At the end of 2014 I have discovered Konigsjodler via ferrata in Berchtesgadens Alps. After first few pictures and couple of YouTube videos I knew, I have to climb this route. In next couple of day it became one of my New years resolutions.
At the beginning of March my dream become more realistic. Friend of mine come with possibility to spend one week in Gastein, which is just 40 km far from Konigsjodler via ferrata. Condition of the stay were more than great. I didn’t need to think about it. For me it was clear “go”.
During preparation for Konigsjodler via ferrata I did lot of hiking and climbing. From bergsteigen.com webpage I had information it is more than 10 hours hike, and I definitely didn’t want to underestimate it. Whole training wasnt a pain, cause I did only thing which I love – hiking and climbing via ferrata, difference was, that I need to do it more often.
Already first day of vacation in Gastein valley, I have checked weather forecast for whole week. Hopefully, there will be at least one sunny day. Doing Konigsjodler via ferrata in bad weather doesn’t make any sense. At least for hours you are “tied” to lightning rod. I got really lucky. Whole week was almost perfect but Wednesday and thursday were more than perfect. With my friends I have agreed on vacation plan, so on Wednesday I can climb Konigsjodler via ferrata. I would like to say THANKS to all of them.
Day before Konigsjodler via ferrata was easy one. We didn’t plan any hiking, instead of it we went to wellness. Whole day all kind of thoughts coming to my mind. Am I in good shape to do it? When should we wake up? What time do we need to start? How long will it takes? In afternoon we sit all together. Martin will go with me. He is not going to climb Kongisjodler, he will be waiting at the top. I let know other guys, if it will take much longer, we will spend night at Matrahaus – hut on the top.
It is shortly after 10:00pm and I am ready for bed. Alarm clock is set to 04:00am and hopefully we will leave apartment around 04:30am. In the middle of the night I woke up with feeling I have overslept.False alarm. It is just 02:17am. However I can not fall a sleep again. After a while Martins alarm clock go on.
04:00 am Both of us are getting up and having quick breakfast. After the breakfast I unpack my backpack, just to make sure I have everything I will need. I hadn’t had enough of sleep. I am not sure If I will manage it today. Anyway Konigsjodler via ferrata is just 40 km away, and I have to try it.
04:30 am It is time to leave apartment. Within a minute we are in the car and ready to hit the road. I don’t need to set gps to get to the Konigsjodler. I did this route on the map like million times, I am sure I will find parking place without problem. On the horizon we already see some mountains. we are almost there
05:15 am Car is locked, so we can leave parking place. From my backpack I am taking out my head lamp. To the Erichhute it is just 30 minutes walk on gravel road. Horizon behind the mountains is getting orange. Daybreak is coming. I didn’t need my head lamp. We can almost clearly see the mountains. Martin is pointing his finger to some peaks, saying you are going to climb them. I hope that Konigsjodler via ferrata is somewhere else.
5:45 am We are at Erichhutte hut. There is no time to stop. Now are mountains totally clear. Few hundred meters above us we can spot the flash. Hard to say if it is from camera or head light. I know those mountains, and now fully agree with Martin I am going to climb this mountains. It is Konigsjodler via ferrata. It looks great, but it scares me. We need to speed up, otherwise I will have no time to do it in one day. Ascent is nice and easy and I have plenty of time to enjoy the view and think. Why it is only us who are go up? Weather should be great. Or not? What if weather forecast has changed, and everybody knows, except me? I had to get rid of all those thoughts. Finally I see couple people far behind us. They are going our way. Why do they start so late? Answer comes in next 30 minutes, when they are passing us close to the Konigsjodler via ferrata starting point.
07:30 am Here it is. Konigsjodler via ferrata start. Man in his 40s, who passed us, is already climbing and I can not even see him. Young skinny girl is already climbing. We are asking guy, which way is regular hiking path to the Matrahuas. He is just guessing. It is time to have small snack, sip of water and “suit up” to via ferrata set. In the meantime other tourist are coming. Martin and I agreed we will meet and Matrahaus hut. If anything happened we will call or text to each other.
Konigsjodler via ferrata
08:00 am I am starting to climb. Konigsjodler is giving me a hard time from the start. I have no idea how to start, need to pull my self up. Finally I did it. Now what? This part of the rope is difficult. Lets try from the other. No, this is not a good way. Again I need to pull my self up for few meters using hands. Whole via ferrata should be easy, what the hell is this? Do I really want to climb it? Maybe it is better idea to go back, while I can. No, no no. It is 08:00am I have plenty of time to do it. If climbing will take 8 hours nothing happened. Still have plenty of time to go back. From now on, I don’t want to have this kind of thoughts. Next part of climbing are really easy, and I fully enjoy them. There is a couple of small summits. Once you go from left, than from right or directly thru the top. Climbing up is alwasy easier. Finally I really enjoy the route. Terrain is extremely exposed, but I love it. From time to time I need to do long step, to reach from one summit to another. As a shorter guy I am hoping, no bigger steps will be needed. After few descent I realize that I don’t like them. It is really tiring for my arms. There is a plenty steps, but going down via via ferrata is not what I have trained. People who started climbing after me are still further and further. Now I am totally calm, I am well prepared. Cable stay bridge is infront of me. It is about 10 meters (30 feet) long. I am not scared of height at all. In the middle of the bridge I have to stop. I hear my name. From down Martin is shouting my name. He found hiking path going up, which is good. During descent from one of the summits is “traffic jam”. After few more steps I understand why. Flying fo is a one rope which goes from one pillar to another. Again it is only one rope. So you need to fix yourself to the rope using extra carabines and only using your hands pull yourself thru. Length of the “bridge” is about 15-20 meters (45 – 60 feet). It feels really great and I enjoy it. On the other side I let 3 Italian guys to pass me. One of the is not secured by via ferrata set. Later I am passing group of 5 people who are responsible for “traffic jam”. They are too slow. One of guys is scared to death. After a while I am again alone. Going down from another summit. I see already “last” ascent. I am climbing only for two hours and I see the last ascent. I am damn good :)
10:15 am Under “last” ascent in regular hiking terrain is placed sign saying this is emergency exit and If I want I can exit from Konigsjolder via ferrata. I don’t care about those lines, however next lines make me nervous. They are informing me, that I am only in half way and remaining part can take 3 to 4 hours of climbing. Oh f..k. I am upset why I didn’t same the map of Konigsjodler via ferrata to my cell phone. I have all the geocaches but not the map. Geocaches. That is an idea. I can easy check how far is the closest one, and one which is situated at the of this route. It is 200 meters to the closest one, and 500 meters to the end. 200 meter by walk takes 5 minutes, in this terrain is will be 20, not more. I will do it no matter what. Anyway I am out of the energy so it is time for a short snack, sip of water and relax for a while. Next part is one of the most difficult of whole route. It is classified as D. I hope it wont be that difficult. Luckily it is not from climbing point of view. However I am physically tired. In the wall another two people are passing me. First guy is really fast, he is not even secured to the rope. I am able to spot other guy on the next summit sitting on rescue box. During the brake I really enjoy the view from Konigsjodler via ferrata. Matrahaus, which I can clearly see, gives me energy. For me it means hot soup and descent. Suddenly I hear strange sound. Who is playing such a loud music? This is not going to be some teenager, it is classic music. At apartment Martin shows me this video. Some guy was playing on trumpet at Konigsjodler via ferrata.
11:15 am “20 minutes later” I have finally reached the geocache. It is called Konigsjodler via ferrata. What a innovative name. My time is good, so there is no need to panic. I don’t panic, I am frustrated when I see how much I need to descent and ascent again. Time for a break have some food, drink and relax on rescue box. Again I have descent using via ferrata. All catches and steps are for longer people than 1,70 m. Finally I have made the decent
11:50 am Again ascent. Another vertical part with difficulty D. Technically it is not rocket science, but if you are tired everything is harder. Couple minutes later it not that vertical, and difficulty decrees to C. Finally there is plenty of catches and steps. With each step route is becoming more and more horizontal. I hear voice saying you made it. It is Martin waiting for me at the end of Konigsjodler via ferrata. He is asking me to say couple of words to video. I don’t want to use the F word, so I am just saying having sex. He understood in a second and stops recording. Matrahaus is also f…ing far. It is few meters above us, but as always you need to descent first. Hopefully in 30 minutes I will be eating hot soup.
01:00 pm Matrahuas, and they have a soup. It is not my favourite one, but I don’t care. It took us almost 45 minutes to get here from end of Konigsjodler via ferrata. Soup makes me feel better. I feel new energy. We need to buy water as well. Adding magnesium and C vitamin will help us survive this day. Now it time to do some pictures around the hut and see the Konigsjodler from top. My suggestion is to go longer route down, but it should be more comfortable. Short one, which Martin took on the way up is really demanding. Martin is saying it is not that bad. According map I guess we are back in the car in 3 hours.
02:00 pm Time to leave hut and start descending. First of all we are going to get the geocache, which is out of our direction. We need to descend a lot because of the geocache. No we don’t need this one. We are back on our way down. At the crossroad to Birgkarsteig we found one geocache. Begining of descent goes thru small rocks, which are really slippy. Martin shows me some huge rock somewhere down. Thats the end of the worst part. We should be there soon, it is not that far. Between hut and crossroad we have met 5 slow people, which I have passed on Konigsjodler via ferrata. They were asking why we are going down this way. Longer route is much better. I told him, Martin went up using Birgkarsteig this morning. And it is not that bad. I had no idea how wrong I was.
15:30 pm Most difficult part is done, but we have descent only 300 meters from Matrahaus. Next part seem better. It is indeed. You can normally walk, of course there are couple of places where you need to use your hands. Just to be sure not do fall down to the valley. Finally is descent faster, but we are still far beyond 2 000 meters of altitude. Martin is showing me the place, where he got down from Konigsjodler via ferrata to this route. That is crossroad where we need to go. It seem to be close. Few meters after the crossroad we are losing hiking path, which goes to the valley. We need to go around huge fallen rocks and snow field. Martin hates snow field. For me it is better than regular path. Soon we are on nice grass, where we can sit and have a short break. Martin is out of water. I offered him mine. Hopefully within an hour we are back at car.
17:30 pmFinally we are in knee timber and I am getting in better mood. Knee timber means we are about in 1600 m of altitude. I hate descent already. I am glad for each small ascent. It is hard to go up, but still easier than down. We cross some farm with lots of cows and heading to the forest. I see some ascent, but I am too tired to go up. It is just 20 maybe 30 meters, but I hate it. From now on we have only descent to the hut, where we can have some refreshment. Based on geocache it is less than 1 kilometer. In reality it will be more, cause road doesn’t go straight.
18:30 pm Both of us having soft drinks. I am taking of my shoes. Finally my feet can breath. For last hour I have feel pain in my right knee. Hopefully it will be ok. I am totally exhausted. In my plans is one similar via ferrata. During the break I have asked Martin to punch me in the face, if I go there. Grossglockner alpine road is planned for tomorrow. What a great plan. Now I need to put my shoes on and walk another 600 meters to get to the car. We have energy to search for another geocache. We are not that tired as we think.
19:05 pm We made in less than 14 hours. It is great feeling to put on clean sox and running shoes. Near the parking we found last geocahe of the day. On the way home we talked about nice experience we had today. It was definitely worth of visit.
In the afternoon I am totally exhausted and broken. Shower help me a lot. I still do not realize that I have made my dream come true. Hopefully it will come later.
During writing the article I noticed that I have smile in my face. All the beauty I have seen and great experience in Konigsjodler via ferrata was totally worth of visit. In my life I probably didnt do any harder, more demanding hike than Konigsjodler via ferrata. I have to say it again, it is worth it. I am sure I will come back to this route again in couple of years. You can split it in two days. First day go up and spend day climbing, sleep over in Matrahaus and second day you can go down. Anyway I suggest to start climbing early in the morning. For couple of days I have thought about Konigsjodler itself and this mountain range is from my point of view very similar to Totes Gebirge.