Innsbrucker Via Ferrata — My First — and TNF Clothing Review


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 31, 2018      

This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry

Innsbrucker Klettersteig.

Innsbrucker Klettersteig.

Adventure is like crisp mountain air; you never tire of breathing it. So it was with great delight that I accepted an invitation to do my first via ferrata: Innsbrucker Klettersteig in the Karwendel mountains, Tirol, Austria. It’s a beautiful ridge scramble high above Innsbruck. Views of the Karwendel range on one side and the Stubai peaks on the other will have a ski mountaineer’s eye registering routes like a camera set on burst mode. Along with the adventure, my plan was to test a few North Face clothing items, so I’ll interject them below.

There are many options to hike and climb along the ridge. The basic route of the Innsbrucker Klettersteig goes from Hafelekar Station (top of the tram) to Frau-Hitt-Peak. At the halfway point is a long saddle, “Langen Sattel,” where you can choose to continue, or you can hike back down to Hafelekar Station.

Hearty exercise, a few thrills and breathtaking views on a glorious sunny day — welcome to my new favorite cross train for ski mountaineering: via ferrata.

Checking the weather the morning of our trek foretold a classic day in the mountains with conditions ranging from sun, gusty winds, and a slight chance of rain. I packed my North Face Summit L3 Proprius Primaloft Hoodie for evaluation, which turned out to be the perfect layer. It shielded the wind and kept me warm but not roasting. The hoodie fits over my helmet but I wore it underneath, snug against my ears. Lately it seems that every wool or fleece cap makes me itchy, so comfort was a plus of having the silky nylon hood against my skin. All in all, a trusty layer I was glad to have.

And, just in case of precip, I also stowed my super lightweight North Face Summit L5 Ultralight Storm Jacket. It packs up smaller than an orange and at 6 ounces, weighs less than a juicy pome. It turned out the skies remained clear and I didn’t need it but you never know in the high alpine. It’s always good to be prepared.

You know you're in a first class tourist town when the entrance of the tram is a piece of art.

You know you’re in a first class tourist town when the entrance to the tram is a piece of art.

We got off at the third tram station and warmed up with a hike to Hafelekar Bergstation near the top of the ridge.

The tram ends at Hafelekar Bergstation, near the start of the via ferrata. Instead, we got off at the station before (Seegrube, 1905m, the third station) and warmed up with a hike to the ridge.

After an hour of hiking the Hafelekar Vergstation comes into view.

After an hour of hiking, the Hafelekar Bergstation comes into view.

To keep things amusing, the start of the via ferrata is one of the more challenging parts of the trek.  Note the tiny climbers.

To keep things amusing, the start of the via ferrata is one of the more challenging parts of the trek. Note the tiny climbers. The Innsbrucker Klettersteig was established in 1986. Much older than the via ferrata is the route itself which Hermann Buhl and Hannes Gasser often climbed as training for their Himalayan expeditions.

At the top of the first pitch.  My North Face jacket keeping me warm.

Taking a break at the top of the first peak. My North Face jacket keeping me warm.

Well placed cables along the ridge made sections of "fall you die" safe(r).

Well placed cables along the ridge made sections of “fall you die” safe(r).

View of Hafelekar Bergstation below.

View of Hafelekar Bergstation below.

Strategically placed cables and rebar footholds.

Strategically placed cables and re-bar footholds make the route quite doable.

Approaching the Langen Sattel (Long Saddle) near the end of section 1.

Approaching the Langen Sattel (Long Saddle) midpoint of the via ferrata.

Descending on the trail back to Hafelekar Bergstation

Descending on the trail back to Hafelekar Bergstation.

Our route

Our route: Hafelekar to Kemacher Peak to Langer Sattel.

Partway up the mountain you switch tram cars

I can’t get enough of Zaha Hadid’s stunning architecture. Partway on the tram ride you switch cars at her distinctive Hungerburg.Bergstation.

Almost down the mountain, views of Innsbruck from the tram.

Almost down the mountain, views of Innsbruck on a spectacular fall day.

Lou would have ended the tour with a beer but since I was with the girls, we indulged with Innsbruck famous drink, Eiskaffe.

Lou would have ended the tour with a beer but since I was with the WildSnow girls, we indulged with Innsbruck’s famous drink, Eiskaffee — like a rootbeer float except with espresso: ice cream, coffee and whipped cream — heaven!



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Comments

5 Responses to “Innsbrucker Via Ferrata — My First — and TNF Clothing Review”

  1. JCoates October 31st, 2018 8:45 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    Nice write up. This is a great klettersteig but make sure you plan it well if you’re a newbie. I did it with my daughter who was 12 y/o at the time (she did her first one at 6) and well within her experience level. However, we went with a group of older Americans who hadn’t done any klettersteigs in the past. Because our group was so slow we missed the gondola back down into town at the end of the day. I wouldn’t have minded the bivy but I didn’t want to subject my daughter to it. Luckily one of the huette wardens felt sorry for us when we showed up in their dining room at 10pm and they graciously drove us back into town. Interesting night and a good introduction for my daughter how NOT to plan a day in the mountains.

  2. DJ November 1st, 2018 8:26 am

    Great photos!

  3. Louis Dawson November 1st, 2018 1:02 pm

    Wow that looks awesome! Pretty cool that it’s accessible right from the tram station in town.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 November 1st, 2018 2:05 pm

    As is often the case, the Euros show us how to really use cable access.

  5. Lisa Dawson November 3rd, 2018 10:27 am

    JCoates, thanks for the reminder to be aware of the tram’s shut off time. Also, I heard that sometimes the tram stops at Seegrube, the third station, and doesn’t continue to Hafelekar Bergstation. Hiking from Seegrube to the start of the via ferrate (as we did) adds an hour each way.

    Your daughter is awesome! So good to hear about another WildSnow girl getting after it. I bet she would have enjoyed the bivvy as another epic day with Dad!





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