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Austria: Traunstein – The Guarding Ferrata of the Salt Chamber

Published: 12.10.2015
Lets see one of the most beautiful via ferrates in the Alps. Calm surface of blue salt Traunstein lake is beneath you guarded by the Julian Alps. Dachstein bows in the distance, Totes Gebirge and Bohemian Forest are in the distance. This is Traunstein.

Traunstein is an easy access place in the Alps for Czech ferrate and day-long treks enthusiasts. During normal traffic conditions, it takes about two hours to get there from Ceske Budejovice. You should drive to the former border crossing Dolni Dvoriste, next go to Linz on the A1 to Gmunden. Don’t forget to buy a motorway tax sticker. In Gmunden, drive at a nice balck asphalt road that would get you to Traunstein lake, that’s why the road is called Traunsteinstrasse. The road ends on a small parking lot (430 m). You can leave your car there for free.

žádné mrakodrapy nepředčí přírodu

Traunstein is 1691 meters high. It means your trip will take a whole day. What you should wear is trek shoes, a backpack, and I personally recommend a helmet and ferrate equipment. Don’t be confused when you see tourists not having such equipment. As for prevention, you should secure yourself yousing a cramp at some places, mostly when it is wet or there is fog. There is no stall on the way to the top so take something sweet and some water to refill energy. You can refill water only on the top in Traunsteinhaus and Gmunderer Hütte huts. There they sell a liter of water for 50 cents.

Up to the top lead trails of four different difficulties. The first two are ferratas (Hans Hernlersteig – A difficulty , Naturfreundesteig –A/B difficulty). The third is a tourist trail (Mairalmsteig), and the last one is a ferrate (Traunsee Klettersteig –D difficulty). The latter is accessible only via Hans Hernlersteig because it is right below the top. 

The climb is difficult for the high elevation (1250 m). We choose Hans Herlsteig because it goes more in the forest and is more pleasant. You step at Hernlersteig about 500 meters from the car park. At first, the trail takes you to the forest. Then, after about an hour, you reach first metal ladders. The climb is very diverse. You would use steel cables, steps, shadow paths, and rock overhangs. However, you will be enchanted with the Alpine peaks and the lake.

Po asi 4–5hodinovém výstupu se před vámi objeví Gmundener Hütte (1666 m) will appear after about 4-5 hours of walk. There, a well-deserved beer or lemonade waits for you. Then you can see Traunsteinerhaus (1580 m). Both huts have accommodation and food services. Don’t underestimate your time and make sure to have at least four hours to descend. It wont be faster going downhill.

As our downhill route we decided to follow Naturfreundesteig which is said to be one of the most beautiful in Austria. The views of the lake and Dachstein are amazing. The elevation here is 1150 meters. Use steel cables, cramps, artificial steps, and metal ladders (one of them is 10 meters long). Note that the whole downhill is significantly difficult because of the Dolomite limestone that is slippery even when it is not wet. In some places, stones are smoothed to such a degree tat you feel like on a frozen lake. The last stop is a mountain well with drinking water. Close to it is a car park. You have to go through two 150-meter tunnels, there Traunstein nature hides for a while but once you step out you will se the surface of the salt lake.

GPS:47°52'24.7"N 13°50'33.0"E

Text and photo: Šárka Vacková



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