On Friday afternoon we met in Längenfeld in the Ötztal for the material issue for the via ferrata course of the Mammut Alpine School. We were only eight participants with a mountain guide, which I found to be a very pleasant and manageable group size. It should not be more for safety reasons and you could get to know each other in the short time of two and a half days.
Already when registering for the course you could specify all material online, which you would like to test by Mammut. So you had the opportunity to try out latest material from Mammut for the whole course. Hardshell, softshell, sturdy climbing pants, high hiking boots, climbing helmet, climbing harness, headlamp and via ferrata set were available. I borrowed a via ferrata set and a great softshell jacket. For those who were not well equipped, this option was ideal. The material was mostly completely new or in great condition.
After everyone had their equipment, there was in the nice guesthouse a great dinner with fresh trout from the house pond. Shortly the program was announced for tomorrow and the guide showed us the printed descriptions of the via ferrata that were available for the weekend. Participants wondered what we should pack in the backpack.
Our accommodation gave us the so-called "Ötztal Premium Card", With the heaps of great discounts to free entrances in the entire Ötztal got. We use our three hours free entry into the nearby Therme Längenfeld on the same evening. The pension owners lent us very courteous two wheels and so we were able to cycle back late from the spa.
Climbing garden Moosalm
On Saturday morning we went to the practice via ferrata in the climbing garden after breakfast. "Moosalm"Above Sölden. At the end of the 20-minute ascent our guide showed how to properly put on the harness and attach the via ferrata set. We ran up to the entrance of the via ferrata. The guide showed us how to click the carabiners into the wire rope and pointed out that you always have to click one. Then it already started. Since my girlfriend and I have already gone a via ferrata, we got going first.
- difficulty: the middle part was a bit steeper (C) and the participants were still struggling here. Also, I found this via ferrata partly as beginner via ferrata a bit tricky, since the C and C / D passages were certainly not easy. The climb is provided with numerous ladders, rather exposed and carved into the blocky rock.
- Rope length and time required: this "via ferrata" was probably referred to as "light" because it only had a small rope length of 150 meters and 80 meters of altitude, which had to be mastered in thirty minutes. For the descent you needed another twenty minutes.
With some strength and courage, all participants made it to the end. But since these were beginners, most of them had never climbed before or were traveling in very exposed terrain, they had to swallow after this practice via ferrata.
Via ferrata Lehner waterfall
At break we returned to the Moosalm. In the afternoon was the via ferrata "Lehner waterfall"On our plan. Two students here decided not to do this, which for them the short via ferrata already had in the morning to difficult passages. The via ferrata "Lehner Wasserfall" is located in Lehn near Längenfeld.
- difficulty: This began with two vertical passages of difficulty C, then A / B up to a variant D / E (roof overhang with iron ladder), but you could easily handle.
- Rope length and time requiredThe track has a rope length of 430 meters and 220 meters of altitude, for which we needed half an hour.
A very nice via ferrata, which is also feasible on a very hot day like this. Initially, there are still some larch trees that provide shade and at the end of the trail leads directly to the imposing waterfall. By the wind one feels a pleasant water dust in the air. Since 2014 there is a new branch at the end of this via ferrata. However, this is only suitable for experienced, since it is a very steep, longer overhanged rock wall.
Our guide proposes to take the spectacular rope bridge opposite the waterfall at the end of the climb. In a few minutes you will reach the last part of the difficult new variant. You climb a few meters down the via ferrata to the beginning of the rope bridge. The rope bridge spans a whole 35m. Now you can look down into the deep gorge in the direction of the valley or be impressed by the falling water masses. I decide on that hot day in the direction of the waterfall, which cools you down with frighteningly cold water splashes. Very impressive and therefore the highlight, this crossing! The evening we could then finish comfortably at dinner together.
Via ferrata Reinhard Schiestl
The guide should assess our level and choose our via ferrata for Sunday's graduation. The choice was between "Stuibenfall" and "Reinhard Schiestl" via ferrata. The mountain guide opted for the Reinhard Schiestl via ferrata because he considered us a strong group. It is the most difficult via ferrata in the Ötztal and located on the steep Burgsteiner Wand. It leads over an almost vertical granite wall over two hundred meters in the air. He has a lot of kicking aids, which were also good for smaller women. In total, there are three rest areas, where you can hang out to rest. The via ferrata is not continuous, but longer lasting exhausting. Power and endurance should be enough here. After a short time you have reached an enormous height and has a wonderful far and deep view of the Ötztal. Especially on this via ferrata is that he is actually right next to the main road. Thus, it is very fast and easy to reach. Again, we have long pleasant shade and can handle the climb without exhausting heat.
At noon we were back at the car, gave the borrowed material back and got even as a souvenir an official via ferrata certificate.
- difficulty: The entry wall was steep and had a small overhang with C / D. Thereafter, continuous B / C with partly steep wall structure, a traverse B and then a steep step D.
- Rope length and time required: 200 meters in altitude and 300 meters of rope length for which one takes one and a half to two hours.
The descent down to Asthlen (district of Längenfeld) then takes another forty-five minutes.
Training content according to the program overview
- Walking in the trackless terrain
- Instruction in the right equipment and its safe use
- Handling the security elements / techniques on the via ferrata
- Walking techniques and behavior on the via ferrata
- specific alpine dangers
- Assessment of complex situations
- Lecture about dangers and risks at the via ferrata
In my opinion, with beginners who for the most part had no climbing experience yet, one could have gone to the climbing garden on the first day. Climbing a fixed rope route or an easy route to feel the feel for the rock, the structures for grips and kicks, and get a sense of shifting your body weight and position on the rock. That could have made the following day easier on the practice via ferrata. It was a pity that two participants could not walk either the Lehner waterfall or the difficult Reinhard Schiestl via ferrata. At this point, the easier Stuibenfall via ferrata would have been more suitable, so that all participants could go along. We learned little about "techniques on the via ferrata". Everyone was actually climbing on it and the guide did not stay at the bottom of the group to see everyone come up or switch back and forth in the group, but came in third. My girlfriend and I always climbed in advance as we had no difficulties. We did not learn anything about the "Assessment of complex situations" and a "talk about risks and risks at the via ferrata". This missed the participants, who had mostly traveled a whole day. We were always able to ask questions that were then answered well and in detail. But who as a beginner had never seen a via ferrata, what should he ask in advance? Here would be a way to introduce the first evening to show a small film or photos of elements of different climbing trails. So that the participants can get an idea what to expect on a via ferrata and how to deal with it.
The joint practice of the via ferrata was good, the selection for a beginner course, however, too difficult. It would have been nice, we would have managed to complete the entire course with all participants to the end. It happens again and again that the differences in a group are very high, here one should orient oneself in my opinion to the weakest ones. In terms of content one could have shown more technology and know-how. Questions were always very detailed and helpful answered. All in all, we liked the course because we were able to walk the tracks independently and were no longer pure beginners. However, we could not really broaden our knowledge. For those who have been traveling in trackless, exposed terrain and have gained their first experience in rock climbing, this course is well suited for getting to know of via ferrata.