During the summer months in Obergurgl, climbing enthusiasts come from near and far to explore the wonder of the glacier world by climbing via ferratas in the area.
Via ferrata is the Italian term for “iron road” and signifies a protected climbing route found in the Alps (and few other locations) where a steel cable runs along the route and is fixed to the rock in some places. Climbers take the routes using a “via ferrata kit” so they can secure themselves to the cable to prevent falling. The cable is also used to provide help in climbing by providing security and the ability to use other climbing aids such as, carved steps, pegs, iron rungs and even ladders. Essentially, a via ferrata gives climbers the ability to take otherwise dangerous routes without the usual hazards.
There are two main via ferratas in Obergurgl that we recommend to experienced climbers:
Schwarzenkamm Via Ferrata
This demanding route will take you to new heights as you climb to a truly stunning panoramic view of the valley. Though not classified as a difficult route, the altitude and north facing walls make this climb quite demanding. Several footholds can be found along the route as well as two emergency exits.
Zirbenwald Via Ferrata
This is a beautiful route with two difficult sections where previous via ferrata experience is recommended. You’ll start by crossing a suspension bridge which will require confidence with heights, followed by some easy-walking sections with lovely views. The difficult sections are C-grade which means you shouldn’t attempt them if you have no via ferrata experience. Your descent will take you back towards Obergurgl.
You will need some professional climbing equipment to complete these routes. The Chalet at 11˚ East recommends helmets, a harness, via ferrata gloves, climbing boots and hiking poles for the descent.
The via ferrata routes in Obergurgl are truly a unique experience that will give you a taste of the beauty and tranquillity of the Otztal Valley. For more information on these climbs visit the Obergurgl tourism site www.obergurgl.com.