You can attack the Dachstein (2995m, Austria) from the south in Styria, either using the cable car to get quick altitude or via rather difficult climbing routes. The northern route from Upper Austria is the classic choice, however, and it’s the one we took. Day one took us from the car park at the Lower Gosausee to the Upper Gosausee, on up the ancient glacial wall, and to our destination at the Adamek hut on the glacial moraines.
The Adamekhütte, like all such Alpine huts, is a remarkable place. It’s like a high altitude pub/youth hostel and was packed to the rafters when we arrived on Saturday. The climate at 2000m is noticeably colder; the topography barren and eerie. The next day we plodded up the moraines and on up the glacier, reaching the Obere Windlücke which heralds the beginning of the summit climb (west ridge). Crampons off, Klettersteig harness on. The via ferrata is quite easy but the 1000m drop to the south keeps you honest. Luckily for the vertiginously wary, much of it was shrouded in cloud.
You can summit and get back to the car in one day, but this means that:
(a) You have to get up early.
(b) Your knees take a prolonged pounding.
(c) You miss another evening playing cards in the Adamekhütte.
So, we came down the next day, taking a different, longer route to the Upper Gosausee.
Glacier, hut, Klettersteig, extreme mountain beauty: Dachstein FTW!
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