It is Saturday, March 20 around 9:00 am. I am already waiting for my friend and two other guys, who I met online. Plan for today is climb Gebirgsvereinssteig. I already know that I will try to climb Wildenauersteig as well. It is short via ferrata not far from Gebirgsvereinssteig. So there is no reason not to climb.
Shortly after nine, all four of us are in the car heading to Grunbach am Schneeberg. In the car we have time bit to know each other, find out who has climbed what, and discuss about feature plans. Approximately hour and half later we are parking near Sieser Toni pension (N 47°48’23.4″ E 16°00’32.9″). As far as I know this is best place to start ascent to Gebirgsvereinssteig and Wildenauersteig.
I have parked my car, changed my shoes and after short break we are leaving parking place. Lots of parked cars means there will be a lot of people already. Hope most of them are climbing and we do not get stuck in crowd.
Few weeks or months before our visit, strong wind changed countryside look. Probably because of this, there is new hiking path to the Gebirgsvereinssteig. Honestly I don’t like it, because it is longer and you are walking up and down. On the way back I will take old way for sure. After 30 minutes we are at the starting point. Unfortunately we are not alone here. Besides us few other people is putting on all the necessary equipment and getting ready for climbing. After few first steps we need to stop. Looking at all the people on the rock, it is already clear we will spend a lot of time on the rock. Based on the language they are speaking, people who are responsible for the “traffic jam”, I am sure they are Hungarians. It is not few of them, it at least one full bus. We are trying to enjoy slow climbing by taking a lot of pictures and chatting. For me it should be part of the training for longer and more difficult via ferratas, but with this slow tempo it is just technique training. After 20 maybe 30 minutes we have moved a bit. To climb Gebirgsvereinssteig should take 60 minutes. After one hour we climbed less than one-quarter of it. I am starting to be desperate. Finally all the people in front of us start moving faster and we can climb for a while. Near Schneeberglick I am thinking for a while how should I climb this part. It takes me about minute to switch the legs on iron cramp. Once this done, climbing is easy again.
We know that group in front of us is slow, so we are take some time to take pictures on cable stayed bridge. Few meters above we stop again for couple of minutes. It is time to take a short break, have some water and wait again. One Austrian guy (I guess he was Austrian, because he was speaking German) is getting inpatient and trying to push us to climbing. However I don not see reason doing it. It doesn’t matter if I wait here, were I staying comfortable on the rock or I move few meters further and wait. Finally we are reaching last part with difficulty D and three hours later we are on the top, finally.
Me and Ondrej want to climb one more klettersteig and we agreed it will be Wildenauersteig. It is difficult enough, it is close to Gebirgsvereinssteig. Two other guys can stay up in hut. We are descending quickly using the path we will use on the way back to the car. It takes up to 15 minutes to reach Wildenauersteig starting point. This via ferrata is different from the most of the others. Main different, which makes Wildenauersteig difficult is missing iron rope. There are only iron cramps. Some of them are far from each other, so you need to do real climbing. In pas few years, few iron cramps have been added, but still is the path difficult. From my point of view Wildenauersteig is more difficult than Gebirgsvereinssteig. Despite my feeling both iron routes are marked as difficulty D on Bergsteigen web page. In terrain difficulty math my feelings. Second interesting point about Wildenauersteig is the vertical shaft, which has bigger part covered with fallen rock. Getting out of the shaft is not easy at all, especially if you have your backpack. At the end of the route is one difficult place. It is especially difficult for people who are less than 165 cm (5 feet and 5 inches) height. Iron cramps are simply to far from each other. If you are staying on one, you are not able to reach next one. I really suggest to have with you long climbing chain. This is only way, how you can keep you safe. Your ferrata set will not reach from one iron cramps to other.
Once we have reached the top, I felt great. Wildenauersteig was finally via ferrata which I enjoyed and I definitely will come back for Gebirgsvereinssteig this year. My plan is to do it in summer, when sunshine will be till 9 pm and we can have a quick trip during working day. Hopefully, there will be fewer people.