Karlsruher Grat

The Karlsruher Grat is the most difficult rock-climbing trail in the northern Black Forest with several sections of alpine character. The 2.7 km-long trail over the rocks is narrow and there are passages where climbing is called for. The views, though, are spectacular. It lies in the Gottschlägtal – Karlsruher Grat nature reserve.

Although the Karlsruher Grat can be reached from the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, it is usually accessed from the carpark (Wanderparkplatz) near the Grave of the Noblewoman Waterfalls Edelfrauengrab-Wasserfälle in Ottenhöfen. From the carpark, the path leads to the gravel pit in the valley of the Gottschlägbach and the Edelfrauengrab natural erosion caves then past several waterfalls climbing steadily, always ascending the left side of the slope, then it branches out further below in the valley from the wide logging road in a sharp bend to the left before ascending to the ridge. Once up there, follow the via ferrata (Kletterpartie) signs. There is a narrow path in the woods on the northern edge of the ridge that can be taken by inexperienced hikers as a complete or partial alternative.

From Bosensteiner Eck following the blue hash marks down to the west, the first porphyry rocks are reached after a few hundred meters. On the ridge itself there are no fixed cables, ladders or colour markings; because of that, the exact route can be individually determined. Surefootedness and a head for heights as well as sturdy footwear are a must. It is best to avoid walking on the ridge after it has been raining because of the danger of slipping. Depending on proficiency, the ascent takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

Apart from the via ferrata, climbing in the nature reserve is permitted at one spot only on the ridge, the Eichhaldenfirst.

Image copyright:
© Elmar Gaiser