Via ferrata Drachenwand (C, var C/D) Austria

The via ferrata route Drachenwand above lake Mondsee is one of the highlights of ferrata climbing near Salzburg, Austria. The route is not extremely difficult but due to its length, it should not be underestimated. The top offers a fantastic view of the lake area up to the snow-covered peaks of the Dachstein massif. The descent through the “Drachenloch” offers a great view of the Mondsee.

Summary

Grade: C, var C/Dview topo
Vertical: 400m ferrata, 560m total
Time: 30min approach, 2h ferrata, 1h30min descent, 4h total
Access / Parking: 47.8187,13.3563Google Maps or any Android maps app
Start via ferrata: 47.8116,13.3577Mapy.cz or any Android maps app
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Access

By car, the nearest exit on the Westautobahn is Mondsee. After passing through the town on the west shore of the lake, continue to Gries and turn right towards St. Lorenz. From there, continue to the ferrata parking lot next to Pension Gasthof Drachenwand. This parking lot (Drachenwand Klettersteig Wanderparkplatz) has an interesting self payment system: you draw a wooden card, leave money in its slot, and place the card inside the car, making sure it is visible under the windshield.

Approach to start

The approach to the start of the via ferrata takes about 30 minutes. From the parking lot, follow the signs to the “Drachenwand Klettersteig” and cross the meadow towards the forest. Follow the signs up the steep forest path until you reach the starting point.

The route

After ascending the starting wall with two ladders, the route leads to a gap, where you can take a short break and enjoy the view of the Mondsee. The route then continues to a flat ridge after a short, difficult passage. From there, the route improves, and you climb through an inspiring wall and stepped terrain to a ledge leading to the “Franzosenschanze” (pier with a small gap). The next part, a very steep slab wall, is the key point of the route to the highest point. After that, you reach easy terrain and a jagged ridge, which provides some excellent resting places, including shady trees. The steep final ascent to the summit wall is repeatedly interrupted by short flat passages, and with the last energy reserves, you reach the exit of the via ferrata. From there, a broad, rocky ridge leads to the highest point with the summit cross (1060m).

Descent

The descent takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The descent area into the Klausgraben (Saugraben) is only partially secured with ropes and is very exposed. Therefore, children and non-sure-footed persons must also be secured with a rope. The descent is very tricky when it is wet. The trail leads through the “Drachenloch,” which offers a great view of the Mondsee.

Good to know

It is important not to leave the via ferrata route as there is an extreme risk of falling rocks outside the route. Enter at your own risk, and walk only in dry conditions. Do not climb it when there is a risk of thunderstorms and/or when the waterfall is large and powerful. For the tricky descent, it is recommended to bring an additional safety rope for children and non-sure-footed persons.

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