The fascinating mountain range Steinberge - climbing adventoures guaranteed!

Many of those, who start to go climbing a lot, love the sport and never want to stop with it again. That's understandable, because it really is a demanding challenge for body and soul, a training for your stamina, strengh, flexibility and skilfulness. The majority of climbers start in a climbing hall, however, the big adventures are waiting outside at the rocks. There are not many regions left, which can offer such a huge range of climbing possibilites, for first tries as well as for demanding alpine tours, as the region Saalfelden Leogang. We accompanied Klaus, a guest of the region, on his first climbing experiences in the mountains of Leogang. Read for yourself, how he managed.

Climbing enthusiasm

Since his last vacation here in Saalfelden Leogang, Klaus has been fascinated by the numerous climbing stories. For weeks he thought about them, until he decides to book a beginner course in the climbing hall Felsenfest in Saalfelden. Soon he knows about proper belaying, rappelling, learns various knots and techniques that make climbing easier. He finds great joy in the new sport, but he can no longer suppress the urge for "more". Klaus knows exactly what the "more" is. It is the rock, shaped by nature over millions of years, that fascinates him. He wants to explore it, in its natural state, far away from hustle and bustle and noise. He reads in a magazine about the mountains Steinberge in Saalfelden Leogang - a climbing paradise with excellent infrastructure and experienced state-certified mountain guides. That's where he has to go.

Proper information and organization

Two weeks later, Klaus travels to the Pinzgau region. He already booked a hotel as well as a state certified mountain and ski guide on the internet. He has already been looking forward to this moment for a long time, and so he is really excited as he waits in the lobby of the hotel with his equipment until he meets his guide, Ingolf Hammerschmied. He will spend the next two days with him. Exactly at 7.00 p.m. Klaus meets with the climbing expert. After a warm welcome, they talk about experiences, Ingolf answers all the questions Klaus has, they look at their equipment and they plan their tour and how much time they need. At the next day at 7.30 a.m. they start. Ingolf picks up Klaus and together they drive to Weißbach bei Lofer. 

Between forest, meadows and mountains

The ascent of 700 meters in altitude to the mountain hut Passauer Hütte, which is located at the north side of the mountain range Leoganger Steinberge is absolutely beautiful. First of all, the path leads through a forest until Klaus and Ingolf reach a cozy litte hunting lodge. There, they refill their drinking bottles and then they continue through the forest until they reach a meadow, which is full of beautiful flowers and is called "Grub". About 2 hours later, they reach the mountain hut Passauer Hütte. The host of the hut welcomes them, shows them their sleeping places and serves them a tasty soup. 

Finally, the rock

Now it's time: The first touch of the rock, conquer it and reach the summit. At midday, the two of them start off to the via ferrata Leogang Nord. Ingolf gave Klaus exact instructions and now repeats the most important aspects: "The level of difficulty of the via ferrata varies between B and C, the wall is 160 metres high, exposed to the north. It will take us about two and a half hours to get there and to get back again." After 10 minutes, they reach the start of the via ferrata. They take a small break and again check the equipment (climbing harness, rope, helmet and gloves). After all questions have been answered, they climb the first passage, which is already quite demanding. It is especially important to keep sufficient distance and that both carbines are always attached to the rope. After the first demanding rock, they can take a small break, because the passage afterwards is not as steep. It leads to the "Jausenkammerl", which is a place, where they can even sit down for a little while. 

Klaus is over the moon! He feels great and is super happy that he already came so far on his first via ferrata. After the short break, they climbt the next passage, called "Überhangl" until they reach the next, easier part of the climbing route, the "lange Wiese" (long meadow). After it a small trail leads along the "Wendltreppe" (spiral staircase) to the trail "Passauer Steg", which is a suspension brigde. Klaus is fascinated by the bridge, because it exists just of three ropes. One for the feet and the other two for the hands, to hold on to. He balances across the bridge and at the end he is so happy that he made it that he cheers loudly. He feels like the king of the world. However, it's not the end of the via ferrata. There are still some specialities to discover, for example the "Teufelsloch" - a hole in the mountain, which you have to pass to get to the south side of the mountain range. After the hole there are only a few metres left and they reach the beautiful cross at the summit of the western summit, called Mitterspitze (2.160m). Klaus is stunned. The cross is a piece of art itself. The cross, formed from iron bars, encloses a concreted hand - a true work of art. After they enjoyed the amazing view of Saalfelden Leogang, have eaten their snacks and enjoyed a summit schnapps, they start their descent. They pass steep mountain paths, called "Henner-Leiter", the "Passauer Steg" and then the same way, which they already know until they reach the mountain hut Passauer Hütte. 

Evening glow and "Pinzgawurm"

To conquer the via ferrata, was a dream come true for Klaus. He is absolutely happy and full of energy. Also Ingolf is happy and really proud that Klaus did so well, he notices that he has enough energy to conquer another summit at the same day. And you can already imagine what Klaus' opinion is. His eyes shine and so the two of them start with another tour. They ascent the mountain again (200m), until they reach the summit Hochzint (2.246m). As they sit at the summit, look at the sun, which already sets, they talk about the day, Ingolf points to the west and says: " The south wall of the mountain Birnhorn belongs to one of the three highest walls of the eastern Alps. It is 1.400 metres high and there is a climbing route along the south wall, which is 45 pitches." After the amazing sunset, they return to the mountain hut Passauer Hütte, where they spend their night, together with 25 other guests and hikers. 

The finale "Late summer dream"

There is a saying that the weather will be nice the next day, when there is an evening glow the day before. So, the weather is super the next day and Klaus and Ingolf already had breakfast and started their tour at 8.30 a.m., now they are on their way to the south wall of the mountain Kuchelhorn. Today they go alpine sport climbing. Ingolf and his colleague Hermann Eder were the first ones, in 2010, who went on this tour, which they called "Late summer dream". That's the reason why Ingolf knows the mountain so well and so he is the first to climb it. However, Klaus is already on its way and he is very good as well. The most difficult part of the via ferrata is level 6. At midday, they reach the summit, where they find a simple cross on it. Klaus is over the moon again, he really is a climbing enthusiast now. When they reached the mountain hut Passauer Hütte again, Klaus immediately asks Ingolf if he is available again in about two weeks, as Klaus has some days off work then and he wants to come again and learn as much as possible about climbing. "Of course, I have time for you Klaus," Ingolf says "For me it is really super to teach such a climbing enthusiast as you. And with me, as a state certified mountain guide, you can make nothing wrong. I already have some ideas where we can go next time. From the mountain hut Riemannhaus, we could conquer the summit Schönfeldspitze. It looks like a pyramid and there is a huge cross on it with Maria, who holds Jesus. It's an unforgettable adventure on the mountain."

Explanation of terms: 

Climbing difficulty grades 1 to 12, UIAA scale (common in Austria and Germany):

  • up to 5+ with mountain guide for sporty persons; basic knowledge "sport climbing" presupposed
  • 6- to 8- regular climbing in alpine terrain required
  • 9- bis 12 professional league

Climbing in the climbing hall: 

  • Secured from nature, weather and outside influences
  • Maintained belays
  • Small spacing of belays (belay hooks every 1.5 m)

Sport Climbing outdoors: 

  • External influences are given (helmet recommended)
  • Belays are good
  • Spacing of belays is a bit wider than in the hall

Alpine sport climbing:

  • Multiple pitches in alpine terrain
  • Route is secured with bolts
  • Spacing between pitons is sometimes a bit wider
  • Requires experienced/solid lead climber
  • Numerous climbing routes are in the climbing guide "Steinplatte"

Alpine climbing:

  • Multiple pitches in alpine terrain
  • Intermediate pitons are not always drilled, sometimes also bolts
  • Secure yourself with wedges and friends
  • Belays are not always available
  • Safe handling of mobile belay devices a prerequisite
  • Numerous climbing routes are in the climbing guide "Steinplatte"


Pictures: Saalfelden Leogang, Sportalpen, Bergparadiese, Daniel Roos