Austria, Drachenwand Ferrate: Fitness, Strenght, Experience
You drive by car from Ceske Budejovice across Dolni Dvoriste. There you can have some Czech cuisine for a lunch. Then you follow the A1 freeway to Mondsee. When possible, turn to St Lorenz and continue to the hotel where also a restaurant is located (Gasthof Drachenwand). From there it is really close to the free car park at Drachenwand ferrate.
The difficulty at the ferrate is C/D. The hardest D section is only one short section. You can bypass it. The Dragon Wall consists of the 560-meter climb. Don’t underestimate your equipment and bear in mind that you are in the Alps. It can be severe there considering especially weather changes. You need reliable, appropriate shoes, a helmet, good backpack, enough water.
The Dragon Wall is diverse. Everybody finds out how fit he or she is. The ferrate test your physical as well as psychological abilities. It offers many features along the ferrate: ladders, iron cramps, a bridge across the abyss, overhangs, and also places to rest. Move slowly and consider your every move. Really, do not underestimate it as there is no way to go back. Once you reach for the top you have to finish it. You cant return, or descend to a tourist trail.
When passing by the hotel, follow an asphalt road. Pass by a wooden direction board saying Klettersteig. You walk about twenty minutes along a forest path. The Dragon Wall appears then all exposed. Check your equipment and then climb metal ladders. Given the fact that the wall is exposed, the climb is difficult right from the outset with A to C sections following.
This secured trail is not recommended for children and not even to people afraid of heights. Around its middle its splits into two. Either you can follow the C trail across a cable bridge below which is a deep abyss. Or you can make use of your remaining stamina across the D section. We choose the bridge above frighteningly looking abyss. The bridge is perfectly tightened. You just have to overcome your fear right at its start. An exposed section waits for you over the bridge. However, there are many iron cramps making your climb easier.
We are still not on the top and there are some open sections ahead. About fifteen minutes after crossing the hanging bridge, I swing on metal rope for the last time. In front of me, there is Mondsee and snow-capped Dachstein. We stand on the peak near an iron cross at the altitude of 1060 meters. We feel like winners.
100 meters from the cross there is the „dragon hole “. This window of a rock gives you a vista of Mondsee, mountains, and beautiful villages so do not miss it. We go back down along a tourist trail. Surprisingly, we go a long way uphill in forest. Then we find a metal rope. It is really good idea to hold to it in some sections. The route back takes about an hour of fast paced walk, twice less then when we went the other way.
The life is worth it on days like this. Great atmosphere in the mountains and climbing a ferrate will give you joy for many days to come.
Text and photo: Šárka Vacková
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