A myth has now become accessible. The “Hüttschlager Wand” used to be regarded as practically impassable, even for experienced climbers. But since summer 2009, a secured via ferrata climb known as the “Kupfergeist” provides access to this imposing rock face. 150 m of vertical rock, difficulty C – E.
For rookies there is also a parallel, somewhat shorter and easier practice via ferrata – the “Gletschergoass” (rated A – C; length: 150 m; height: 50 m).
Since 2012, we have added the “Franzl” via ferrata (named after its builder, Richard Franzl), which is 400 meters long with a 210 m vertical gain; rated C – D.
Other rock-climbing opportunities in Grossarltal include the “Bella Cascinaia” via ferrata on the Saukarkopf (elev. 2,048 m) along with some 10 climbing routes (varying in difficulty) on the Schuhflicker (2,214 m) and the peaks below it. A complete set of mountaineering gear, including a helmet, is an absolute must.
You can get to the “Kupfergeist”, “Gletschergoass” and “Franzl” via ferratas directly from the center of Hüttschlag. The base of these climbs takes hikers about 25 minutes to reach.
ACCESS: A hiking trail from Hüttschlag town center brings you easily to the base of this climb in about 25 minutes (turn left after Tischlerei Huber).
KUPFERGEIST: Awaiting you here is a via ferrata climb about 240 meters long with a 140 m vertical gain, rated D and E.
The climb ends at the so-called “Ausstiegskanzel”, which you can also reach via a marked hiking path leading from Hüttschlag towards the Hundegg. The last section of the hiking path is secured with cables, so it is only recommended for hikers with a head for heights.
Once at the Ausstiegskanzel, you will be able to enjoy unique views of Hüttschlag and the valley head. Then walk down via the hiking trail.
To get a true sense of the “Kupfergeist” via ferrata look at the following videos:
For everyone who isn’t as experienced at rock climbing, we also have the “Gletschergoass”, which is a practice via ferrata. It is around 250 meters long with a 55-meter gain, rated B. You reach the base via the same path that leads to the “Kupfergeist” climb.
In May 2012, a third via ferrata was created through the “Hüttschlager Wand”, the so-called “Franzl Steig”, named after the man who built it, Richard FRANZL. He is renowned in the mountaineering community for numerous unique climbs in the Alpine world, including the famous “Königsjodler” on the Hochkönig. This particular via ferrata is 400 m long with a 210 m gain. Difficulty: C – D. The base is reached via the same trail that leads to the “Kupfergeist”; the descent is also the same.
A short, though very scenic climb leads to the top of the Saukarkopf, at 2,048 m Grossarl’s most prominent alpine peak. The west face rises steeply above the lush alpine meadows below, inviting you to enjoy a beautiful climb all the way to the summit. From there, you have glorious views of the Hochkönig, Dachstein and Ankogel Group. A small footbridge also offers an “airy” challenge.
The via ferrata is easy to reach via the marked path leading to the Saukaralm and continuing in the direction of the Saukarkopf as far as the sign for the "Klettersteig".
Initially, you ascend a big rocky pillar which becomes increasingly difficult, continuing to the right via a gently overhanging ledge to a key point just before the Pfeilerkopf (D/E).
Immediately afterwards, a double-cable footbridge will take you across a ravine to the main wall, where you continue steeply upwards before the trail – now less difficult – brings you to a stage that features beautiful plated rocks. Your climb continues steeply upwards by a small ledge (C/D). There is now a short, somewhat easier section, until you finally come to another ledge bringing you to the final, difficult section of the via ferrata. Things become easier, with flatter terrain taking you to the end of the climb.
You will descend via the marked hiking path that drops down from the Saukarkopf.
Experienced climbers find numerous climbing routes on the Arlspitze, a peak just below the Schuhflicker. There is a perfect route for everyone, from short to very challenging.
Your choices include the “Weg der Jugend”, “Rückkehr des Schweinepriesters” and the “Schuastanagei”. You can find a detailed description of the different climbing routes on the Arlspitze on the following pdfs.
Regardless of the route, all climbers require a rope and full climbing gear (incl. harness and express slings) for safety.
Just as with hiking and mountaineering in general, you need to follow some basic safety rules. If you stick to these rules, you will minimize the risk of injury while climbing:
- Detailed planning – Read a description of the climbing routes in advance, then select the via ferrata that best suits your body and physical conditioning.
- Match your target to your personal skills and abilities. Rock-climbing experience and a head for heights are an absolute must.
- Bring and use complete equipment that is up to the latest standards! Helmets, harnesses and full rock-climbing gear are indispensable, while gloves and climbing shoes are highly recommended.
- Pay particular attention to the weather! In snow, rain, thunder (lightning strikes are especially dangerous), icy or wet conditions, never attempt to climb a rock face.
- Don’t place blind trust in the via ferrata safety features! Pay special attention to the safety stirrups and cables.
- Conduct a safety check of your partner before you start, including loops, knots and carabiners.
- Maintain a safe distance! A fall is often impossible to foresee and happens quickly. So always keep a distance of 2 cable anchors between climbers. Also look out for loose rock and never kick stones loose.
- Communicate clearly and early with fellow climbers and always be considerate. Let your climbing partner know what you plan to do and if you are having difficulties.
- Always descend via the marked hiking paths.