With a day of hot weather and a good forecast we decided to head back to where I had recently been walking on another hot day, as I knew that it meant that we would be climbing out of the sun. We headed back to the Hörndlwand in the Chiemgau for some multi pitch traditional climbing.

The crag is fairly complex which lots of corners, and routes which can be linked together. However from the guide we struggled to work out what could be linked, so decided to just stick to one of the suggestions at the start of the guide. We climbed “Die Gnadenlosen Drei” a two star UIAA 5 route which was a 200m 8 pitch route. This route linked the following routes:

  • Nordwestsockel – UIAA 4+ – 80m – 3 pitches
  • Merklriss – UIAA 5 – 35m – 1 pitch
  • Mittlere Nordwand – UIAA 4 – 55m – 2 pitches

The walk up was very warm, but thankfully mostly in the shade, and we were very glad to confirm that the route was entirely in the shade when we arrived at the Hörndlalm. We were also pleased to find no one else on our route, which meant we didn’t have to worry about rushing or queuing all day.

Nordwestsockel – UIAA 4+ – 80m – 3 pitches

This was a three pitch route which had plenty of enjoyable climbing on it, the first pitch had a very easy start, and then a sudden step out around an arête and onto a wall which felt like a fairly exciting way of starting the day. It seems that some of the pegs marked in the guidebook are no longer there, which made it feel even more exposed.

The second pitch climbed up the obvious crack and then traversed over along a ledge system to a belay, the crux of the pitch was certainly escaping the chimney and joining the ledge system.

The third pitch went up an improbable looking overhang at the grade, but ended up being surprisingly easy due to excellent holds and a well positioned bolt

Merklriss – UIAA 5 – 35m – 1 pitch

After following our noses up the linking pitch we arrived at the base of Merklirss, the crux of the route. The start was well protected by bolts, and the upper half had some pegs. The climbing was excellent, but certainly felt significantly harder than the rest of the route, and harder than other UIAA 5s which we have climbed. The route followed an obvious natural groove line, which combined face climbing, bridging and chimney climbing all in one pitch.

Mittlere Nordwand – UIAA 4 – 55m – 2 pitches

After studying the guidebook we managed to work out where to go on the linking pitch (directly up from the belay, not down the obvious path), we started the final pitch. The guidebook mentioned that it was surprisingly airy for a 4, had a read this in a UK guidebook I would have assumed there was no gear, but given it was a German book I assumed it just meant that it was exposed.

The pitch traversed out and certainly was very exposed, not that I looked down much as I was very focused on the climbing due to the lack of gear. There were a few pegs and bolts, but they were very spaced, but thankfully the climbing was very easy. The main challenge was committing to heading up a blank wall with no sign that the route actually went that way!

The final pitch was an easy scramble up to the summit cross, and a start reminder of the power of the sun as we were immediately too hot, having been cool at times during the climb in the shade! The walk down was fairly straightforwards, but we were both out of water as we wanted to climb with our small bags. Thankfully the Alm was open for food and drink, so after a snack and some cold refreshments we started the rest of the walk back down to the car.

We were very hot and bothered by the time we arrived back at the car, but this was easily resolved with a 5min drive up the road to the Weitsee for a refreshing swim.

Looking up at the Hörndlwand
Becky on the second pitch
Becky on the second pitch with a wonderful backdrop
At the top of the first route
Becky on the crux pitch
Becky on the crux pitch
At the top of the route
Summit selfie
Leaving the summit of the climb