A great via ferrata classic on the west side of the Dachstein – highlight is a 40-metre giant ladder on which you cross a deep gorge. In four very different stages you climb the Intersport via ferrata on the Großer Donnerkogel.
This iron route is one of the most controversial via ferrata projects in Austria. The via ferrata was built over an existing climbing route by Paul Preuß. All in all, it is an appealing – and if you use the giant ladder, a hugely exposed – via ferrata adventure with a fantastic view of the Dachstein.
1st stage: From the entrance, briefly ascend to a corner (B/C). A beautiful slab traverse (A/B) leads to a straddle (B/C). This is followed by the steep and strenuous Kaiser-Verschneidung (C/D), one of the two key sections. Then left onto an earthy band (A and A/B) and to another, somewhat more difficult slab traverse (C). Around a corner, it goes to the Enzianwand (B/C). Zigzag up through the mountain pines and then left into a saddle. There is an emergency exit (down on the right). The flat ridge of the Ziehkögel (max. A/B) is reached via two ladders (B, briefly C in between). At the end of the 1st stage, there is another emergency exit (down to the right).
2nd stage: In the “Long live the hunt” section, you first cross to the left (A/B). This is followed by some ladders laid on the ground (A). Another traverse (A) is followed by some upswings (B). After the Gamsband (A), you have to climb down a bit in the earthy-slippery terrain (A/B). Then the long traverse climbs again (A/B, short section B/C) and meets the 40-meter giant ladder. At the ladder, you can exit to easy terrain and bypass the Donnermandl or descend to the descent path (emergency descent). The highlight is, of course, the 40-meter giant ladder, on which you can climb easily (B) but very exposed and therefore perceived by many as more difficult directly over to the Donnermandl.
Stage 3 without the giant ladder: After a short walking area (emergency descent to the right), there is a short traverse (A/B and C) and the steep and very exposed ascent – where the 40-meter giant ladder also docks with the Donnermandl – (first C/D, then easier) to the Donnermandl (1,920 m). This is the second key section of the climb (this must also be mastered by giant ladder climbers). Afterward, briefly climb down into a saddle (B). The 3rd stage can also be bypassed.
Stage 4: Quite steeply up the former Preuß route via the northwest ridge (C). Soon the ridge becomes flatter and wider (B). The exit is reached after overcoming individual steep steps (A/B and A).
By train to Steeg-Gosau. Continue by bus (line 2570) to Gosausee.
Address for your sat nav: Gosau 764a, 4825 Gosau, Österreich
Coming from the A10 motorway, take the Golling exit towards Abtenau and Russbach. From Bad Ischl, drive via Bad Goisern to Gosau.