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Rock Climbing in Austria

Rock Climbing in Austria

Right in the heart of the European Alps is Austria, and with over 600 peaks soaring above 3000m above sea level, there are numerous opportunities for those who like to strap themselves in and to test their vertical limits. Austria is popular with both beginners and experts as it offers so many climbing routes and locations to choose from, although the most popular areas are around Salzburg and Innsbruck.

Innsbruck is located in Western Austria in a state called Tyrol and contains a lot of granite and limestone surfaces on which you can climb. This is arguably the best place to go climbing if you favour the single pitch sport routes, and you will find walls of all difficulties. Towards the north of the area, there are more multi-pitch alpine opportunities to test the more advanced climbers who want a more mountainous experience. Famous examples of this are the Silvretta which covers all levels of difficulty, Rofan which is more medium to hard, and Wilder Kaiser.

In the south and the east of the country, there are also more of the multi-pitch and alpine style routes, including the tallest peak of Austria, the Grosslocker Mountain at 3797m. Near Villach there is a particularly good area called Maltatal which is a granite valley offering rock climbing, alpine climbing and bouldering in a stunning location. This location covers mostly the medium levels of climbing and bouldering with over 200 routes to choose from.

Bouldering is also popular in Austria, and you don't have to look too hard to find it. Even in the low lying ground just outside of Vienna there are spots to practice your horizontal movements. Of course, there are also bouldering walls in the mountains and alpine areas, and the higher you go, the better the quality of granite surfaces you are likely to come across.

There really is something for everybody, from those who like to have the all inclusive guided experience with the ropes all set up and so all they have to do is strap on and climb, to those who want to be scaling impossible ridges with their own bolts, pegs and harnesses. Just be sure that you are confident in your abilities before you attempt anything beyond your level, and, if in any doubt, hire a guide or speak to an expert.

There are also package holidays which usually last around four to five days. Complete with a guide, you can select a mountaineering or a rock climbing experience in multiple locations all over the country at any climbing level. This is a good place to start for those who don't know the country or don't know the sport so well, and is probably the most time efficient way if you are restricted to only a few days. Also, having the expertise of a guide will ensure that you not only have additional safety measures, but also will only be scaling the best walls around, and will not have to provide all your own equipment.

So why Austria? In some places, such as Tirol, rock climbing dates back more than 100 years. The country prides itself on not only having a multitude of rock surfaces that cover all difficulties, but more importantly, having some of the toughest routes in Europe. There are some world famous routes such as the Schleierwasserfall in the Kaiser Mountains which are really set to push the limits of those more experienced climbers. While it is certainly not the cheapest country in the world to take a climbing holiday in, the infrastructure to support the sport is very extensive and there are a large number of climbing shops, indoor centres, and no shortage of experts and guides to assist you for when you are not prepared to take on the climb alone. Access to the mountains and climbing locations is easy, and access to Austria itself is not a problem from most places in Europe. It is also cheaper than Switzerland, which also offers excellent climbing and bouldering opportunities but would tear a bigger hole in your wallet. It is a haven for climbers and lovers of alpine sports.