The start of the climb
This classic via ferrata is one of the finest in all of the limestone Alps and is highly recommended for the afficianado of high grade vf, together with those who have a love of extreme exposure. The rock is good, there is very little added iron hardware (Rungs etc.) so you will need to have some good scrambling and climbing techniques. The route is well protected with wire throughout and regularly placed stanchions. The summit is fabulous and is one of the best in all the Lechtaler Alps with views from its 2632m summit to die for!!!
The via ferrata builders have constructed a new way down with both wires and rungs which safely takes you into the Engelkarl. From here the route goes into the kar and is on boulders and scree. The boulders can be very dangerous so take your time and keep your helmet on!!
Finally when you get back to the middle station there is the option to take the Alpine coaster back down to your car it has40+ bends and goes very fast indeed - especially if you don't brake. Fortunateley it is held onto tracks. Have fun!!!
The Muttekopf Hutte
The Imster klettersteig is 55 kms to the west of Innsbruck and is easily accessable via the motorway of the Inn valley. When you reach Imst you must take the road to Hoch Imst (very steep and twisty - take care) then park at the bottom of the two chair lifts. From here buy a ticket and use both lifts to the top station. Buy a return - but it is best to be back for the last lift down at 4.30 p.m.(top lift) 5.00 p.m. (bottom lift)
It is better to use the first lift up in the morning and please note the upper lift only woks every day in the main two months and outside of this at weekends.
Regular post buses serve Imst from Innsbruck and beyond and travellers by car from Germany should travel via the Fernpass into the Gurgltal valley
Via Ferrata Description
Beautiful situation of the Muttekopf Hutte Looking towards the Imster klettersteig
Lots of exposure
The way up Tom scrambling at the start
The exposed rib
Doing the splits near the top
This is a grade 5 (grade D/E old grading) klettersteig and as such it should be taken seriously. A weather check and all the usual safety precautions should be taken into account especially as this goes to the top of a fairly high mountain.
Walk to the top station of the two lifts at 1981m along the very pleasant Drichlsteig to the Muttekopf Hutte (which is waymarked) in about 35 minutes along a well engineered path. The Hutte is beautifully appointed with superb views and is well worthy of a coffee break. From the back of the Hutte the Imster is signed a black route and it is 40 minutes uphill over the Guggersattel to the start of the klettersteig proper. You will find at the start of the route it announces it is 2 hours to the top - do allow however 3 hours!!
The start of the route is on superb, grippy limestone which dries after rain very quickly. The first stages are on easily climable limestone, which builds up your confidence. There then follows a series of testing moments - including a small and extremely exposed overhang where there is very little to hold on to.
As the rock steepens the scramblng becomes assisted climbing and you will need a fair amount of upper body strength. You now progress along a rib which is very exposed with some superb views. Eventually the route gives way to some easier ledges and you begin to feel the excitement is over but this is not the case the best is still to come!!
About 3/4 of the way up just as the summit cross omes into view and you have the feeling you have reached the top - the crux of the whole climb blocks your way forward. This is a 70 metre slab of sheer rock and for the feint hearted there is now an escape route to the right (on wire)which takes you down into the kar (corry/ combe)and leads you back to the Hutte without having to climb any higher.
Without a doubt most of you will press on as this part of the route is why you have come. This is one of the most spectacular places to view v.ferrata climbers progressing up the almost featureless rock.
The route initially follows a crack diagonally up the face. It is climbable with a series of foot and hand jams, until it turns a corner onto absolutely smooth rock. It is here that you will need the upper body strength to haul your way up the wire using intermittant rungs which leave it still very challanging.
After this steep almost vertical section there are a few short tricky sections, but the summit is always in sight. When you reach the summit keep an eye out for thunder clouds as it is prone to electric storms in the late afternoon.
Bold moves climbing the crack on the crux The Crux
is one of the must does in via ferrata, but do have a rest before tackling this section. The first part up a beautiful steep slab has nothing but a crack tracing its way diagonally up to the right. When we were there the party in front had an 10 and 11 year old boys in it - the guide book recommends it for 12 years upwards!! They were however making it look very easy indeed!!
After the crack you reach a pulpit where you turn a corner and face the crux proper!!
This is a corner which it is possible to climb with much difficulty - there was some blood in the chimney in the corner. We however decided to take the advantage of the intermittant rungs to aid our way upwards. It was still not easy. Will I do it again almost certainly!!
The Maldonkopf 2632 metres
Signing the via ferrata book Our party on the summit cross
The Maldonkopf has wonderful views in all directions. Along its ridges you can see to the Platteinspitze to the south east and to the south west you can see the Muttekopf.
Across the Hahntenjoch to the north is the Falscher Kogl and the Maldongrat. To the North north east is the massive walls of the almost impenetrable Heiterwand
The way down
The way down is via a new absteig and is to the east of the summit where you follow the new wire along the top and then descend to the south. A series of rungs at this stage make it very easy. Eventually when you come of the rock face you wend your way around a number of corners and then the wire runs out!! At least it did in 2008 - but there is spare wire and it looks like they will extend it. At this point pick your way very gingerly off the route on to some very loose boulders - many of which fall down 100's of feet in to the corry below. Take care your route is not above another party of climbers.
25th August 2008
Robert, Gary, Paul, Adam and Fred
11th September 2008
The two Peters, Robert, Tom and Terry
Helmet, harness, lanyards and gloves. Rock shoes optional. Boots essential.