Zugspitze
Overview
The Zugspitze, at 2,962 metres above sea level
Normalhöhennull
Normalhöhennull or NHN is a standard reference level, the equivalent of sea level, used in Germany to measure height....

, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It lies south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, and the border between Germany and Austria runs over its western summit. South of the mountain is the Zugspitzplatt, a high karst
KARST
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

 plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 with numerous caves. On the flanks of the Zugspitze are three glaciers, including the two largest in Germany: the Northern Schneeferner with an area of 30.7 hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

s and the Höllentalferner
Höllentalferner
The Höllentalferner is a glacier in the western Wetterstein Mountains. It is a cirque glacier that covers the upper part of the Höllental valley and its location in a rocky bowl between the Riffelwandspitzen and Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, means that it is well-protected from direct...

 with an area of 24.7 hectares.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Zugspitze, at 2,962 metres above sea level
Normalhöhennull
Normalhöhennull or NHN is a standard reference level, the equivalent of sea level, used in Germany to measure height....

, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It lies south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, and the border between Germany and Austria runs over its western summit. South of the mountain is the Zugspitzplatt, a high karst
KARST
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

 plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 with numerous caves. On the flanks of the Zugspitze are three glaciers, including the two largest in Germany: the Northern Schneeferner with an area of 30.7 hectare
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

s and the Höllentalferner
Höllentalferner
The Höllentalferner is a glacier in the western Wetterstein Mountains. It is a cirque glacier that covers the upper part of the Höllental valley and its location in a rocky bowl between the Riffelwandspitzen and Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, means that it is well-protected from direct...

 with an area of 24.7 hectares. The third is the Southern Schneeferner which covers 8.4 hectares.

The Zugspitze was first conquered on 27 August 1820 by Josef Naus
Josef Naus
Josef Naus was an officer and surveying technician, known for leading the first ascent of Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze. Variations of his name are Karl Naus or Joseph Naus.- Life and career :...

, his survey assistant, Maier, and mountain guide
Mountain guide
Mountain guides are specially trained and experienced mountaineers and professionals who are generally certified by an association. They are considered experts in mountaineering.-Skills:Their skills usually include climbing, skiing and hiking...

, Johann Georg Tauschl. Today there are three normal routes to the summit: one from the Höllental valley to the northeast; another out of the Reintal
Reintal (Wetterstein)
The Reintal is the name given to the upper and lower valleys of the River Partnach between the Zugspitzplatt plateau and the Partnachklamm gorge...

 valley to the southeast; and the third from the west over the Austrian Cirque (Österreichische Schneekar). One of the best known ridge routes in the Eastern Alps
Eastern Alps
Eastern Alps is the name given to the eastern half of the Alps, usually defined as the area east of the Splügen Pass in eastern Switzerland. North of the Splügen Pass, the Posterior Rhine forms the border, and south of the pass, the Liro river and Lake Como form the boundary line.-Geography:The...

 runs along the knife-edged Jubilee Ridge (Jubiläumsgrat
Jubiläumsgrat
The Jubiläumsgrat or Jubiläumsweg , also nicknamed Jubi in climbing circles, is the name given to the climbing route along the arête between the Zugspitze and the Hochblassen...

) to the summit, linking the Zugspitze, the Hochblassen
Hochblassen
The Hochblassen is a mountain high, located in the Wetterstein in the German state of Bavaria. In addition to the main summit, it has a sub-peak, the so-called Signalgipfel which is high...

 and the Alpspitze
Alpspitze
Alpspitze is a mountain of Bavaria, Germany. At its base is the 'AlpspiX Viewing Platform', 2 curved metal walkways reaching out 13 metres over a cliff, crossing over each other, making the shape of on X.-External Links:*...

. For mountaineers there is plenty of accommodation in the vicinity. On the western summit of the Zugspitze itself is the Münchner Haus
Münchner Haus
The Münchner Haus on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, is an Alpine Club hut belongig to the Munich Section of the German Alpine Club ....

 and on the western slopes is the Wiener-Neustädter Hut
Wiener-Neustädter Hut
The Wiener-Neustädter Hut is an Alpine hut belonging to the Austrian Tourist Club on the edge of the Austrian Schneekar in the west face of the Zugspitze at 2,213 metres above sea level...

.

Three cable cars run to the top of the Zugspitze. The first, the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, was built in 1926 and terminated on an arête below the summit before the terminus was moved to the actual summit in 1991. A rack railway
Rack railway
A rack-and-pinion railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail...

, the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway
Bavarian Zugspitze Railway
The Bavarian Zugspitze Railway is one of four rack railways still working in Germany, along with the Wendelstein Railway, the Drachenfels Railway and the Stuttgart Rack Railway...

, runs inside the northern flank of the mountain and ends on the Zugspitzplatt, from where a second cable car takes passengers to the top. The rack railway and the Eibsee Cable Car, the third cableway, transport an average of 500,000 people to the summit each year. In winter, nine ski lift
Ski lift
The term ski lift generally refers to any transport device that carries skiers up a hill. A ski lift may fall into one of the following three main classes:-Lift systems and networks:...

s cover the ski area on the Zugspitzplatt. The weather station, opened in 1900, and the research station in the Schneefernerhaus
Schneefernerhaus
The Schneefernerhaus is a former hotel in the Alps, that is now used as an environmental research station. It lies immediately below the summit of the Zugspitze at a height of 2,650 m and was opened on 20 June 1931. It used to house the top station of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway as well as a...

 are mainly used to conduct climate research.

Geography

The Zugspitze belongs to the Wetterstein
Wetterstein
The Wetterstein, is a mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps. It is a compact range between Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, Seefeld in Tirol and Ehrwald; partially in Bavaria, Germany and partially in Tyrol, Austria...

 range of the Northern Limestone Alps
Northern Limestone Alps
The Northern Limestone Alps are the ranges of the Eastern Alps north of the Central Eastern Alps located in Austria and the adjacent Bavarian lands of southeastern Germany. The distinction from the latter group, where the higher peaks are located, is based on differences in geological composition...

.

The border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

 between Germany and Austria goes right over the mountain. There used to be a border checkpoint at the summit. But since Germany and Austria are now both part of the Schengen zone, the border crossing is no longer manned.

The exact height of the Zugspitze was a matter of debate for quite a while. Given figures ranged from 2690–2970 m (8,825.5–9,744.1 ft), but it is now generally accepted that the peak is 2962 m (9,717.8 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 as a result of a survey carried out by the Bavarian State Survey Office. The lounge at the new café is named "2962" for this reason.

Location and surrounding area

At 2962 metres (9,717.8 ft) (eastern peak) the Zugspitze is the highest mountain of the Zugspitze massif. This height is referenced to the Amsterdam Gauge and is given by the Bavarian State Office for Survey and Geoinformation
Bavarian State Office for Survey and Geoinformation
The Bavarian State Office for Survey and Geoinformation or LVG is the name of the new division of the Bavarian Department of Survey, Information and Communication Technology within the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance formed on 1 August 2005 as part of the administrative reform in Bavaria...

. The same height is recorded against the Trieste Gauge
Metres above the Adriatic
Metres above the Adriatic is an elevation reference system used in Austria and some other European countries based on the average water level of the Adriatic Sea at the Molo Sartorio in Triest harbour...

 used in Austria, which is 27 cm lower. Originally the Zugspitze had three peaks
Summit (topography)
In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a local maximum in elevation...

: the east, middle and west summits (Ost-, Mittel- and Westgipfel). The only one that has remained in its original form is the east summit, which is also the only one that lies entirely on German territory. The middle summit fell victim to one of the cable car summit stations in 1930. In 1938 the west summit was blown up to create a building site for a planned flight control room for the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

. This was never built however. Originally the height of the west summit was given as 2964 m (9,724.4 ft).

The Zugspitze rises eleven kilometres southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

 and just under six kilometres east of Ehrwald
Ehrwald
Ehrwald is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.Ehrwald lies at the southern base of the Zugspitze , Germany's highest mountain, but which is shared with Austria. The town is connected to the Zugspitze with the Tyrolean Aerial Tramway .-References:...

. The border between Germany and Austria runs over the west summit; thus the Zugspitze massif belongs to the German state of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 and the Austrian state of Tyrol. The municipalities responsible for it are Grainau
Grainau
Grainau is a municipality in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bavaria, Germany. It is located at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain, the tallest mountain in Germany in the sub-mountain range of the Wetterstein Alps which is a branch off the main mountain range it is connected to, the...

 and Ehrwald
Ehrwald
Ehrwald is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.Ehrwald lies at the southern base of the Zugspitze , Germany's highest mountain, but which is shared with Austria. The town is connected to the Zugspitze with the Tyrolean Aerial Tramway .-References:...

. To the west the Zugspitze massif drops into the valley of the River Loisach
Loisach
The Loisach is a river that flows through Tyrol, Austria and Bavaria, Germany. Its name is Celtic in origin, from Proto-Celtic *lawo and *iskā, both of which mean "water."...

, which flows around the massif towards the northeast in a curve whilst, in the east, the streams of Hammersbach and Partnach
Partnach
The Partnach is a 16.5 km long Bavarian mountain river. It rises at a height of on the Zugspitze Massif. The Partnach is fed by meltwaters from the Schneeferner glacier some 1100 m higher up. The glacier’s meltwaters seep into the karsty bedrock and reach the surface again near the source of the...

 have their source. To the south the Gaistal valley and its river, the Leutascher Ache
Leutascher Ache
The Leutascher Ache is a left tributary of the River Isar in Austria.It originates in the Tyrolean valley of Gaistal as a tailwater of the Igelsee, flows between the Wetterstein range and the Mieming Mountains, swings northeast near Leutasch, runs through the Leutaschtal, a high valley, and...

, separate the Wetterstein Mountains from the Mieming Chain. To the north at the foot of the Zugspitze is the lake of Eibsee
Eibsee
Eibsee is a lake in Bavaria, Germany, 9km southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and roughly 100km southwest of Munich. At an elevation of 973.28 m, its surface area is 177.4 ha...

. The next highest mountain in the area is the Acherkogel
Acherkogel
The Acherkogel is a mountain in the Austrian Alps with a high summit. It is the northernmost three-thousander in the state of Tyrol. It dominates the village of Oetz in the lower valley of the River Ötz, where high rock faces rise to the northwest and southwest...

 (3008 m or 9,868.8 ft) in the Stubai Alps
Stubai Alps
The Stubai Alps is a mountain range in the Central Eastern Alps of Europe. It is named after the Stubaital valley to its east. It is located southwest of Innsbruck, Austria, and several summits of the range form part of Austria's border with Italy...

, which gives the Zugspitze an topographic isolation
Topographic isolation
The topographic isolation of a summit is the minimum horizontal distance to the nearest point of higher elevation. Topographic isolation represents a radius of dominance in which the summit is the highest point. Topographic isolation can be calculated for small hills and islands as well as for...

 value of 24.6 kilometres. The reference point for the prominence is the Parseierspitze
Parseierspitze
Parseierspitze is, at 3,036 metres tall, the highest mountain of the Northern Limestone Alps and the only one that exceeds the 3,000 m mark. The peak consists of Radiolarite rocks preventing it from erosion....

 (3036 m or 9,960.6 ft). In order to climb it from the Zugspitze, a descent to the Fern Pass
Fern Pass
- Geography :Fern Pass is a mountain pass in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria. It is located between the Lechtal Alps on the west and the Mieming Mountains on the east. The highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze is only 13.5 km away to the northeast...

 (1216 m or 3,989.5 ft) is required, so that the prominence is 1746 m (5,728.3 ft).

Zugspitze Massif

The massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

 of the Zugspitze has several other peaks. To the south the Zugspitzplatt is surrounded in an arc by the Zugspitzeck (2820 m or 9,252 ft) and Schneefernerkopf
Schneefernerkopf
The Schneefernerkopf is a high peak in the Zugspitze massif in the Alps. It lies at the western end of the Wetterstein chain in the Alps on the border between the German state of Bavaria and the Austrian state of Tyrol...

 (2874 m or 9,429.1 ft), the Wetterspitzen
Wetterspitzen
The Wetterspitzen are three of the rocky peaks on a mountain ridge in the Wetterstein mountains in the central part of the Eastern Alps in Germany. The lie two kilometres, as the crow flies, southwest of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, on the border between the Austrian province of Tyrol and...

 (2747 m or 9,012.5 ft), the Wetterwandeck
Wetterwandeck
The Wetterwandeck is a summit, high, in the Wetterstein mountains on the Austro-German border. It is located south of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, above the Southern Schneeferner in the ridge which borders the Zugspitzplatt to the south....

 (2698 m or 8,851.7 ft), the Plattspitzen
Plattspitzen
The Plattspitzen is a 2,680 metre high mountain in the Wetterstein Mountains on the border between Germany and Austria. It is a very striking mountain and the southern companion of the Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, located at the opposite end of the ledge known as the Plattumrahmung...

 (2679 m or 8,789.4 ft) and the Gatterlköpfen (2490 m or 8,169.3 ft). The massif ends int the Gatterl (2024 m or 6,640.4 ft), a wind gap between it and the Hochwanner
Hochwanner
At , the Hochwanner is the second highest mountain in Germany after the Zugspitze...

. Running eastwards away from the Zugspitze is the famous Jubilee Ridge or Jubiläumsgrat over the Höllentalspitzen
Höllentalspitzen
The Höllentalspitzen are three peaks in the Wetterstein Mountains near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany. They rise from the ridge of Blassenkamm which runs eastwards from Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, and separate the Hölle Valley to the north from the Reintal Valley to the south...

 towards the Alpspitze
Alpspitze
Alpspitze is a mountain of Bavaria, Germany. At its base is the 'AlpspiX Viewing Platform', 2 curved metal walkways reaching out 13 metres over a cliff, crossing over each other, making the shape of on X.-External Links:*...

 and Hochblassen
Hochblassen
The Hochblassen is a mountain high, located in the Wetterstein in the German state of Bavaria. In addition to the main summit, it has a sub-peak, the so-called Signalgipfel which is high...

. The short crest of the Riffelwandkamm runs northeast over the summits of the Riffelwandspitzen
Riffelwandspitzen
The Riffelwandspitzen are two adjacent mountains in the Wetterstein range in Bavaria. The summit of the Great Riffelwandspitze reaches a heigh of , the summit of the Little Riffelwandspitze .- Situation :...

 (2626 m or 8,615.5 ft) and the Riffelköpfe (2459 m or 8,067.6 ft), to the Riffel wind gap (Riffelscharte, 2161 m or 7,089.9 ft). From here the ridge of the Waxensteinkamm stretches away over the Riffelspitzen
Riffelspitzen
The Riffelspitzen are two neighbouring peaks in the Wetterstein range in Bavaria. The Southern Riffelspitze is high; the Northern Riffelspitze attains .- Situation :...

 to the Waxenstein
Waxenstein
Waxenstein is a mountain of Bavaria, Germany....

.

Zugspitzplatt

The Platt or Zugspitzplatt is a plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 below the summit of the Zugspitze to the south and southeast which lies at a height of between 2000 and 2650 m (6,561.7 and 8,694.2 ft). It forms the head of the Reintal
Reintal (Wetterstein)
The Reintal is the name given to the upper and lower valleys of the River Partnach between the Zugspitzplatt plateau and the Partnachklamm gorge...

 valley and has been shaped by a combination of weathering
Weathering
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals as well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth's atmosphere, biota and waters...

, karst
KARST
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

ification and glaciation. The area contains roches moutonnées, dolines
Sinkhole
A sinkhole, also known as a sink, shake hole, swallow hole, swallet, doline or cenote, is a natural depression or hole in the Earth's surface caused by karst processes — the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffosion processes for example in sandstone...

 and limestone pavement
Limestone pavement
A limestone pavement is a natural karst landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone that resembles an artificial pavement. The term is mainly used in the UK where many of these landforms have developed distinctive surface patterning resembling block of paving...

s as a consequence of the ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

s. In addition moraine
Moraine
A moraine is any glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris which can occur in currently glaciated and formerly glaciated regions, such as those areas acted upon by a past glacial maximum. This debris may have been plucked off a valley floor as a glacier advanced or it may have...

s have been left behind by various glacial period
Glacial period
A glacial period is an interval of time within an ice age that is marked by colder temperatures and glacier advances. Interglacials, on the other hand, are periods of warmer climate within an ice age...

s. The Platt was completely covered by a glacier for the last time at the beginning of the 19th century. Today 52% of it consists of scree
Scree
Scree, also called talus, is a term given to an accumulation of broken rock fragments at the base of crags, mountain cliffs, or valley shoulders. Landforms associated with these materials are sometimes called scree slopes or talus piles...

, 32% of bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

 and 16% of vegetation-covered soils, especially in the middle and lower areas.

Climate

From a climatic perspective the Zugspitze lies in the temperate zone and its prevailing winds are Westerlies
Westerlies
The Westerlies, anti-trades, or Prevailing Westerlies, are the prevailing winds in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, blowing from the high pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles. These prevailing winds blow from the west to the east, and steer extratropical...

. As the first high orographic obstacle to these Westerlies in the Alps, the Zugspitze is particular exposed to the weather. It is effectively the north barrier of the Alps (Nordstau der Alpen), against which moist air masses pile up and release heavy precipitation. At the same time the Zugspitze acts as protective barrier for parts of the Alps to the south. By contrast, Föhn weather conditions push in the other direction against the massif, affecting the region for about 60 days per year. These warm, dry air masses stream from south to north and can result in unusually high temperatures in winter. Nevertheless frost dominates the picture on the Zugspitze with an average of 310 days per year. The nearest place with comparable values is the island of Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the western-most bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea...

 in the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

.

For the decades from 1961 to 1990 - designated by the World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

 as the "normal period" - the average annual precipitation on the Zugspitze was 2,003.1 mm; the wettest month being April with 199 mm, and the driest, October with 108.8 mm. By comparison the values for 2009 were 2,070.8 mm, the wettest month being March with 326.2 mm and the driest, January, with 56.4 mm. The average temperature in the normal period was -4.8 Celsius, with July and August being the warmest at 2.2 °C and February, the coldest, with -11.4 °C. By comparison the average temperature in 2009 was -4.2 °C, the warmest month was August at 5.3 °C and the coldest was February at -13.5 °C. The average sunshine during the normal period was 1,846.3 hours per year, the sunniest month being October with 188.8 hours and the darkest being December with 116.1 hours. In 2009 there were 1,836.3 hours of sunshine, the least occurring in February with just 95.4 hours and the most in April with 219 hours. In 2009, according to the weather survey by the German Met Office, the Zugspitze was the coldest place in Germany with a mean annual temperature of -4.2 °C.

The lowest measured temperature on the Zugspitze was -35.6 °C in 14 February 1940. The highest temperature occurred on 5 July 1957 when the thermometer reached 17.9 °C. A squall
Squall
A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed which is usually associated with active weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. Squalls refer to an increase in the sustained winds over a short time interval, as there may be higher gusts during a squall event...

 on 12 June 1985 registered 335 km/h, the highest measured wind speed on the Zugspitze. In April 1944 meteorologists recorded a snow depth of 8.3 metres.

Geology

All mountain-building strata consists of sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

s of the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the age of reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time...

 era, that were originally laid down on the seabed. The base of the mountain comprises muschelkalk
Muschelkalk
The Muschelkalk is a sequence of sedimentary rock strata in the geology of central and western Europe. It has a Middle Triassic age and forms the middle part of the Germanic Trias, that further consists of the Buntsandstein and Keuper...

 beds; its upper layers are made of Wetterstein limestone
Wetterstein limestone
Wetterstein limestone and Wetterstein dolomite are the most common names for a carbonate rock from the Middle Triassic epoch of the Ladinian stage, comparable to the German stage in which muschelkalk rock strata were formed....

. With steep rock walls up to 800 metres high, it is this Wetterstein limestone from the Upper Triassic
Triassic
The Triassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about 250 to 200 Mya . As the first period of the Mesozoic Era, the Triassic follows the Permian and is followed by the Jurassic. Both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events...

 that is mainly responsible for the rock faces, arêtes, pinnacles and the summit rocks of the mountain. Due to the frequent occurrence of marine coralline algea in the Wetterstein limestone it can be deduced that this rock was at one time formed in a lagoon. The colour of the rock varies between grey-while and light grey to speckled. In several places it contains lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 ore. These mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s were mined between 1827 and 1918 in the Höllental valley. The dark grey, almost horizontal and partly grass-covered layers of muschelkalk run from the foot of the Great Riffelwandspitze to the Ehrwalder Köpfe. From the appearance of the north face of the Zugspitze it can be seen that this massif originally consisted of two mountain ranges that were piled on top of one another.

Flora

The flora on the Zugspitze is not particularly diverse due to the soil conditions, nevertheless the vegetation, especially in the meadows of Schachen, the Tieferen Wies near Ehrwald, and in the valleys of Höllental, Gaistal and Leutaschtal is especially colourful.

The shaded and moist northern slopes of the massif like, for example, the Wettersteinwald, are some of the most species-rich environments on the Zugspitze. The Mountain Pine
Mountain Pine
Pinus mugo, the Mountain Pine or Mugo Pine, is a high-altitude European pine, found in the Pyrenees, Alps, Erzgebirge, Carpathians, northern Apennines and Balkan Peninsula mountains from 1,000 m to 2,200 m, occasionally as low as 200 m in the north of the range in Germany and Poland, and as high...

 grows at elevations of up to 1,800 metres. The woods lower down consist mainly of Spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 and Fir
Fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

, but Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle
Honeysuckles are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China; Europe, India and North America have only about 20 native species each...

, Woodruff, poisonous Herb Paris, Meadow-rue and Speedwell
Speedwell
- Places named Speedwell :* Speedwell, Bristol, in England* Speedwell Island, one of the Falkland Islands* Speedwell, New Jersey, an unincorporated community* Speedwell, Tennessee, an unincorporated community* Speedwell, Virginia, an unincorporated community...

also occur here. Dark Columbine, Alpine Clematis, Blue and Yellow Monkshood, Stemless carline thistle, False aster, Golden cinquefoil, Round-leaved saxifrage, Wall hawkweed, Alpine calamint and Alpine Forget-me-not flower in the less densely wooded places, whilst Cinquefoil, Sticky Sage, Butterbur
Butterbur
The plants commonly referred to as Butterbur are found in the daisy family Asteraceae in the genus Petasites. They are mostly quite robust plants with thick, creeping underground rhizomes and large Rhubarb-like leaves during the growing season...

, Alpenrose, Turk's cap lily and Fly Orchid
Fly Orchid
Ophrys insectifera, the Fly Orchid, is a species of orchid and the type species of the genus Ophrys. It is native to Europe and favors sites with alkaline soil. The name arises because it resembles a fly, being totally dependent on flies and bees for pollination...

 thrive on the rocky soils of the mountain forests. Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley
Convallaria majalis , commonly known as the lily-of-the-valley, is a poisonous woodland flowering plant native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia and Europe....

 and Daphne
Daphne (plant)
Daphne is a genus of between 50 and 95 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to Asia, Europe, and north Africa...

 also occur, especially in the Höllental, in Grainau and by the Eibsee.

To the south the scene changes to Larch
Larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...

 (mainly in the meadow of Ehrwalder Alm and the valleys of Gaistal and Leutaschtal) and pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 forests and into mixed woods of Beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

 and Sycamore
Sycamore
Sycamore is a name which is applied at various times and places to three very different types of trees, but with somewhat similar leaf forms....

. Here too, Mountain Pine grows at the higher elevations of over 2,000 metres.

Relatively rare in the entire Zugspitze area are trees like the Lime, Birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, Rowan
Rowan
The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies...

, Juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

 and Yew
Taxus baccata
Taxus baccata is a conifer native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may be now known as the English yew, or European yew.-Description:It is a small-...

. The most varied species of moss
Moss
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...

, that often completely cover limestone rocks in the open, occur in great numbers.

Bilberry
Bilberry
Bilberry is any of several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium , bearing edible berries. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., but there are several other closely related species....

, Cranberry
Cranberry
Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genus in its own right...

 and Cowberry are restricted to dry places and Lady's Slipper Orchid occurs in sheltered spots. Below the Waxenstein
Waxenstein
Waxenstein is a mountain of Bavaria, Germany....

 are fields with raspberries
Raspberries
Raspberry may refer to:* Raspberry, various fruit-bearing plants in the genus Rubus, especially two commercially grown species, the red-fruited Rubus idaeus and the black-fruited Rubus occidentalis...

 and occasionally wild strawberries too. The Alpine poppy and Purple mountain saxifrage both thrive up to a very great height. On the scree slops there are Penny-cress
Thlaspi
Thlaspi is a genus of herbs of temperate regions of the Eurasian continent. They occur in Central and South Europe, South-West Asia and 2 species are endemic to China.-Species:*Thlaspi alliaceum - Garlic Penny-cress...

 and Mouse-ear chickweed as well as Mountain avens, Alpine toadflax, Mint
Lamiaceae
The mints, taxonomically known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae, are a family of flowering plants. They have traditionally been considered closely related to Verbenaceae, but in the 1990s, phylogenetic studies suggested that many genera classified in Verbenaceae belong instead in Lamiaceae...

 and Musky Saxifrage or Cloth of Gold. Following snowmelt Dark stonecrop
Sedum
Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops. It contains around 400 species of leaf succulents that are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, varying from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have...

 and Snow gentian
Snow Gentian
Gentiana nivalis is a species of the genus Gentiana. It grows to a height of 3-15 centimetres.It is the county flower of Perthshire in the United Kingdom....

 are the first to appear, their seeds beginning to germinate as early as August. And well-known Alpine flowers like the Edelweiss
Edelweiss
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known European mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.-Names:The common name comes from German edel, meaning "noble", and weiß "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek...

, Gentians and, more rarely, Cyclamen
Cyclamen
Cyclamen is a genus of 23 species of perennials growing from tubers, valued for their flowers with upswept petals and variably patterned leaves...

 flower on the Zugspitze.

Fauna

The rocks around the Zugspitze are a habitat for Chamois
Chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

 and Marmot
Marmot
The marmots are a genus, Marmota, of squirrels. There are 14 species in this genus.Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Eurasian steppes, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in...

s are widespread on the southern side of the massif. At the summit there are frequently Alpine Chough
Alpine Chough
The Alpine Chough , or Yellow-billed Chough, is a bird in the crow family, one of only two species in the genus Pyrrhocorax. Its two subspecies breed in high mountains from Spain east through southern Europe and North Africa to Central Asia, India and China, and it may nest at a higher altitude...

s, drawn there by people feeding them. Somewhat lower down the mountain there are Mountain Hare
Mountain Hare
The Mountain Hare , also known as Blue Hare, Tundra Hare, Variable Hare, White Hare, Alpine Hare and Irish Hare, is a hare, which is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats. It is distributed from Fennoscandia to eastern Siberia; in addition there are isolated populations in the Alps,...

 and the Hazel Dormouse
Hazel Dormouse
The Hazel Dormouse or Common Dormouse is a small mammal and the only living species in the genus Muscardinus....

. Alpine birds occurring on the Zugspitze include the Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

, Rock Ptarmigan, Snow Finch, Alpine Accentor
Alpine Accentor
The Alpine Accentor, Prunella collaris, is a small passerine bird found throughout the mountains of southern temperate Europe and Asia at heights above 2000 m. It is mainly resident, wintering more widely at lower latitudes, but some birds wander as rare vagrants as far as Great Britain.It is...

 and Brambling
Brambling
The Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae.- Etymology :The common English name is probably derived from the German "brâma", meaning bramble or a thorny bush. It has also been called the Cock o' the North and the Mountain Finch.- Description...

. The Crag Martin which has given its name to the Schwalbenwand ("Swallows' Wall") at Kreuzeck is frequently encountered. The basins of Mittenwald and Seefeld, as well as the Fern Pass are on bird migration routes.

The Viviparous lizard
Viviparous lizard
The viviparous lizard or common lizard is a Eurasian lizard. It lives farther north than any other reptile species, and most populations are viviparous , rather than laying eggs as most other lizards do.-Identification:The length of the body is less than...

 inhabits rocky terrain, as does the black Alpine Salamander
Alpine Salamander
The Alpine Salamander is a shiny black salamander. It is found in the Central, Eastern and Dinaric Alps, at altitudes above 700 meters. The Western Alps are inhabited by a similar species Salamandra lanzai in only one small area. There are no differences in length between sexes and sex ratio...

 known locally as the Bergmandl, which can be seen after rain showers as one is climbing. Butterflies like Apollo
Apollo (butterfly)
The Apollo or Mountain Apollo , is a butterfly of the Papilionidae family.-Distribution and status:It is found on mountains in Europe usually above up to , preferring flowery meadows and mountain pastures...

, Alpine Perlmutter, Gossamer-winged butterfly
Lycaenidae
The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies...

, Geometer moth
Geometer moth
The geometer moths or Geometridae are a family of the order Lepidoptera...

, Ringlet
Erebia
Erebia is a Holarctic genus of brush-footed butterflies, family Nymphalidae. Most of the about 90–100 species are dark brown or black in color, with reddish brown to orange or more rarely yellowish wing blotches or bands...

 and Skipper
Skipper (butterfly)
A skipper or skipper butterfly is a butterfly of the family Hesperiidae. They are named after their quick, darting flight habits. There are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers and they occur worldwide, but with the greatest diversity in the Neotropical regions of Central and South...

 may be seen on the west and south sides of the Zugspitze massif, especially in July and August. The woods around the Zugspitze are home to Red Deer
Red Deer
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

, Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia...

, Weasel
Weasel
Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs....

, Capercaillie
Capercaillie
The Western Capercaillie , also known as the Wood Grouse, Heather Cock or Capercaillie , is the largest member of the grouse family, reaching over 100 cm in length and 6.7 kg in weight. The largest one ever recorded in captivity had a weight of 7.2 kg....

, Hazel Grouse
Hazel Grouse
The Hazel Grouse or Hazel Hen is one of the smaller members of the grouse family of birds. It is a sedentary species, breeding across northern Eurasia and central and eastern Europe in dense, damp, mixed coniferous woodland, preferably with some spruce.The nest is on the ground, and 3–6 eggs is...

 and Black Grouse
Black Grouse
The Black Grouse or Blackgame is a large bird in the grouse family. It is a sedentary species, breeding across northern Eurasia in moorland and bog areas near to woodland, mostly boreal...

. On the glaciers live glacier fleas (Desoria saltans) and water bears
Tardigrade
Tardigrades form the phylum Tardigrada, part of the superphylum Ecdysozoa. They are microscopic, water-dwelling, segmented animals with eight legs. Tardigrades were first described by Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773...

.

Glaciers

Three of the five German glaciers are found on the Zugspitze massif: the Höllentalferner
Höllentalferner
The Höllentalferner is a glacier in the western Wetterstein Mountains. It is a cirque glacier that covers the upper part of the Höllental valley and its location in a rocky bowl between the Riffelwandspitzen and Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, means that it is well-protected from direct...

 the Southern and Northern Schneeferner.

Höllentalferner

The Höllentalferner lies northeast of the Zugspitze in a cirque
Cirque
Cirque may refer to:* Cirque, a geological formation* Makhtesh, an erosional landform found in the Negev desert of Israel and Sinai of Egypt*Cirque , an album by Biosphere* Cirque Corporation, a company that makes touchpads...

 below the Jubilee Ridge (Jubiläumsgrat
Jubiläumsgrat
The Jubiläumsgrat or Jubiläumsweg , also nicknamed Jubi in climbing circles, is the name given to the climbing route along the arête between the Zugspitze and the Hochblassen...

) to the south and the Riffelwandspitzen
Riffelwandspitzen
The Riffelwandspitzen are two adjacent mountains in the Wetterstein range in Bavaria. The summit of the Great Riffelwandspitze reaches a heigh of , the summit of the Little Riffelwandspitze .- Situation :...

 peaks to the west and north. It has a northeast aspect
Aspect (geography)
In physical geography, aspect generally refers to the horizontal direction to which a mountain slope faces. For example, a slope on the eastern edge of the Rockies toward the Great Plains is described as having an easterly aspect...

. Its accumulation zone is formed by a depression
Depression (geology)
A depression in geology is a landform sunken or depressed below the surrounding area. Depressions may be formed by various mechanisms.Structural or tectonic related:...

, in which large quantities of avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

 snow collect. To the south the Jubiläumsgrat shields the glacier from direct sunshine. These conditions meant that the glacier only lost a relatively small area between 1981 and 2006. In recent times the Höllentalferner reached its greatest around 1820 with an area of 47 hectares. Thereafter its area reduced continually until the period between 1950 and 1981 when it grew again, by 3.1 hectares to 30.2 hectares. Since then the glacier has lost (as at 2006) an area of 5.5 hectares and now has an area of 24.7 hectares. In 2006 the glacier head was at 2,569 m and its lowest point at 2,203 metres.

Schneeferner

Northern Schneeferner

Southwest of the Zugspitze, between the Zugspitzeck and Schneefernerkopf
Schneefernerkopf
The Schneefernerkopf is a high peak in the Zugspitze massif in the Alps. It lies at the western end of the Wetterstein chain in the Alps on the border between the German state of Bavaria and the Austrian state of Tyrol...

, is the Northern Schneeferner which has an eastern aspect. With an area of 30.7 hectares (2006) it is the largest German glacier. Around 1820 the entire Zugspitzplatt was glaciated, but of this Platt Glacier (Plattgletscher) only the Northern and Southern Schneeferner remain. The reason for the relatively constant area of the Northern Schneeferner in recent years, despite the lack of shade, is the favourable terrain
Terrain
Terrain, or land relief, is the vertical and horizontal dimension of land surface. When relief is described underwater, the term bathymetry is used...

 that results in the glacier tending to grow or shrink in depth rather than area. In the recent past the glacier has also been artificially fed by the ski region operators, using piste tractors to heap large quantities of snow onto the glacier in order to extend the skiing season. At the beginning of the 1990s, ski slope operators began to cover the Northern Schneeferner in summer with artificial sheets in order to protect it from sunshine. The Northern Schneeferner reached its last high point in 1979, when its area grew to 40.9 hectares. By 2006 it had shrunk to 30.7 hectares. The glacier head then lay at 2,789 m and the foot at 2,558 metres.
Southern Schneeferner

The Southern Schneeferner is surrounded by the peaks of the Wetterspitzen
Wetterspitzen
The Wetterspitzen are three of the rocky peaks on a mountain ridge in the Wetterstein mountains in the central part of the Eastern Alps in Germany. The lie two kilometres, as the crow flies, southwest of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, on the border between the Austrian province of Tyrol and...

 and the Wetterwandeck
Wetterwandeck
The Wetterwandeck is a summit, high, in the Wetterstein mountains on the Austro-German border. It is located south of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, above the Southern Schneeferner in the ridge which borders the Zugspitzplatt to the south....

. It is also a remnant of the once great Platt Glacier. Today, the Southern Schneeferner extends up as far as the arête
Arete
Areté is the term meaning "virtue" or "excellence", from Greek ἈρετήArete may also be used:*as a given name of persons or things:**Queen Arete , a character in Homer's Odyssey.***197 Arete, an asteroid....

 and therefore has no protection from direct sunshine. It has also been divided into two basins by a ridge of rock that has appeared as the snow has receded. It is a matter of debate whether the Southern Schneeferner should still be classified as a glacier. The Southern Schneeferner also reached its last high point in 1979, when it covered an area of 31.7 hectares. This had shrunk by 2006 to just 8.4 hectares however. The highest point of the glacier lies at an elevation of 2,665 metres and the lowest at 2,520 metres.

Caves

Below the Zugspitzplatt chemical weathering processes have created a large number of cave
Cave
A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. The term applies to natural cavities some part of which is in total darkness. The word cave also includes smaller spaces like rock shelters, sea caves, and grottos.Speleology is the science of exploration and study...

s and abîme
Abîme
An abîme is the geographical term for a vertical shaft in karst terrain that may be very deep and usually opens into a network of subterranean passages.Reference:...

s in the Wetterstein limestone. In the 1930s the number of caves was estimated at 300. By 1955 62 caves were known to exist and by 1960 another 47 had been discovered. The first cave explorations here took place in 1931. Other, largest exploratory expeditions took place in 1935 and 1936 as well as between 1955 and 1968. During one expedition, in 1958, the Finch Shaft (Finkenschacht) was discovered. It is 131 metres deep, 260 metres long and has a watercourse. There is a theory that this watercourse could be a link to the source of the River Partnach
Partnach
The Partnach is a 16.5 km long Bavarian mountain river. It rises at a height of on the Zugspitze Massif. The Partnach is fed by meltwaters from the Schneeferner glacier some 1100 m higher up. The glacier’s meltwaters seep into the karsty bedrock and reach the surface again near the source of the...

.According to this theory there is a lake underneath the Zugspitzplatt that feeds the Partnach. Calculations show that the Platt produces 350 litres of water per second; the source of the Partnach however delivers at least 500 (and possibly up to several thousand litres). The difference is is put down to a cave lake that also supplies the Partnach.

Name

From the early 14th century, geographic names from the Wetterstein Mountains began to be recorded in treaties and on maps, and this trend intensified in the 15th century. In 1536 a border treaty dating to 1500 was refined in that its course was specified as running over a Schartten ("wind gap" or "col"). In the 17th century the reference to this landmark in the treaty was further clarified as "now known as the Zugspüz" (jetzt Zugspüz genant). The landmark referred to was a wind gap on the summit of the Zugspitze and is used time and again in other sources. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Scharte was a common name for the Zugspitze.

The Zugspitze was first mentioned by name in 1590. In a description of the border between the County of Werdenfels
County of Werdenfels
The County of Werdenfels in the present-day Werdenfelser Land in South Germany was a county that enjoyed imperial immediacy owned by the Bishopric of Freising....

 and Austria, it states that the same border runs "from the Zugspitz and over the Derle" (von dem Zugspitz und über den Derle") and continues to a bridge over the River Loisach
Loisach
The Loisach is a river that flows through Tyrol, Austria and Bavaria, Germany. Its name is Celtic in origin, from Proto-Celtic *lawo and *iskā, both of which mean "water."...

. Another border treaty in 1656 states: "The highest Wetterstein or Zugspitz" ("Der höchste Wetterstain oder Zugspitz"). There is also a map dating to the second half of the 18th century that shows "the Reintal
Reintal (Wetterstein)
The Reintal is the name given to the upper and lower valleys of the River Partnach between the Zugspitzplatt plateau and the Partnachklamm gorge...

 in the County of Werdenfels"
. It covers the Reintal valley from the Reintaler Hof to the Zugspitzplatt and shows prominent points in the surrounding area, details of tracks and roads and the use pasture use. This includes a track over the then much larger Schneeferner glacier to the summit region of the Zugspitze. However the map does not show any obvious route to the summit itself.

The name of the Zugspitze is probably derived from its Zugbahnen or avalanche paths. In winter avalanches sweep down from the upper slopes of the massif into the valley and leave behind characteristic avalanche remnants in the shape of rocks and scree.
Near the Eibsee
Eibsee
Eibsee is a lake in Bavaria, Germany, 9km southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and roughly 100km southwest of Munich. At an elevation of 973.28 m, its surface area is 177.4 ha...

 lake there are several plots of land with the same root: Zug, Zuggasse, Zugstick, Zugmösel or Zugwankel. Until the 19th century the name der Zugspitz was commonplace. It was described as die Zugspitze for the first time on a map printed in 1836.

Summit cross

Since 1851 there has been a summit cross
Summit cross
A summit cross is a cross on the summit of a mountain or hill that marks the top. Often there will be a "summit register" at the cross, either in a container or at least a weatherproof case....

 on the top of Zugspitze. The driving force behind the erection of a cross on the summit was the priest, Christoph Ott. He was a keen meteorologist and whilst observing conditions from the Hoher Peißenberg
Hoher Peißenberg
Hoher Peißenberg is a mountain of Bavaria, Germany....

 mountain he saw the Zugspitze in the distance and was exercised by the fact that "the greatest prince of the Bavarian mountains raised its head into the blue air towards heaven, bare and unadorned, waiting for the moment when patriotic fervour and courageous determination would see that his head too was crowned with dignity." As a result he organised an expedition from 11 to 13 August 1851 with the goal of erecting a summit cross on the Zugspitze. Twenty eight bearers were led through the gorge of the Partnachklamm and the Reintal
Reintal (Wetterstein)
The Reintal is the name given to the upper and lower valleys of the River Partnach between the Zugspitzplatt plateau and the Partnachklamm gorge...

 valley under the direction of forester, Karl Kiendl, up to the Zugspitze. The undertaking, which cost 610 Gulden
South German gulden
The Gulden was the currency of the states of southern Germany between 1754 and 1873. These states included Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Frankfurt and Hohenzollern....

 and 37 Kreuzer, was a success. As a result, a 28-piece, 14 foot high, gilded iron cross now stood on the West Summit. Ott himself did not climb the Zugspitze until 1854. After 37 years the cross had to be taken down after suffering numerous lightning strikes; its support brackets were also badly damaged. In the winter of 1881–1882 it was therefore brought down into the valley and repaired. On 25 August 1882 seven mountain guides and 15 bearers took the cross back to the top. Because an accommodation shed had been built on the West Summit, the team placed the cross on the East Summit. There is remained for about 111 years, until it was removed again on 18 August 1993. This time the damage was not only caused by the weather, but also by an ill-disciplined American soldier who had shot at the cross in 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Because the summit cross could no longer be repaired, a replica was made that was true to the original cross. After two months the rack railway carried the new cross on 12 October to the Zugspitzplatt, from where it was flown to the summit by helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

. The new cross has a height of 4.88 metres. It was renovated and regilded in 2009 for 15,000 euros and, since 22 April 2009, has stood once again on the East Summit.

History

The first recorded ascent to the summit was accomplished by a team of land surveyors on the 27th of August, 1820. The team was led by Lieutenant Josef Naus, who was accompanied by two men named Maier and G. Deutschl. However, local people had conquered the peak over 50 years earlier, according to a 1770 map discovered by the Alpenverein.

On 7 January 1882 the first successful winter assault on the Zugspitze was accomplished by F. Kilger, H. and J. Zametzer and H. Schwaiger.

Pilot, Frank Hailer, caused a stir on 19 March 1922, when he landed a plane with skids on the Schneeferner glacier. On 29 April 1927 Ernst Udet
Ernst Udet
Colonel General Ernst Udet was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war . His 62 victories were second only to Manfred von Richthofen, his commander in the Flying Circus...

 succeeded in taking off from the Schneeferner with a glider
Glider (sailplane)
A glider or sailplane is a type of glider aircraft used in the sport of gliding. Some gliders, known as motor gliders are used for gliding and soaring as well, but have engines which can, in some cases, be used for take-off or for extending a flight...

; he landed at Lermoos
Lermoos
Lermoos is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol. It consists of 2 places. Unterdorf and Oberdorf, which are separated from each other.Lermoos has a wide variety of shops including 2 supermarkets...

 after a 25 minute flight. The glider had been disassembled into individual parts and transported up the Zugspitze by cable car. In the winter of 1931/32, a post office was set up on the Zugspitze by the German Imperial Post Office or Reichspost
Reichspost
- Imperial Reichspost :* The Imperial Reichspost was the name of the postal service of the Holy Roman Empire, founded by Franz von Taxis in 1495...

. It still exists today in the Sonnalpin restaurant and has the postal address: 82475 Zugspitze. In 1931, four years after the first glider flight, the first balloon
Balloon (aircraft)
A balloon is a type of aircraft that remains aloft due to its buoyancy. A balloon travels by moving with the wind. It is distinct from an airship, which is a buoyant aircraft that can be propelled through the air in a controlled manner....

 took off from the Zugspitze

In April 1933, the mountain was occupied by of 24 storm troopers
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

, who hoisted a swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

 flag on top the tower on the weather station. A month later, SA and SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 deployed on the Schneeferner in the shape of a swastika. On 20 April 1945 the US Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 dropped bombs on the Zugspitze that destroyed the valley station of the Tyrolean Zugspitze Railway and the hotel on the ridge. After the war the Allies seized the railway and Schneefernerhaus.

Shortly after World War II the US military took over the Schneefernerhaus (as the hotel at the top was then called) for the exclusive use of US military and civilian employees. Room rates, including meals, were US $1 per day. Ski lessons were available, taught by Austrians and Germans, at a cost of US $0.25 per hour.

In 1948, the German Federal Post Office (Deutsche Bundespost
Deutsche Bundespost
The Deutsche Bundespost was created in 1947 as a successor to the Reichspost . Between 1947 and 1950 the enterprise was called Deutsche Post...

) began operating a microwave radio station
Microwave transmission
Microwave transmission refers to the technology of transmitting information or power by the use of radio waves whose wavelengths are conveniently measured in small numbers of centimeters; these are called microwaves. This part of the radio spectrum ranges across frequencies of roughly...

 at the summit. In September of that year, three artistes walked a steel tightrope stretched between the East and West Summits. Two members of the Traber family traversed the same route in 1953 on a tightrope on a motorcycle. Since 1953, an annual Gatterl Mass (Gatterlmesse) has been held on the Gatterl mountain to commemorate the four members of the Bavarian Border Police
Bavarian Border Police
The Bavarian Border Police is an historic police division within the Bavarian State Police . It was the third arm of the police force alongside the state police and the so-called 'readiness police' It existed from 1946 to 1998 and was responsible for the federal borders in Bavaria.In 1945 the...

 who died in an avalanced in 1952 as well as all those who have died on the Zugspitze.

In 1962 a fire destroyed the ridge hotel by the mountain station of the Tyrolean Zugspitze Railway. The 1976 Friuli earthquake
1976 Friuli earthquake
The 1976 Friuli earthquake took place in the Friuli region in northeast Italy on Thursday, May 6, 1976. Measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale, the quake, centered on the town of Gemona del Friuli, killed 989 people, 2400 injured and left 157,000 homeless. It is known in Italy as Terremoto del Friuli...

 was also felt particularly strongly on the Zugspitze: the duty meteorologist feared that the observation tower might collapse In 1981 a chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

 was founded on the Zugspitze, which was consecrated by the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Joseph Ratzinger, in October on the feast of Visitation. On 25 March, an automated teller machine
Automated teller machine
An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine, also known as a Cashpoint , cash machine or sometimes a hole in the wall in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public...

 was installed at the summit station; it has since been removed. In 1995, a 450 square metre exhibition area was opened at the summit, in which artists present their work for six months, before the exhibition is changed. In 1995, the border between Germany and Austria at the summit was opened.

Since 2000, the Zugspitze extreme mountain run has been held annually. In July 2008 there were repercussions in the media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 when, as the result of a sudden drop in temperature, two participants died of exhaustion and hypothermia At the end of August 2009 the Swiss, Freddy Nock, walked along a cable of the Zugspitze Glacier Cable Car
Zugspitze Glacier Cable Car
The Zugspitze Glacier Cable Car is a a 1,000 metre long cable car on the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. It was opened in 1992 and links the plateau of the Zugspitzplatt directly with the summit, 360 metres higher...

 from the Zugspitzplatt to the summit. He covered the 995 metre long, up to 56% steep route (which had a height difference of 348 metres) unsecured in 50 minutes.

First ascent

There are several theories about the first ascent of the Zugspitze. The chronological table on an 18th century map describes the route "along the path to the Zugspitze" ("ybers blath uf Zugspitze") and gives a realistic duration of 8.5 hours, so that it is reasonable to deduce that the summit had been climbed before 1820. The historian, Thomas Linder, believes that goatherds or hunters had at the very least penetrated to the area of the summit. It is also conceivable that smugglers used routes over the Zugspitze summit. As early as 1804 cartographic surveys had taken place in the area for the County of Werdenfels. There is speculation that, in the course of this work, the royal engineer and geographer, Alois von Coulon, and reached the summit. Since Coulon worked for the Topographical Bureau, it is unlikely that his ascent would not have been noted.

The first recorded ascent of the Zugspitze was achieved on 27 August 1820 by Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 Josef Naus
Josef Naus
Josef Naus was an officer and surveying technician, known for leading the first ascent of Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze. Variations of his name are Karl Naus or Joseph Naus.- Life and career :...

 and mountain guide
Mountain guide
Mountain guides are specially trained and experienced mountaineers and professionals who are generally certified by an association. They are considered experts in mountaineering.-Skills:Their skills usually include climbing, skiing and hiking...

, Johann Georg TauschlTauschl is often called Deuschl. Ritschel and Dauer have shown this to be an unexplained error. Hiebeler calls the diary entry Tauschl by Josef Naus a mistake. together with Naus' survey assistant and batman (servant), Maier. As early as 21 July Naus, an officer in the Bavarian Army
Bavarian army
The Bavarian Army was the army of the Electorate and then Kingdom of Bavaria. It existed from 1682 as the standing army of Bavaria until the merger of the military sovereignty of Bavaria into that of the German State in 1919...

, had asked about the route through the Reintal valley to the Northern Schneeferner. The lieutenant was taking part in a survey exercise by the Royal Bavarian Topographic Bureau (Königlich Bairischen Topographischen Bureau) for the Atlas of Bavaria (Atlas von Bayern) in the Werdenfelser Land
Werdenfelser Land
The Werdenfelser Land is a region of Upper Bavaria that extends from Mittenwald in the south to Farchant. It includes parts of the Bavarian Alps. From the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years War the Werdenfelser Land was subject to the Prince-Bishop of Freising, not the Duke of Bavaria.The region...

. On 26 August, the three of them climbed in a group together with Captain Jetze and Lieutenant Antlischek up to the shepherd's hut of Angerhütte. On 27 August around 4 in the morning, Naus, Tauschl and Maier set off for the Zugspitzplatt and Zugspitze summit. From the Schneeferner glacier they attempted to reach the West Summit along the west ridge. Their first attempt failed, but a second was successful and they finally reached the West Summit around 11:45 am, where they left behind a bergstock and cloth to mark their success. A thunderstorm and snowfall forced them to climb down again quickly. On 28 August they returned to the shepherd's hut at about 3 in the morning. The mountain guide, Tauschl, was given payment of two gulden and 42 kreuzer.

Subsequent ascents

In 1823, Simon Resch and the sheep Toni became the first to reach the East Summit. Simon Resch was also led the second ascent of the East Summit on 18 September 1834 with his son, Johann, and the mountain guide, Johann Barth. Because Resch's first ascent had been doubted, this time a fire was lit on the summit. On the 27th the summit was climbed for a third time by royal forester's assistants, Franz Oberst and Schwepfinger, along with Johann Barth. Oberst erected a flagpole on the summit with a Bavarian flag that was visible from the valley. The first ascent from Austria took place in August 1837. The surveyors, Joseph Feuerstein and Joseph Sonnweber, climbed to the West Summit from Ehrwald and left behind a signal pole with their initials on it. The West Summit was conquered for the third time on 10 September 1843 by the shepherd Peter Pfeifer. He was asked about the route by a group of eight climbers who later reached the summit at the behest of Bavaria's Crown Princess Marie
Marie of Prussia
Marie of Prussia was Queen of Bavaria and the mother of Kings Ludwig II and Otto of Bavaria.-Life:Born and raised in Berlin, she was the daughter of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, a younger brother of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, and his wife Landgravine Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg...

. She had the route checked in preparation for her own ascent of the Zugspitze. On 22 September 1853, Karoline Pitzner became the first woman on the Zugspitze. The first crossing from the West to the East Summit was achieved in 1857 by Dr. Härtringer from Munich and mountain guide, Joseph Ostler. The Irish brother, Trench, and Englishman, Cluster, succeeded in climbing the West Summit on 8 July 1871 through the Austrian Cirque (Österreichische Schneekar) under the guidance of brothers, Joseph and Joseph Sonnweber. The route through the Höllental valley to the Zugspitze was first used on 26 September 1876 by Franz Tillmetz and Franz Johannes with guides, Johann and Joseph Dengg. The first winter ascent of the West Summit took place on 7 Januar 1882; the climbers being Ferdinand Kilger, Heinrich Schwaiger, Josef and Heinrich Zametzer and Alois Zott. The Jubilee Arête (Jubiläumsgrat) was first crossed in its entirety on 2 September 1897 by Ferdinand Henning. The number of climbers on the Zugspitze rose sharply year on year. If the summit had been climbed 22 times in 1854, by 1899 it had received 1,600 ascents. Before the construction of a cable car in 1926 there had already been over 10,000 ascents.

Zugspitzplatt via the Reintal or Gatterl

The easiest of the normal routes runs through the Reintal
Reintal (Wetterstein)
The Reintal is the name given to the upper and lower valleys of the River Partnach between the Zugspitzplatt plateau and the Partnachklamm gorge...

 valley and is that followed during the first ascent. At the same time it is also the longest climb. Its start point is the ski stadium (730 m or 2,395 ft) at Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

. The route runs through the gorge of the Partnachklamm and along the Partnach river to the Bock Hut (1052 m or 3,451.4 ft), where the Reintal begins. Above the Partnach, which has meanwhile sunk underground, the route runs up to the Reintalanger Hut
Reintalanger Hut
The Reintalanger Hut is an Alpine Club hut in the Wetterstein Mountains at the head of the Reintal valley. The River Partnach has its source in the vicinity...

 (1370 m or 4,494.8 ft). From there the climb is relatively gentle to start with, but then becomes steeper. From the hut the track runs through the Brunntal up to the Knorr Hut
Knorr Hut
The Knorr Hut is a mountain hut belonging to the German Alpine Club and located in the Wetterstein Mountains at a height of . Its lies right on the edge of the Zugspitzplatt where it drops into the Reintalanger in a location with scenic views and is an important base for hikers who can climb up to...

 (2057 m or 6,748.7 ft), which stands on the eastern rim of the Zugspitzplatt. Here it meets the alternative route from Ehrwald via the Gaistal and the Gatterl at the Reintal Way. The route now runs over the Zugspitzplatt towards the Northern Schneeferner. The protected section of the climb to the Zugspitze summit begins above the Sonn-Alpin restaurant at Point 2815. The route climbs through a height of 2,232  metres and the true duration is between eight and ten hours.

Höllental

The ascent starts in Hammersbach
Hammersbach (Grainau)
Hammersbach is a village in the municipality of Grainau at the foot of the Wetterstein Mountains in South Germany. It is located at the southwestern end of the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and is an important base for tours by mountaineers and hikers.- Summits :From Hammersbach the...

 (758 m or 2,486.9 ft) through the Höllental along the Hammersbach stream. The path runs through the Höllental Gorge (Höllentalklamm) and was built from 1902 to 1905. Twelve tunnels were driven in the rock of the 1,026 metre long gorge with a total length of 288 metres. Another 569 metres of path was dynamited into the rock in the shape of a half profile, whilst 120 metres was led over footbridge
Footbridge
A footbridge or pedestrian bridge is a bridge designed for pedestrians and in some cases cyclists, animal traffic and horse riders, rather than vehicular traffic. Footbridges complement the landscape and can be used decoratively to visually link two distinct areas or to signal a transaction...

s and 49 metres over scree. The construction costs came to a total of 57,000 gold marks. Each year around 60,000 people pass through the gorge. The gorge can also be circumnavigated over the Stangensteig path. After the gorge the route heads for the Höllentalanger Hut
Höllentalanger Hut
The Höllentalanger Hut is a managed hut owned by the German Alpine Club in the Wetterstein Mountains of Bavaria, in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The hut lies in a narrow defile between the Höllental-Blassen and Waxenstein-Riffelwand crest and is open from the end of May to mid-October...

 (1381 m or 4,530.8 ft), after which it crosses the Höllentalanger stream. Above that the Brett is crossed on steel pins fixed to a rock face. Crossing the Grünen Buckel the trail runs up to the Höllentalferner glacier. The glacier is mostly snow-free in summer so that crampons are required to cross it. Even more difficult is the randkluft
Randkluft
A randkluft is the headwall gap between a glacier or snowfield and the adjacent rock face at the back of the cirque or, more loosely, between the rock face and the side of the glacier. It is formed by the melting of ice against warmer rock and may be very deep. During summer therefore, a randkluft...

 because the ice retreats further and further from the rock as it melts. After the glacier there is a klettersteig to the summit of the Zugspitze. This route climbs through a height of 2204 m (7,231 ft), for which between seven and eight hours are needed. There is also the option of getting to the Höllental route on the Riffelsteig path from Eibsee. This path crosses the Riffelscharte wind gap and meets the route before the Brett.

Austrian Cirque

A third ascent runs across the Austrian Cirque or Österreichische Schneekar. Starting point for this are the lake of Eibsee (950 m or 3,116.8 ft) or the village of Ehrwald (1000 m or 3,280.8 ft). The two trails merge above the cirque of Gamskar. Thereafter the routhe continues to the Wiener-Neustädter Hut
Wiener-Neustädter Hut
The Wiener-Neustädter Hut is an Alpine hut belonging to the Austrian Tourist Club on the edge of the Austrian Schneekar in the west face of the Zugspitze at 2,213 metres above sea level...

 (2209 m or 7,247.4 ft) and through the Österreichische Schneekar, at the end of which a klettersteig begins. During this section the route climbs through the Stopselzieher, a natural drainage cave. The route then joins the secured sections of the Reintal route. This ascent takes at least eight hours and climbs 2012 m (6,601 ft) in height.

Jubilee Ridge (Jubiläumsgrat)

One of the best-known ridge routes in the Eastern Alps is the Jubilee Ridge, which runs eastwards from the Zugspitze to the Hochblassen
Hochblassen
The Hochblassen is a mountain high, located in the Wetterstein in the German state of Bavaria. In addition to the main summit, it has a sub-peak, the so-called Signalgipfel which is high...

 (2707 m or 8,881.2 ft) and crosses the Inner (2737 m or 8,979.7 ft), Middle (2740 m or 8,989.5 ft) and Outer Höllentalspitze
Höllentalspitzen
The Höllentalspitzen are three peaks in the Wetterstein Mountains near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany. They rise from the ridge of Blassenkamm which runs eastwards from Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, and separate the Hölle Valley to the north from the Reintal Valley to the south...

 (2716 m or 8,910.8 ft) as well as the Vollkarspitze
Vollkarspitze
The Vollkarspitze is a 2,630 m high mountain in the Wetterstein group in Germany that, until 2001, had twin peaks. It is only crossed by climbers making their way along the arête of the Jubiläumsgrat....

 (2630 m or 8,628.6 ft). Along the way the route branches off towards Grießkarscharte (2463 m or 8,080.7 ft) and to the Alpspitze (2628 m or 8,622 ft). Between 1909 and 1915 the ridge was partially secured with wire cables by the German Alpine Club section at Munich. Originally the route was called the Jubilee Way (Jubiläumsweg), but after a tragic rescue attempt in 1979 the rather erroneous and misleading term, which suggested it was just a normal trail, was replaced by the name Jubiläumsgrat, a Grat being a sharp ridge. During the crossing, which is not a pure klettersteig, several unprotected sections have to be negotiated that roughly correspond to climbing grade III. The most difficult climbing section is a smooth gully (III-). In the area of the Vollkarspitze peak is a climbing section of difficulty (D). The difficulty of the roughly eight kilometre long climbing route is around I and II as well as B. Normally it can be crossed in one day during the summer. Between the Middle and Outer Höllentalspitze is the Höllengrat Hut (2684 m or 8,805.8 ft), a bothy
Bothy
A bothy is a basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge. It was also a term for basic accommodation, usually for gardeners or other workers on an estate. Bothies are to be found in remote, mountainous areas of Scotland, northern England, Ireland, and Wales....

 where climbers can take refuge for the night. It is mainly used during winter crossing, when the tour is split into two stages. The approach route to the tour is also possible from the Knorr Hut via the Brunntalgrat ridge and joins the route in the area of the Inner Höllentalspitze.

Accommodation

There are numerous mountain huts in the area of the Zugspitze. One base is the Höllentalanger Hut
Höllentalanger Hut
The Höllentalanger Hut is a managed hut owned by the German Alpine Club in the Wetterstein Mountains of Bavaria, in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The hut lies in a narrow defile between the Höllental-Blassen and Waxenstein-Riffelwand crest and is open from the end of May to mid-October...

 (1381 m or 4,530.8 ft) in the Höllental valley with 88 mattress spaces
Matratzenlager
A Matratzenlager , sometimes called massenlager or touristenlager, is the simplest and cheapest type of sleeping accommodation offered in mountain huts. It generally consists of a large room with mattresses usually placed very close together.The Matratzenlager is usually found in the attic of the...

. Accommodation in the Reintal is provided by the Reintalanger Hut
Reintalanger Hut
The Reintalanger Hut is an Alpine Club hut in the Wetterstein Mountains at the head of the Reintal valley. The River Partnach has its source in the vicinity...

 (1370 m or 4,494.8 ft) with 90 bedspaces and on the edge of the Zugspitzplatt by the Knorr Hut
Knorr Hut
The Knorr Hut is a mountain hut belonging to the German Alpine Club and located in the Wetterstein Mountains at a height of . Its lies right on the edge of the Zugspitzplatt where it drops into the Reintalanger in a location with scenic views and is an important base for hikers who can climb up to...

 (2051 m or 6,729 ft) with 108 bedspaces. The Knorr Hut was the first hut in the entire Wetterstein Mountains when it was built in 1855. All the huts are open from May to October depending on the weather. On the top of the Zugspitze are three more huts: the Wiener-Neustädter Hut
Wiener-Neustädter Hut
The Wiener-Neustädter Hut is an Alpine hut belonging to the Austrian Tourist Club on the edge of the Austrian Schneekar in the west face of the Zugspitze at 2,213 metres above sea level...

, the Münchner Haus
Münchner Haus
The Münchner Haus on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, is an Alpine Club hut belongig to the Munich Section of the German Alpine Club ....

 and the Schneefernerhaus
Schneefernerhaus
The Schneefernerhaus is a former hotel in the Alps, that is now used as an environmental research station. It lies immediately below the summit of the Zugspitze at a height of 2,650 m and was opened on 20 June 1931. It used to house the top station of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway as well as a...

.

Wiener-Neustädter Hut

The first hut on the Zugspitze was the Wiener-Neustädter Hut
Wiener-Neustädter Hut
The Wiener-Neustädter Hut is an Alpine hut belonging to the Austrian Tourist Club on the edge of the Austrian Schneekar in the west face of the Zugspitze at 2,213 metres above sea level...

 (Wiener-Neustädter-Hütte, 2209 m or 7,247.4 ft) built in 1884. It acts as a base for the klettersteig through the Österreichische Schneekar that was opened as far back as 1879. The hut is located on the western rim of the cirque and stand below the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car. It is operated by the Austrian Tourist Club
Austrian Tourist Club
The Austrian Tourist Club or ÖTK is the second oldest and third largest Alpine club in Austria.The foundation of the club goes back to an initiative by Gustav Jäger, publisher of Der Tourist, the first tourist magazine in Austria...

 and offers overnighting for up to 34 mountaineers in the period from July to October. The winter room
Winter room
A winter room is found in mountain huts used by tourists that are not managed in the winter. The winter room, unlike the rest of the hut, is easily accessible and usually is either not locked or is accessible with an Alpine Club key....

 is designed to take 14 people and has no cooking or heating facilities.

Münchner Haus

There has been an accommodation hut just underneath the west summit since 1883. At that time the Alpine Club section at Munich built a wooden hut with places for twelve people. Although further development of the summit for tourism was criticised, more and more members supported the construction of a larger hut. This eventually resulted in the building of the Münchner Haus
Münchner Haus
The Münchner Haus on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, is an Alpine Club hut belongig to the Munich Section of the German Alpine Club ....

 (2959 m or 9,708 ft). First, in 1896, a 200 square metre site was dynamited out of the rock. The new mountain hut was completed on 19 September 1897 at a cost of 36,615 gold marks. It was equipped with a 21 kilometre long telephone cable and a 5.5 kilometre long lightning conductor. In the years 1911 to 1914 the hut was extended and given its present appearance. It offer 30 beds for overnight stays and is open from May to October. An average of 2,000 people stay there each year, in addition to day visitors.

Schneefernerhaus

The Schneefernerhaus
Schneefernerhaus
The Schneefernerhaus is a former hotel in the Alps, that is now used as an environmental research station. It lies immediately below the summit of the Zugspitze at a height of 2,650 m and was opened on 20 June 1931. It used to house the top station of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway as well as a...

 (2656 m or 8,713.9 ft) was built in 1930 as the station of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway
Bavarian Zugspitze Railway
The Bavarian Zugspitze Railway is one of four rack railways still working in Germany, along with the Wendelstein Railway, the Drachenfels Railway and the Stuttgart Rack Railway...

. In June 1931 the attached hotel
Hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

 was opened. After the war, US Forces commandeered the house as a "recreation facility". It was not released until 1952 and was then renovated, opening in December that same year. On 15 May 1965 it was hit by a serious avalanche. The avalanche had been triggered above the house and swept over the sun terrace. Ten people lost their lives and 21 were seriously injured. At the end of the 1980s the station was moved and, in January 1992 the hotel and restaurant closed. 1993 and 1997 it was extensively converted into a research station, that opened in 1996. During the building work there was a fire in 1994 that completely destroyed the fifth floor and the roof space.

Winter sports

For those wishing to reach the summit under their own power, various hiking and ski trails can also be followed to the top. Hiking to the top from the base takes between one and two days, or a few hours for the very fit. Food and lodging is available on some trails. In winter the Zugspitze is a popular skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and snowboarding
Snowboarding
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the U.S.A...

 destination, with several slopes on both sides. The Zugspitzplatt is Germany's highest ski resort, and thus normally has sufficient snow throughout the winter.

Climbing

At the Zugspitze's summit is the Münchner Haus, a mountain hut (Alpenhütte), a facility built by the German Alpine Club
German Alpine Club
The German Alpine Club or DAV is the largest climbing association in the world and the eighth largest sports union in Germany. It is organised into 354 legally independent branches with a total of around 815,000 members...

 (Deutscher Alpenverein). For more than a hundred years, the summit has also had a weather station, which nowadays also gathers data for the Global Atmosphere Watch
Global Atmosphere Watch
The Global Atmosphere Watch is a worldwide system established by the World Meteorological Organization a United Nations agency to monitor trends in the Earth's atmosphere...

.

Climbing up the Zugspitze can involve several routes. The large difference in elevation between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the summit is 2200 m (7,217.8 ft), making the climb a challenge even for trained mountaineer
Mountaineer
-Sports:*Mountaineering, the sport, hobby or profession of walking, hiking, trekking and climbing up mountains, also known as alpinism-University athletic teams and mascots:*Appalachian State Mountaineers, the athletic teams of Appalachian State University...

s.

On the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 side, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region, and the district is on the border with Austria...

, climbers go either through the Höllental ("Valley of Hell") or the Reintal. The way through the Reintal is the easiest, but also the longest and takes 8 to 10 hours. This path goes through the Partnachklamm, a scenic gorge, then through the Reintal up to the Zugspitzplatt, a barren plateau. from there up to the summit. Climbers can stay for the night at two alpine huts, the "Reintalangerhütte" or the "Knorrhütte".

The more popular, but harder route is through the Höllental. It starts at Hammersbach near Garmisch, goes through the Höllentalklamm, a similar gorge up to the "Höllentalangerhütte", where one can take a meal or stay for the night. It then crosses the Höllentalferner
Höllentalferner
The Höllentalferner is a glacier in the western Wetterstein Mountains. It is a cirque glacier that covers the upper part of the Höllental valley and its location in a rocky bowl between the Riffelwandspitzen and Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, means that it is well-protected from direct...

, the remnants of a small glacier. After that it traverses a wall with the help of iron ladders and steps. Klettersteig equipment is recommended for that part. Over the Irmerscharte (a gap) it reaches the summit. This path will take 7 to 8 hours.

From the Austrian village of Ehrwald
Ehrwald
Ehrwald is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.Ehrwald lies at the southern base of the Zugspitze , Germany's highest mountain, but which is shared with Austria. The town is connected to the Zugspitze with the Tyrolean Aerial Tramway .-References:...

, there are also two variants. One goes straight through the Western Flank, which is the shortest route overall, but rather hard. It includes a via ferrata, and there is a hut called "Wiener Neustädter Hütte" by the Austrian Alpine Club. An easier path leads via the Ehrwalder Alm, across a small pass called "Gatterl", joining the Reintal path at the Knorrhütte.

External links

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