Wolfgangsee 2017 I

We woke at the Hofpürglhütte to clouds followed by rain. As this wasn’t the best for climbing we had breakfast and wombled down to the cars. We then drove to the Wolfgangsee with some creative navigation that involved us driving over a pass. Unfortunately this cost us 10 EUR for the entertainment but as we are positive people we saw the positive side and intensely enjoyed the mountain air, the winding road, the cows, and all that could be enjoyed.

We drove to Gasthof Kleefeld for lunch and did the Brustwand klettersteig, the same one that Leonie and I had done a few weeks earlier. Then it was off for a swim in the lake briefly as the sun was coming out. It was then time to look for our accommodation between Strobl and Bad Ischl. It turned out to be a very large arty apartment with room for nine people at least. It had a balcony facing onto a river and it was all quite excellent.

We set about cooking dinner and spent the evening listening to chilled out music, drinking wine, and chatting. Sam and Sebas turned up from Munich in time to enjoy the evening too.

Nice nice.

Hofpürglhuette

On Wednesday night Johannes, Ari and I escaped to Munich in the Ari-mobil. We landed at Sam and Sebas’ and hung out there for the evening.

Then on Thursday the journey continued to Filzmoos in Austria. We drove from there up to a car park below the hofpürglhuette where we meet Brendan and his lady Domi. The weather was much nicer than expected and we sweated our way up the short distance to the hut (about 50 minutes).

The hut is pretty nice. Typical alpine hut. We found a spot in the mattress area and sat out on the terrace for some lunch. In typical Ari fashion, Brendan, Johannes, and I shared most of her lunch. 

Then it was off for a via ferrata route that turned out to be mostly a walk with a few not strictly necessary cables near the end. It was nice though and we had patches of snow to cross which amused us and we got to kick steps with our soft shoes in the soft snow. 

There was a nice view from the summit of the steigkogel and we could see back down to the hut. 

Suddenly terrified that we might get back too late for our Halbpension evening meal we headed off back down. This time we made use of the patches of snow and we did some premium glissading down to the main track. The snow was suitably soft and the gradient not too steep so as to make it safe.

 We were all quite successful except that Brendan decided that his shoes were then too wet and that his bare mountain feet would be more appropriate for the rest of the way back along the stony route.

We ascended a short distance back to the steiglpass before heading back down towards the hut aided by more snow.

After dinner we got a little bit of sport climbing in on a couple of the 150+ routes in the area. We headed back down to the hut at dusk shortly before 10 pm. A nice day. Life is good.

Via Oerfla Klettersteig

Daniele, Katerina, Chris, Julia, and I headed off to Götzis in search of the elusive Via Örfla klettersteig. Daniele and Katerina had looked for it before but had not found it so this time they brought reinforcements, extra pairs of eyes.

The route starts at the swimming pool in Götzis and follows a river along a marked track for some time. It then takes a left and continues up the river in the Örflaschlucht. This is a nice ravine with high cliff walls. Walking up this river feels like you have landed in the jungle somewhere in Asia. It feels remote. The track is marked occasionally with rock piles. We found the start of the klettersteig after maybe 45 minutes walking on the true left of the river.

The klettersteig is not too difficult. It feels like a B/C route. It crosses the river again and the scenery is really nice. A sharp climb with views back down into the ravine. A little more walking and you come to the end… Except you haven’t… There’s a small section of walking before you get to the last section which is more like a D and ascends directly out of the ravine (you’ve already done a good part of the climbing).

It’s a sustained few minutes of climbing and you are finished. There’s then a nice walk back down which drops back into the ravine lower down and then leads back out the way you came to where you started.

Very nice.

Via Oerfla Map

Above: A map of the area (Kompass Wanderkarte)

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.