The Fallbach-Klettersteig is one of the most difficult via ferratas of Austria. It’s stretching on the vertical walls just beside the Fallbach waterfall, the highest one in Carinthia. It’s and ideal extension to any tour made in this area as this is just a few minutes walk from the road of Malta valley.
The difficulty of the route is E. There are several meters of climbing on overhanging walls without steps. The route is perfectly secured with a double line of metallic ropes (one for gripping and another for clicking the carabiners.
The total elevation is around 250m.
According to bergsteigen.at
the time needed for the ascent and descent would be 2,5 hours. However, I needed more than 3 hours.
Take the „Tauernautobahn” (A10) till the exit „Gmünd”. Here follow the signs for Malta (this is a village, not the country:) and follow the road until you see the waterfall. It cannot be missed, clearly visible and hearable from the road. There is a big parking place just below the waterfall.
You need to pay a small entrance fee in order to visit the klettersteig and the neighbouring „Wassererlebnis” park.
Cross the river by a small wooden „bridge” and follow the signs until you reach the rocks.
The route consists of three parts.
The first is quite easy, with a maximum difficulty of C/D. There is a ledge and later a vertical wall. If you find it too hard, the first escape is at the end of this section. An unmarked path deviates to the right.
The second part is a little bit harder (D). It zig-zags on a plain vertical rock with very few steps and grips. At the end of this part you can climb out to a small terrace with a nice view to the waterfall. There is another escape route from the terrace. A bridge made of three cables joins this part to the third, hardest part.
After the bridge there is a totally plain wall to which the builders must have mounted some artificial grips to make it possible to cross. The hardest parts come after this point. Several meters of climbing without any steps and resting places. The best thing you can do is to get over it as quick as you can because there is no place to relax and to loose your muscles. Another option is to have a pause while hanging only on the ropes, but I don’t like doing it while there is 200 meters of abyss below me.
After the end of the ferrata the route reaches a wide marked path. Here you must turn to the right and the path leads you back to the valley.
Via ferrata equipment with helmet and probably a pair of good gloves.
's comment is also advisable: A short sling with an additional carabiner is a great help if one wants to have a rest at the hardest points.
A perfect route description with topo and pictures is available at bergsteigen.at
Another one (also in German) is at www.klettersteig.de
The entry fee was 2,5 EUR in 2007, but the ticket was valid till the end of the year and is valid for the Wassererlebnispark also. It means that one has to pay the fee only once in a year.
I've read somewhere it was 3 EUR in 2008.