards Hochalmkreuz Cross (to the left) and another fork that leads to Brendelsteig Path (to the right).
Do not change directions here and continue the path uphill through the cirque.
This is a demanding trail that takes you through rough, rugged terrain dotted by rock cairns.
The path continues upward at a character-building grade with the last section towards Schlauchkarsattel Saddleback leading to the southwest.
At this stage you usually have to cross a (frequently very hard) snowfield.
The best thing to do is to follow the footsteps.
From Schlauchkarsattel Saddleback (elev.
2,639m), walk past Birkkar Refuge and climb along the western ridge on a demanding trail that is assisted by a fixed anchoring system of cables.
You will then reach the summit of 2,749-metre Birkkarspitze with its cross.
From the top, retrace your steps to Schlauchkarsattel Saddleback and continue downhill on the southern side of the mountain.
This steep descent towards Western Birkkar Cirque has fixed cables as well.
There is a well-maintained – partly very steep – path leading through the cirque that takes you through talus.
Walk down to Birkkarbach Creek and follow the left bank of the creek downstream, straight ahead into Hinterautal Valley until you reach the forest road.
Walking along the valley floor, follow signage to “Kastenalm” and/or “Hallerangerhaus”.
You will pass Kastenalm Alpine Pasture Hut and Kasten Hunting Lodge to your right.
Trailside Eateries: Kastenalm Alpine Pasture Hut, Hallerangeralm Alpine Pasture Hut.
This section is followed by a steep ascent through thinning forest overlooking Lafatscherbach Brook.
You will then reach a high valley which is an even path leading gently uphill parallel to Lafatscherbach Brook.
Having passed the hunting lodge, the trail will become steeper, leading through the Alpine meadows of Lafatscher-Niederleger and past the rustic Alpine pasture hut.
Walk along the meadows and take the right fork towards “Hallerangerhaus” (left: Hallerangeralm – either is in a walking distance of 10 minutes).
After this last climb you have reached the destination end of this walk, Hallerangerhaus Lodge at an elevation of 1,768 metres, a popular base for mountaineers amid the rugged mountains of Karwendel Alpine Park.