This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry
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.