Since I did my first via ferrata two years ago – at Hohe Wand, I knew that I have to visit the region of Dachstein. This is where you can find several via ferratas graded D, and even E, where I wanted to challenge myself. This year I had an opportunity.
Via ferrata Irg 2 (C/D)
Definitely one of the coolest via ferratas I’ve ever did!
We started with a gondola ride to Dachstein. It is interesting that apart from places in the cabin, there are also places on its roof. It’s worth to take them :)
On the top, turn right. The trail goes along the ski slope and then along the path on the snow and reaches the high ladder.
At the top the trail goes through a short tunnel and further along the narrow, easy path.
Then the trail leads down. It’s definitely worth to have crampons, we were in July and the conditions were like you see. The rope was already hanging, we additionally used our own equipment for a protection, but I think you can do without it.
Then the trail continues through the snow and only a bit further begins via ferrata Irg 2. It’s 550 m of beautiful climb with difficulties from A/B to D, until the summit of Großer Koppenkarstein (2863 m).
The views are incredible. I love to look down and the bigger the exposure, the more I am excited :)
The way back to the gondola goes along the easy via ferrata West Ridge with an attraction in the form of a rope bridge.
If you plan to go down by the cable car, it is worth to set off early, because even in the summer the last one leaves about 5 pm. We spent 7 hours to walk the entire route.
Watch the video of our trip, where I put more shots from via ferrata Irg 2, Johann and others.
Via ferrata Johann (D/E)
Here the views are even more beautiful than on the Irg! The ascent begins at the bottom station of the Dachstein cable car. Go towards the Südwand Hut and turn left at the hut (the path leads behind the fence). The via ferrata has 550 m of height difference and it took us 3 hours but you have to reserve also about 1,5 – 2 h for the ascent. Crampons and ice axe can be useful on the ascent.
First emotions we experienced before even entering the via ferrata. We were ascending to the wall when suddenly I heard that a plane flew low over us. I looked up surprised that someone flies here, and then I realized that it was not a plane but a rock! It fell into the snow some 20 m from the trail. After a while, another one, so I clung to the rocks, listening to whether the next ones are falling. I haven’t experienced something like it before. The sound was really like a bullet, it has to fall from this 500 metres. We began to wonder if helmets would be enough strong…
But fortunately we got to the start of via ferrata safely. There is the most difficult moment, graded as E. This is a short fragment, but it really requires strength.
I did it twice. First, in my worn gloves, which I usually don’t use on via ferratas, unless it’s cold. There the rope was wet and uncomfortably cold, so I put them on. I climbed a bit and felt that I couldn’t let go of my hand to move it higher, because I would slip… So I slid down intentionally, I rested a moment, took off my gloves and this time it went well :)
Further it’s easier, however there are sections of C/D and D difficulty. Steep and long, the ability to climb on straight arms is essential here, otherwise you will get tired quickly ;)
I like to climb on the rocks, using a metal cable only as a belaying, but on this route on the most of the sections I did not have the chance to do it this way. However I was excited by the views and exposure! Pictures do not reflect it, so again I encourage you to watch the movie, which I posted above (Johann from 2:40 to 4:50).
A bit behind the half of the trail, after the biggest difficulties, there is a wide place where you can rest comfortably. Further, still in the beautiful landscapes, mainly on relatively easy sections, you will reach Seethalerhütte.
From there, it is close to the Hoher Dachstein peak, but if you prefer to end the trip, you can get within about 10 minutes to the upper station of the cable car going on a flat glacier (no equipment required).
Other via ferratas in the region of the Dachstein
Although not as spectacular as Irg 2 and Johann, other via ferratas in the area are also worth visiting.
One day is worth spending on the Silberkarklamm gorge, where you can do three short but cool via ferratas. I described them in another post: majatravels.com/via-ferratas-in-silberkar-gorge/
Not directly at Dachstein, but on the Reiteralm ski resort, there is via ferrata Franzi. From the upper station of the cable car, it takes about half an hour to reach it, and the via ferrata itself takes about one hour. It starts easily, only in the second half the trail goes up a steep wall with sections C and C/D. In contrast to raw rocks on other ferratas, here is a lot of vegetation around.
Climbing via ferrata you can combine with trekking to the nearby Rippetegg (2126 m).
By Ramsau there are three easy and short via ferratas: Kali, Kala and Kalo. They are promoted as via ferratas for children and youth, although Kalo has short fragments at the C/D level. The ascent is short, about 10 minutes from the parking lot.
The views are nice, however on other via ferratas they are nicer :) We started our trip on these ferratas and for beginners or for adults with children I can recommend them. More advanced people will find more interesting via ferratas in the area.
I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to see other via ferratas, which I heard a lot of good things – via ferrata Anna, which can be combined with Johann and the summit of Hoher Dachstein, which is together the longest via ferrata in the Alps and Skywalk, graded as D/E. It was my first trip organized by travel agency and I convinced myself that I prefer to organize on my own.
A bit of hiking in Dachstein area
Besides via ferrata trails I did also a few short hiking trips. I was most impressed by the trail going at the foot of the mountains from the lower station of the Dachstein cable car to Ramsau. It was beautiful weather, a golden hour and I had a real problem in choosing some of the best photos I had taken then.
I liked the most rocks in interesting shapes, which in a few places grew out of creeping pine :)
Maybe I’ll come back to the Dachstein area, for via ferratas, and maybe for climbing :)