Hohe Wand is a mountain ridge close to Vienna. It’s low (the peaks are ca. 1000 m), you can quickly get there from Poland and there are via ferratas in all degrees of difficulty. That’s why I chose this place to try my first ferratas.
Without a car you can get to Hohe Wand from Vienna in about 1-2 hours. I arrived to Vienna at 2 pm (7 hours by train from Warsaw), took a train to Wiener Neustadt and from there a bus to Markt Piesting (there’s also a train). The same day in the afternoon I was on my first via ferrata.
It was Währingersteig. In my guide book (by Csaba Szepfalusi, I’m not sure it’s translated also to English) it’s marked as difficulty C. I was wondering if it’s good to start with C, but it was on my way to the hut and I saw about 13-year old kids climbing this trail so I thought it can’t be so hard and I decided to go.
That’s how it looks like:
And a view from a top:
It’s short via ferrata. It took me about half an hour to go up and then down by a path to the starting point. It was some challenge for me but it wasn’t very hard.
In the evening I got to Herrgottschnitzerhaus. I made reservation about one month earlier because it was Saturday in June so I was expecting many tourists. To my surprise I was alone in 6-person room and other rooms were also empty. It was also cheap. I paid 18 euro with breakfast, but the owner said it’s discount for tourists from Czech Republic, Poland and other countries from this region. It’s nice of him, because generally Austria is pretty expensive for people from Poland.
Next day I started my trip on Ganghofersteig. It’s short ferrata located right at Herrgottschnitzerhaus. It’s C-D and I was going down. That was a real challenge!
I have only one photo, from a top :) Further there’s vertical and in one part slightly overhanging rock which requires some strength in arms. Descending with about 8 kilos backpack was not so easy…
Just after descent I turned right to a narrow path in a forest. There weren’t any signs but according to my map there should be a trail. Soon after I knew it’s not a trail… I think that path was made by people who were cutting trees because it leaded me to “path” like this:
I spent about one hour walking down this place and I was regretting I haven’t returned earlier but finally I managed to find the trail ;)
The real trail leaded me to Hanselsteig. Its difficulty is marked as B and it wasn’t hard for me. I think it’s proper for someone who doesn’t have experience on ferratas and any climbing skills. I saw on this trail parents with about 5-7 year old children. Kids though didn’t have their via ferrata lanyards, their harness were connected by a rope to parents but I think they managed to walk this trail. The best part of this trail is a ladder between rocks. It’s leaning sideway so it’s not so easy thing.
Next ferrata for beginners is Völlerin – difficulty A. I even didn’t feel like pulling out my harness of the backpack ;) If you like challenges, close to that point there’s HTL-Steig (D-E) and Blutspur (E). Although I also like challenges, I didn’t dare to go there. Ganghofersteig was enough challenging for me ;)
It was about 6:30 pm when I came to Hubertushaus where I was planning to spend a night. I didn’t make reservation because I didn’t expect too many tourists on Sunday. I also didn’t expect the hut to be closed… I knew that in Alps some mountain huts are open only on weekends and some have 1-2 work-free days during weekdays but it was yet weekend… It didn’t worry me much that it was closed because in close proximity there are two other huts but a man from Hubertushaus – the owner or employee, I don’t know – told that this day everything is closed in this region (Sunday! Middle of June!). He let me stay for a night but warned that there’s nothing to eat. It’s good I always have some bars and chocolate on trips ;)
It was nearly 3 hours to sunset so I left in the hut unnecessary things and with light rucksack I went to Wildenauersteig (C-D). From Hubertushaus you can get there by very easy Springlessteig. If you go there in the afternoon and have luck like me, you can see chamoises. I recorded two of them – one behaved like she wanted to throw off the cliff the second one :)
It’s about 30 min walk from Hubertushaus to the starting point of Wildenauersteig. It looks like this:
It’s unusual ferrata because there isn’t steel cable and you have to attach by carabiners to metal steps. It’s 110 m high and it took me 1 hour to climb to the top. Close to the top there is a small cave where you will find a box with a guestbook.
The exit from the cave is narrow and according to my guidebook you have to take off your backpack to squeeze through it. I’m tiny person and for me it wasn’t necessary. My guidebook says also that Wildenauersteig can be tough for short persons as steps are often far from each other. And that is truth! I’m 155 cm high and in some points I could reach next step only by fingertips. Clipping by carabiners to next steps was tricky too. I have basic climbing skills which I gained at climbing walls (I can do a route grade V climbing toprope) and this skills helped me much on this ferrata.
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