A natural paradise shrouded in legend
A natural paradise shrouded in legend
Nina Schlesener climbs the via ferrata on the Watzmann with confidence. She is just 14 years old. Friends collected her early in the morning for her first tour of the Watzmann. She feels a bit queasy as she surveys the rock face that plunges one thousand metres into the depths below. But once she reaches the end of the via ferrata she is proud that she’s done it and overwhelmed by the impressive panorama of the Berchtesgaden Alps that lies before her from the Watzmann.
Nina Schlesener is the only registered mountain guide in Berchtesgaden.
Today Nina Schlesener is the only registered mountain guide in Berchtesgaden. She loves telling her guests the story of this life-changing experience. The 33-year old has known the Watzmann since she was a child. Her parents run a popular mountain hut in the Berchtesgaden National Park. She grew up amongst hikers and ambitious mountaineers – with the Watzmann always before her eyes.
Unique cultural landscape with a diversity of flora and fauna
The majestic beauty of the Watzmann is acclaimed far beyond the borders of Bavaria. It was even voted the most beautiful mountain in the world by Bergsteiger magazine. Not without reason. “The Watzmann is a wonderful, aesthetic mountain and offers an outstanding walk to the top. When the weather’s fine you can literally see for miles. There’s no other view like it in the whole of Berchtesgaden,” Nina Schlesener says with enthusiasm.
'There’s no other view like it in the whole of Berchtesgaden.'
The flora and fauna on the Watzmann are unique. As well as rare alpine roses and gentians,walkers here also come across ibexes, which were almost extinct. Under the protection of the Berchtesgaden National Park, which is largely left to nature, their numbers have grown considerably in the past few years. This untouched natural environment is kept in check by the alp farmers who graze their cows and sheep there. And thus a unique cultural landscape is created.
The Watzmann: The highest mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps
The legend of cruel King Watzmann is linked with Berchtesgaden’s landmark. Cursed by a shepherdess, the whole royal family was turned to stone. They are now metamorphosed into mountains at the foot of the Königsee lake – the Watzmann, his wife and between them their seven children.
'Many people are attracted by the sporting opportunities on the Watzmann.'
The highest mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps inspires mountaineers of all ages. “Many people are attracted by the sporting opportunities on the Watzmann,” says the guide. “It’s a massive mountain climb that’s on every serious mountaineer’s to-do list.”
But even families with children are not daunted by this 2,713 metre high mountain. In around four hours both adults and children are able to reach the Watzmannhaus, where they can spend the night under twinkling stars.
The Watzmann East Wall and Ice Chapel are among the 100 most beautiful geotopes in Bavaria
Amongst climbers the Watzmann East Wall is a real highlight. At a height of almost 2,000 metres it is the highest wall in the eastern Alps and with its magnificent panorama it is truly a unique experience. This is why it is one of the 100 most beautiful geotopes in Bavaria – just like the Ice Chapel at the foot of the East Wall.
Water runoff has created a fascinating system of caves in this former glacier, which give the Ice Chapel its name. From St. Bartholomew's Church on the Königsee lake a popular walking route takes you through this impressive ice field, the corridors of which visitors are advised to navigate with care.
More and more people are attracted to the Watzmann
Since Nina Schlesener’s childhood the number of walkers has clearly risen. In 2016 some 6,000 people visited the Watzmann. For the mountain guide it is more a calling than a profession to guide these people. “What I love about it is that I’m able to fulfil so many people’s dreams. When they finally reach the top and they realise that they’ve really done it – well, that’s a fantastic moment!”