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Climbing

Conquering Rock Faces like a Pro

Giant Ötztal is Tirol’s most varied granite rock climbing area offering difficulty grades between 2 and 11. Climbing aficionados improve their skills in 20 Rock Climbing Gardens with no less than 750 different routes. 8 Via Ferratas plus an infinite number of multi-pitch climbing routes promise fun on the rocks. The top climbers Hansjörg Auer and Mäx Morandell take you towards dizzy heights at the Summer Climbing Camps for both beginners and experts.

A world of hooks and eyes

Ötztal’s Rock Climbing Gardens are located within a few kilometers. At the very entrance to the valley you still find limestone rocks, all other climbing spots feature granite boulders. Leaving behind Oetz, there is the breathtaking Engelswand rock face which is also great for beginners capable of climbing routes of the third difficulty grade.

More skilled climbers can also choose routes up to the eleventh difficulty grade, comprising corner lines, overhanging sections, grooves and ledges. At the rear end of the valley near Obergurgl, the granite Stone Pine Forest Climbing Garden (“Zirbenwald”) offers routes between the third and eight difficulty grade. Families are recommended to head for the easiest routes while grandma and grandpa enjoy magnificent nature walks.

Klettern an der Engelswand in Tumpen - Klettern Tirol
The Engelswand rock face in Tumpen is suitable also for beginners
© Rainer Eder / Ötztal Tourismus
Ötztaler Klettercamp - Klettern Tirol
Together we are strong: improve your team spirit at the Climbing Camp
© Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus

A Camp for kindred spirits

Splendid climbing adventures in small groups (max. 7 people) await you at the Ötztal Climbing Camps for beginners and advanced, either on 3 or 5 days. You can also book a package that includes accommodation. Training units are held in several Rock Climbing Gardens, an indoor climbing hall is available in very bad weather.

“We head for varied climbing areas with different characteristics every day, spread between Sölden and Oetz,” explains Mäx Morandell, co-founder and responsible of the Climbing Camps. “Every coach has its own preferences. Niederthai is a very popular spot – my favorite climbing area is the Engelswand rock face in Tumpen, with an access point right in the middle of lush green meadows.”

A guide with a great heart

Mäx Morandell is a certified Austrian mountain guide, climbing school director and training instructor at the Austrian Ski Instruction Academy. The top sportsman and athlete conquers climbing routes up to the ninth difficulty grade, including countless high Alpine routes in the Eastern and Western Alps.

Countless top climbers share their knowledge and skills at the yearly held Ötztal Climbing Camp in a leisurely atmosphere. The entire Ötztal valley boasts climbing spots for all preferences featuring incredible 19,000 altitude meters. Morandell explains: “It’s not so important that the coach is an excellent climber but that he has a high level of intuitive understanding and social competence.”

Sichern beim Klettern - Klettern Tirol
Always on the safe side: rope and hook training units at the Climbing Camp
© Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus

Learn From The Best

David Lama beim Klettern in Längenfeld - Tirol Klettern
Oberried Climbing Area: star climber David Lama outshines even Alpine chamois © Rainer Eder / Ötztal Tourismus

Nice-sounding names like Tirol’s David Lama or Ötztal’s climbing sisters Barbara and Sabine Bacher have already been among the Climbing Camp coaches. As well as Hansjörg Auer, the climbing star from Umhausen in Ötztal, who became a talking point because of his free solo climb on “The Fish” route in the Italian Dolomites. Since 2009, Hansjörg is a professional alpinist and is supported since day one from Ötztal Tourism.

Hansjörg Auer - Klettern Tirol
Hansjörg Auer, famous Climbing Camp coach
© Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus

Beauty goes beyond difficulty

“Often beginners focus too much on difficulty grades as they want to conquer popular climbing routes. It stands to reason but only enough experience teaches how to climb such demanding rocks. This is valid for climbers and alpinists alike.

An example: the less frequented Brochkogel climbing area can be much more beautiful than the crowded Wildspitze peak where at least 25 people rush towards the summit! As a mountain guide and climbing coach it has always been my goal to promise a good feeling and performance without any pressure.”

Climbing And Lead Climbing

Erste Schritte beim Klettern - Klettern Tirol
Grasping, touching, stepping forward and other basics: first contact with the rocks at the Climbing Camp © Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus

Five daily practicing hours are scheduled at the Ötztal Climbing Camp. This summer, Hansjörg Auer will hold basic and advanced climbing lessons. Beginners improve their motor skills and their knowledge about climbing techniques. Advanced focus on abseiling and knots. Essential prerequisites are concentration, orienteering, reaction, rhythm and perception with all senses. Mäx Morandell is specialized in multi-pitch tours, rope and belaying techniques. Further training units center on roped parties, lead climbing and Alpine hazards.

Shivering knees

“One of the main climbing topics is fear. Of course, most of the beginners are very afraid. But also top athletes feel fear in certain situations. Fears is nothing bad, fear is essential in climbing sports.

This is the first thing the participants learn in the Climbing Camps. Therefore we make special exercises to deal with fear. Only instruction, experience and growing self-confidence can reduce fear. You must learn to assess situations and risks objectively and to react calmly.”

Markus
Mäx Morandell, the heart and soul of the Climbing Camp
© Markus Morandell
Stuibenfall Klettersteig - Tirol Klettern
Spectacular and sprinkling: Via Ferrata at Stuibenfall
© Elias Holzknecht / Ötztal Tourismus

Safely on the wall

If you still think that vertical rock faces are not your cup of tea you should give it a try all the same! And if you feel highly attracted by one of Ötztal’s 8 Via Ferrata routes don’t worry: they are all secured with steel ropes and footholds.

What’s more, a good physical shape is absolutely required for unlimited climbing fun – as well as a basic set of equipment: helmet, carabiner, chest and sitting harness. And it’s not a must to take part in a Climbing Camp to conquer the Ötztal rocks. Simply enlist one of Ötzal’s local, certified mountain or climbing guides for a wonderful day tour on granite rock walls.

Safety is of utmost importance! Therefore you are strongly recommended to read the general guidelines and useful tips published by the Austrian Alpine Club – even BEFORE you start the first adventure in a rock climbing garden or on a via ferrata.

(Cover image: © Günter Durner / Ötztal Tourismus)

Facts

An introduction to memorable climbing in Ötztal incl. private guides and instructors:

  • Get an overview of Climbing in Ötztal HERE
  • Detailed information about Rock Climbing Gardens available HERE – check Via Ferratas HERE
  • Current news on the Ötztal Climbing Camp, lessons and programs listed HERE (in German)
  • Meet Hansjörg Auer HERE
  • Greet Mäx Morandell HERE (in German)
  • The most important climbing rules are available HERE

Guest Author Isolde von Mersi

Isolde von Mersi comes from South Tyrol’s Pustertal Valley / Val Pusteria and lives in Vienna now. As a popular reporter and book writer for Austrian and German magazines and publishing houses, she explores a huge variety of cultural, culinary and naturalistic treasures of the Alpine countries and its people.

She has been feeling at home in the Ötztal for many years already as she contributes to the ÖTZTAL MAGAZINE on a regular basis. And she has found many friends in the valley.

Gastautorin Isolde von Mersi - Naturpark Ötztal
© Peter Knögler

Ötztal Magazine

Get to know more about Hansjörg Auer in Lisa Reinthaler’s marvelous interview: “Changing Homeland”. You want to know more about all highlights? This print magazine contains the most interesting and entertaining stories about Ötztal’s spring, summer and autumn season. Available in German, English and Dutch at all Ötztal Tourismus Information Offices. Order a free copy or read the online version at www.oetztal.com.

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... varied guest authors write about their adventures and experiences in the Ötztal / in Sölden / in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.

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