Via ferrata Eisenerzer and “funny” descent

After a very long time me and my wife are going to climb our first via ferrata in this year at the end of April. None of us have been on Eisenerzer via ferrata, so we are going to climb it. Part of the decision is that top is not too high so there should not be lot of snow at the end of April. Weather forecast is great, so we are going to climb it on Saturday.

It is pain to wake up in the morning. Both of us are lazy, so it definitely not the quick wake up. As always, I pack my stuff in the morning, which doesn’t help at all. Bright side of this attitude that I always forgot to pack something, so I have to be McGiver in the mountains. It is shortly before nine, when we get into the car a start driving towards Eisenerz.

Shortly after eleven we park in Eisenerz. We want to climb via ferrata Eisenerz, it condition allows that we will go to Pfaffenstein summit and descent via Sudwandsteing. According Bergsteigen it should take about 6 hours. It is already summer time, sunset start around 9pm, so we have plenty of time.

From the beginning we go on steep path up and from time to time cross some road in the woods. Later it gets even steeper, but at least we could clearly see how we are getting closer to the wall.

Since breakfast we have eaten nothing and it is already after 1:00 pm. We are somewhere on the crest and it is time for lunch. It is not easy to find not windy place, so we can enjoy the lunch. Finally we got it, under big trees in a shade. View towards other side of valley is perfect. For moments like this we both love hiking.

After the lunch we have to keep walking few more minutes until we reach beginning of Eisenerzer via ferrata. Time to put on all the gear and start our first climb of the season. As always beginning is bit harder than the rest. Most of the via ferrata is very easy. There are only few technical parts at the end of the climb.

Path offers great views towards Eisenerzer Reichenstein. Huge quarry in valley bit damages the view. Almost whole hill is gone. When we got on the other side of the crest, we can see Leopoldsteinersee and wall above the lake with Kaiser Franz Joseph via ferrata a Rosslochholen.

Near the summit we got a bit tired, because it is too hot and we ran out of the water. In whole day we just met two hikers, who are far in front of us. We just saw them close to the summit cross. However, we do not care. On the top of the mountain we are alone. Gladly we can put some snow into the bottles so we will have some water on the way down.

On the top is much more snow than we expected. Wall was completely without the snow, but here it is completely different world. Hopefully it will be just few inches/centimeters of snow. Reality is much sadder than expected. It will be fun.

After few steps it is clear there is plenty of snow. Quite often my whole leg disappears under the snow. My wife’s legs suddenly get under the snow and she is not able to pull it out. After few minutes of trying I see desperate face. I do my best to help her out. It took few minutes the free her. We are fighting with snow more than 30 minutes, but we did not get closer to Pffafenstein summit. Maybe we will get there some other time, now we need to go down directly.

Without snow it would take from Eisenerzer via ferrata end via Pffafenstein to descent path about 45 minutes. It is almost flat hike. It took us more than 2 times, and we did not go to real summit. Hiking in the snow is really demanding.

Most “fun part” is just in front of us. Firstly, we need to find the path. All foot prints go totally wrong way, away from our car. When we nice our descent path, Sudwandsteinig, we find out it is under the snow. Luckily, we are able to go around huge snow field. Later we reach place, where the descent via ferrata is under the snow. In this super steep part, it would be dangerous to walk on the snow.

Luckily, I have taken few meters of rope. My wife abseils first and I am following her. If the rope would be bit shorter we had to go all the way up and find different path. Few steps below is another snow field so we have to do all the procedure again. In this article maybe, it seems to be easy, but in reality it was not that fun. Luckily rest of the descent is without snow. Some of the parts are completely without the rope. I am bit surprised about it.

Under the wall we need to find proper path. I am almost sure, that we will get back to the car after the sunset. It is not an issue, because we have water and headlights ?
Descent seems to me endless. Wall, rocks, crossing few roads in woods and still far from the valley. From time to time I check GPS to see how far we are from the car. Finally, it is here last crossroad, but it is getting dark already. To the car it is just few minutes of walk, and between the trees we can clearly see city lights.

Whole hike took us about 9 hours. I have to tell, that during the ascent we did not do our best. We just enjoyed it. On the other side we had to fight with lots of snow and during the descent use rope two times. As some my friends are used to say: “It does not matter if experience is good or bad. It has to be really intense.”

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