Saturday, March 5, 2011

Late Season Ice Conditions

I think most people have written off ice climbing for the remainder season around here. It's not so.  The ice is better now than it was in many places in mid-January.

Directly in the Salzburg area, the small flows and training areas of  the Kraftwerkfall in Wiestal, Cayon and Kriesfall in Königsee, Schanlinggraben (and other climbs in the area) in Untertauern are in very good shape.

In the well frequented Malta and Gastein valleys, the north-facing climbs are still in very good condition.  The main fall behind the Naturfreunde Haus in Kolm-Saigurn is in perfect shape and so are the other near-by climbs.

Last week I spent five days in Kaunertal in western Tyrol ice climbing. The long multi-pitch lines on the left side of the valley (north and north-west facing) are well formed and in top condition.  The Renkfälle are also in great shape and will probably stay that way into the beginning of April.

The general weather trend has been warming up during the day to between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.  At night the temps fall as far as -10 Celsius.  The moisture content in the air has been relatively low.  The general weather trend has allowed the ice to build and regenerate through the night.

Additionally, there has been very low avalanche danger because we simply have not had any major storms for quite awhile.


  1. Did the Kraftwerkfall on the 6th and climbing on the sharp end was quite the trill. Good ice screw placements were not easy to find because of the relatively thin ice.

    We only climbed the first pitch because it was getting too warm (imo) and the icicles in the second pitch were mean looking.

    Or maybe because it was a WI 5, meh.

  2. Hi Frank, thanks for the info. The ice conditions can make the climb one and a half grade easier - or harder! At your stage with ice climbing it's a good move to back off when your uncertain and save the climb for later. It'll be there next year.