Ken Roberts - - Climbing

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VF - via ferrata / klettersteig in Austria + Germany

10 sept

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We used mainly the AlpinVerlag.at guidebook.

Overall seemed like subsections climbing in Austria was a bit more strenuous for the same difficulty grade (range A to E) than subsections of climbing around the Dolomites or lake Garda.

Hindelanger by Oberstdorf

Lots of free rock climbing available (not difficult) on a dramatic ridge. I did it in on a mid-week off-season day in 2009.

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Innsbrucker by Innsbruck

10sept - [ map ]

Great views in all directions while climbing on a ridge. Lots of fun free climbing (most around difficulty Euro 2-3, some around 4-5) -- especially for me because I unclipped from the cable and went to other nearby sections that looked more interesting to me.

Similar to the VF Hindelanger klettersteig by Oberstdorf. The Hindelanger ridge is perhaps a little more dramatic, maybe the rock a little better, but somehow I feel like the Innsbrucker is easier to do with Sharon.

Note that there's lots of loose rock, and it is possible for holds to break off, even large holds. This is more likely if not climbing on the normal cable-protected route, so need to test every hold before relying on it, and be careful to wait until there are no climbers anywhere underneath on the normal cable-protected route who might be hit by falling rocks.

I started by the taking both stages of the Nordketten lifts from the Hunderburg base station up to the top at H____kar. Then did the route west-bound to the Langen Sattel and then the Frau Hitt, then hiked the well-marked high traverse trail (steep sections, wouldn't want to do it when wet) back east to the Seegrubbe lift mid-station and took the lift back down.

Note that the grass alongside the rocks and trails is often very slippery even when dry -- I took a surprising tumble off the return traverse trail by a seemingly innocent step just a little onto the grass alongside.

I didn't feel that the far western section had as high a percentage of interesting free climbing for me, seemed to have lots of downhill going on the west-bound direction, including a kind of sustained overhang near the end. Maybe works better going the east-bound.

There's a well-marked escape trail at the Langer Sattel (between the east and west sections), so if Sharon and I did it together I think we'd stop there.

To avoid more down-walking, we could start from the Seegrubbe mid-station, and start by hiking up west + northwest to the Langen Sattel (the turn for that was well-marked), then do the east section of the route east-bound to the H-kar lift top station, then take the lift (both stages) back down to Hungerburg base station.

I parked high at the lot for the Nordketten lifts, around latitude/longitude (N47.2865 E11.3983). Getting there took longer than I expected because it required going thru the city of Innsbruck (in weekday morning rush hour), then up a curvy road. Might have been possible to park lower maybe on the east side of the city, take the Hungerburgbahn cog train up to the Nordketten lifts -- which might be a good idea for a busy day when not arriving early enough in time to get a space in the upper parking.

Alpspitze by Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Sharon and I did it on a mid-weed day around 2008. Lots of nice non-difficult climbing on the new VF route, then we descended the old route (some interesting sections, but starts with long steep scree). Peak looks like a "real" mountain. Only about 600 meters up + down from the top of the lift.

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Huterlaner + Zimmereben at Mayrhofen

11sept - [ map ]

Both climbs finish at the same restaurant with a nice view over the valley. Both are fun interesting climbs at their difficulty level.

The hiking trail down is fairly nice, a little rough + rocky in places. Stairs where it gets very steep. I noticed that lots of climbers didn't bring hiking poles for this descent. Going down either of the via ferrata routes is forbidden - (normally too much traffic going upward).

Huterlaner

rated C/D in one of the German-language guidebooks, but I thought it was a bit harder than typical C/D in the Dolomites. Had at least one overhanging move, and at least one sustained very steep wall (with good holds). Lots of breaks between climbing sections, which had a variety of different kinds of moves and rock situations.

What I especially enjoyed was that I found lots of opportunities on Huterlaner for a variety of interesting moves with my hands + feet directly on the rock, avoiding the metal holds and using the cable only for protection. Fortunately it was off-season mid-week later afternoon with very few other climbers on this route, so I had lots of time to work out the tricky moves. There were other subsections where the free rock climbing would have been too hard for my current level, so I was glad to use the artificial holds to get me thru those.

Zimmereben

rated D+ or D/E. I thought some of the non-crux subsections was at least half a grade harder than corresponding difficulty ratings around the Dolomites.

Lots of interesting moves in a variety of situations. Style of some sections is a bit different from hard climbs in the Dolomites: steeper rock and with steel handles.

parking + approach

I parked a short ways north of the klettersteig sign: GPS latitude/longitude approx (N47.1753 E11.8625) -- I think that's a little different from at least one guidebook.

Trailhead with sign describing via ferrata / klettersteig : (N47.1737 E11.8621) - [ map ]

Bottom start of climbing for the less difficult Huterlaner klettersteig : (N47.1736 E11.8614)
 . . . (Right there is a clear sign for the trail to the the bottom start of the more difficult Zimmereben klettersteig -- higher to the northwest).

Nasenwand at Ginzling

11sept - [ map ]

Lots of interesting moves in a variety of situations. Style of some sections is a bit different from hard climbs in the Dolomites: steeper rock and with steel handles. The crux is radically overhanging. (If the lower section does not feel easier than you expected, I recommend taking the escape route and not trying the upper section).

rated E. I thought some of the non-crux subsections were at least half a grade harder than corresponding difficulty ratings around the Dolomites.

I parked in Ginzling at about (N47.1013 E11.8105). There's a sign  there for the Nasenwand klettersteig, and  clear trail signs  for how  to get up to the start of the climb. Then  at the top there was a clear sign ("abstieg") to the trail back down.

Berchtesgadener Hochthron on the Untersberg

11sept - [ map ]

Fun weekend day with Gi. Remarkably well-designed VF route. Great variety of moves thru different spaces; Cable anchors well-placed for easy clipping of protection and interesting climbing moves. Seemed like mostly sound rock. Gi said it was built by a rock climber also known for first ascents of several free climbing routes around the area.

Route 30.1 in the AlpinVerlag.at guidebook.

Takes significant uphill hiking to get to the start -- but mostly on good trail.

Parking near Marktschellenberg (reached from autobahn exit "Salzburg Süd"), about 5km west and south toward Ettenberg. Didn't have my GPS that day because Gi knew the way. But I think we parked somewhere around (N47.683 E13.014) at an obvious trailhead parking area.

Ellmauer Halt in Kaiser-gebirge by the Kaiserschützensteig

11sept - [ map ]

More interesting route than the Gamsängersteig to the highest summit in the Kaisergebirge mountains with great views. Offers a full authentic mountain experience (more "authentic" than I was wanting for that day). 

Route 17.4 in the AlpinVerlag.at guidebook. Very long: guidebook says 2000 vertical meters, but I suspect it's a bit more than that with some ups + downs. Note that the lower part of the hiking approach includes a long horizontal (actually slightly downhill) section. And the climbing sections had ups + downs and traversing.

I didn't like it. I guess I was hoping it would have more sections more like the Hindelanger or Innsbrucker klettersteig.

It had some good climbing sections, but nowhere near enough compared with the overall size and difficulty of the hiking approach + descent. Lots of the other climbing was unprotected scrambling (which I generally enjoy) on weak + vegetated rock (which I generally do not enjoy). Descent at first by the upper section of the Gamsängersteig (route 17.6 in the AlpinVerlag.at guidebook), which had some interesting climbing -- and lots of loose rock. Then turned off right and crossed into the top of the Scharlingerboden valley. This was some of the worst scree (starts rather steep) I've encountered in my life. They put in as many cable sections as they could to help. But still there were steep sections out in the middle with no cable. Lots of rock sliding and rolling from my feet.

Very glad I was all alone (except for the upper Gamsängersteig section) on a weekday off-season, otherwise I'd be very scared of rockfall from other climbers. Fortunately only a few people out on the Gamsängersteig section.

Afterward a local suggested that if starting from Kufstein, it was better to traverse the mountain and finish near Ellmau.

I parked at about on the north side of Kufstein at the trailhead parking area : (N47.59397 E12.18787), fee was 2 Euros per day payable at coin machine. I think this parking could also be used for the Kufsteiner klettersteig.

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via ferrata: klettersteig cable-protected