Arlberger Winterklettersteig

It was beautiful spring weather. Jörg picked Leonie and I up from Lindau and we drove to Sankt Anton. The plan was to do the Arlberger Winterklettersteig. It’s a via ferrata route that starts at 2650 m above sea level and heads along a ridgeline to the Vordere-Rendlespitze before dropping down to the Mitterkarspitze and continuing without rope (there’s no need for one) to the Roßfallscharte. It can be reached either by taking the ski lifts (Rendlbahn + Riffelbahn I + Riffelbahn II) to the start or by ascending the 1200 odd metres from Sankt Anton am Arlberg. We paid the 17.50 EUR for the one way lift pass and took the lazy way up.

At the top of the Riffelbahn II ski lift we put on our harnesses, strapped our skis to our packs and walked the minute to the start of the fixed route. The via ferrata is a mix between grades A to D. It ascends about 200 vertical metres gently and the guide says it should take 2.5 hours including getting back down. Hmmm… Here’s all the info. you might want in this handy pdf.

Anyway, the route was very nice. We had nice views down off the ridge in both directions. Leonie managed to control her fear-of-heights entirely and had only a bit of trouble on the first D section. We found the rope was often buried by the snow which meant walking sections along the ridge without protection. Falling wouldn’t be a good thing as it’s often quite exposed. Aside from the one section it didn’t seem too hard though. It pays to take an extra sling to extend your via ferrata set a little because at some points the steel rope is too high to clip onto without one.

Heading off from the lift (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Walking along the ridge (Arlberg Winterklettersteig March 2017)Leonie climbing (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)

Above left: We set off from the top of the Riffelbahn II after taking a collection of lifts up to 2650 m. It was warm, there wasn’t any wind and it was sunny and blue. Perfect. Above middle: Ascending to the Vordere-Rendlspitze. Above right: It was scrambly in parts.

Jörg was very good and talked Leonie through any bits that she was at first unsure about. Leonie did the whole thing wearing crampons which must have been a bit annoying on the rock but perhaps helpful on the snow. If the conditions had been different crampons could really be useful so I’d say it’s definitely worth having them in your bag. I found the snow was soft enough that they weren’t required while we were there.

We stopped for a break at the Mitterkarspitze before unstrapping our skis, switching our boots to ski mode and heading down to the East by snowy slopes to the Malfonbach. The snow was heavier than I had hoped and a bit difficult at times to turn in. Later I encountered a very small 20 m patch of delicious powder before we descended enough to have spring conditions. We skied all the way out the Malfonbach down to Pettneu. The last part of the 1500 vertical metre descent was down a very narrow ski track on which we could do nothing but snow plough.

From Pettneu we caught the bus back to Sankt Anton and then drove back to Lindau. We started around 10 am at the top of the lift and got to Pettneu around 4 pm. We certainly weren’t fast but our 6 hours was considerably longer than the 2.5 hours in the guide.

Definitely check the avalanche report before going out. It was level three when we went which I would normally not have gone out in. We had the impression that most of what was going to come down had already come down as we were there as there were already avalanche debris everywhere on the descent. However, a week after we did the tour two people died on the descent in warning level two.

More posing (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Us on the Mitterkarspitze (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)Leonie descending (Arlberger Winterklettersteig March 2017)

Above left: The via ferrata followed the ridge line over the Vordere-Rendlspitze. Above middle: Still perfect weather at the end of the via ferrata. Above right: We had a long 1500 m descent from the end of the via ferrata down to Pettneu.

Map1Map2Map3
Above: Maps showing our route from Sankt Anton am Arlberg into the mountains and down to Pettneu.

Above: A video of our adventure in shining 720p.

And some more photos below…

Indianer via Ferrata

Leonie and I went and checked out the Indianer via Ferrata in Netstal, Switzerland. It’s a fairly short C rated route with some nice things like a tunnel through the rock, a tower, and a flying fox (zip line). It’s a 15 minutes walk to the start of the route from the road. There’s also a couple of sport climbing routes at the start.

The route ascends for maybe 15 m/20 m and then there is a telephone stuck to the rock. Interesting…

Following this you climb through a tunnel in the rock and then ascend steeply again. Another ascent and you’re standing on a tower of rock with the Swiss flag. From there, there is a bit of a scramble down and around one side of the tower to a “flying fox”/”zip line” or whatever the internationally accepted English word for this is. Leonie found this section a little unpleasant but I think she was pleased to have done it all the same.

According to The Internet the next section was supposed to be a little more difficult. Leonie opted to take the emergency exit, an option that took her quickly to the end of the via ferrata. After taking this option with her I returned and finished the rest of the normal route. It was a little more difficult but not too bad. I think it would feel a bit sustained for people who don’t regularly go sport climbing. The last section was very slightly overhanging and required some arms.

From the top we followed the path back down to the car park below. A very nice via ferrata. Well worth doing.

View from below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Walking to the start (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie staying connected (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: The via ferrata starts on the left hand side behind the tower, climbs up onto the tower, crosses to the main rock and then traverses around to the flat rightwards facing slab before ascending to the top. Above middle: It’s about a 15 minute walk from the road to the start of the via ferrata. Above right: Leonie tested the telephone about 20 metres into the climb. It seemed to be out of order.

Climbing through the hole (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie looks up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie waiting below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Just after the telephone there is a climb through a tunnel in the rock. Above (2): Then it heads up again. Above (3): Leonie waited as I went up to inspect.

Leonie climbing (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above: I belayed Leonie on parts to keep her feeling safe-ish.

View towards the mountains (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)View across to Leonie (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Posing guys (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie puts on her happy face (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): The view isn’t bad. Above (2): We climbed up onto a tower and then down slightly and around the side of the rock. I was happy to be clipped into the metal rope as it felt quite exposed. We climbed around to a flying fox that Leonie thought looked a bit spooky. It did feel a bit spooky but once I was over the side all was fine. Above (3): Some Swiss guys waited for us on the tower while we sorted ourselves out on the flying fox. Above (4): Leonie didn’t really have such a happy face as she slid across but it was just a short distance across the void.   Climbing on the other side (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Taking the emergency exit 2 (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Notausgang makes for smiles (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Guys in front (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Leonie looked a bit happier on the other side. Above (2):  The Swiss flag flapped in the breeze as we took the short cut to the end. Above (3): Happy face again. Above (4): I went back down and completed the via feratta following the two Swiss guys.

 Looking down (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Looking up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: Looking down. Above right: The last section was steep and a little sustained. It probably helps if you’ve been climbing a bit recently. Luckily that was the case.

Känzele via Ferrata

Johannes, Daniele, Katerina and I snuck off to Bregenz after work to try out the new Känzele via Ferrata that was opened in August 2016 by the Austrian Alpine Club (Alpenverein Vorarlberg). The route is mostly graded C/D with an option to take an easier B/C section in the middle. Of course if you opt for this route you still have the C/D at the top. It’s all new (2016) so the safety ropes, steps etc. are in top condition. The climb only takes about 20 minutes so it’s perfect for after work if you live somewhere nearby.

Känzele Klettersteig Topo

Above: The topo. courtesy of not me…

Johannes on the via ferrata (Känzele Klettersteig)Taking a break at the bench (Känzele Klettersteig)The last section (Känzele Klettersteig)

Above left: We headed to Bregenz after work and did the Känzele Klettersteig. Above middle: It’s quite civilised and includes a park bench half way up. Above right: It ends with a C/D section. Katerina and Daniele, the via feratta experts, stormed up to the top.

Johannes on the last section (Känzele Klettersteig)

Above: Johannes loved it. Especially the last section!

Hundstein

Leonie, Timo, and I went for a wander up Hundstein (2157 m) near Säntis in the Alpstein massif.

This is what it looked like…

More walking (Hundstein Sept 2016)Leonie beside a lake (Hundstein Sept 2016)View down towards the lake (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above left: We went for a walk with Timo around the Säntis area (Alpstein Massif) in Switzerland. Above middle: There were lakes and whatnot. Above right: We ended up heading up to Hundstein.

Another nice view (Hundstein Sept 2016)Leonie walk walk (Hundstein Sept 2016)Timo walk walk (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above left: The views were nice. Above middle: Although scrambly in one part it was quite do-able. We ascended from the Fälensee which is easier than the route up from Widderalp saddle. Above right: Slog, slog, slog.

Taking a rest at the summit (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above: Proof that we made it to the top.

It took about 8.5 hours from car-to-car with a stop at a hut for a drink.

Hundstein walk September 2016

Above: Here’s a map showing our route.

Norway 2016 – Day 16

After not much sleep we got up horribly early and caught the 5:50 am bus to Lillehammer. We spent a few hours there at the lake in the sunshine eating our remaining food and trying to use the rest of the cooker fuel. We took the train to Oslo airport in the afternoon and wheeled our packed bikes on the trolleys provided out to one of the car parks where we pitched the tent in the bushes for the night.

Leonie at the Lillehammer train station (Cycle Touring Norway 2016)Waiting at the train station in Lillehammer (Cycle Touring Norway 2016)At Oslo airport (Cycle Touring Norway 2016)

Above left and middle: At the Lillehammer station after packing our bikes into their bags. Above right: Eating something outside Oslo airport.