OverviewThe west ridge is the easiest way to reach the summit, but to reach it's entry a glacier hike is necessary (see the different possibilities in the Approach section). From the entry at the notch "Obere Windlucke" it takes approximately 30 to 90 minutes to reach the summit, depending on the conditions and if you do or do not belay (250m height difference). The ridge is a cableroute. Until mid of summer snow and ice is possible on the ridge. Under good and dry conditions it can be recommended also for older children in good shape and for unexperienced people, but they should be belayed (ridge is often exposed, sometimes great views in the 1000m high southface are possible).
Tip: A great Dachstein crossing is possible in either east or west direction:
a) if based on Adamek hut, ascend via west ridge, descend via northeast wall and return via Steinerscharte to Adamek hut (or vice versa).
b) if based in Ramsau or in Dachsteinsuedwand hut, ascend via east ridge, descend via west ridge and return via Steinerscharte to Hallstaetter glacier. From there either descend via Hunerscharte or Edelgriess to Ramsau or Dachsteinsuedwand hut.
If "b)" is done without cablecar help, then very long and strenuous, but still doable in one long day for people in good shape.
ApproachIf you are an admirer of magnificent landscapes, I recommend the approach from "Vorderer Gosau" lake via Adamek hut. This is also of interest for the more or less extreme rock climbers, because most of the peaks with the great sports climbing and classic routes around Adamek hut can be seen on this trail.
1) from Adamek hut (60 to 150 minutes to the entry): 550m height difference to "Obere Windlucke". To cross the Gosau glacier it's possible early in the year to follow the "Linzer Weg" a few minutes, but soon traverse slightly ascending to a broad, snowfilled gully below "Hohe Schneebergwand". Ascend through the gully towards Mitterspitz and along it's eastside across the glacier towards "Obere Windlucke" (2746m). This can save you an hour.
This route cannot be used in summer or autumn, if there is no snow in the gully. In this case you must follow the red marks through the lowest rocky base of Hohe Schneebergwand. In that case the ascent can take a hour longer, and often crampons are needed, because the lower part of the glacier then mostly has blank ice.
2) From Dachsteinwarte hut (90 to 120 minutes to the entry): across Hallstaetter glacier first flat, then slightly descending pass the base rocks of "Niederer Dachstein" to the notch "Steinerscharte". Cross the Steinerscharte (cableroute, vertical ladder) to Gosau glacier. Follow the possibilities along the westside of "Niederer Dachstein" across the glacier to "Obere Windlucke".
3) From Simonyhut (2 to 3 hours to the entry): follow the trail to Hallstaetter glacier and walk below the eastside of "Niederes Kreuz" and "Hohes Kreuz" to the notch "Steinerscharte". From there as described under "2)".