Selected and translated by Irene Oakes
Financed by tourist organisations, cable car operators, alpine clubs and the EU, the Klettersteig boom seems unstoppable. Among around twenty newly installed in 2009 are:-
- Vaude-Schmugglersteig. Vertical height 300m. Grade C or D. Gargellner Köpfe, Rätikon
- Lachenspitze Nordwand. Vertical height 265m. Grade C-D. Allgäuer Alpen
- Gresselweg. Vertical height 300m. Grade C. Plöckenpass, Karnische Hohenweg
- Grünstein. Vertical height 410m. Grade C or D-E. Königsee, Berchtesgaden
- Kupfergeist. Vertical height 140m. Grade D-E. Hüttschlag, Radstädter Tauern
- Tassilo. Vertical height 600m. Grade C/D. Schermberg, Toten Gebirge
- Five Summits Klettersteig. 150m. Grade C/D, Vertical height 120m. Grade B/C, more to come. Rofan
Since 2007, reservation in advance of up to 75% of bed spaces in Austrian huts is allowed. This was seen as desirable in making the fullest use of available accommodation whilst maintaining the tradition of huts as refuges and emergency shelters. Much abuse of the system is already being experienced. Reservation by email or mobile phone is easy – some groups appear to be making several; such as for a weekend in different areas and then choosing according to weather forecasts. If cancellations are not made in time, places in huts stay empty although shown as full for late comers/bookers. Cancellation charges apply in principal but as yet are impossible to impose.
Some Consequences of Global Warming for Mountaineering
A retreating glacier can leave behind steep, unstable and crumbling rock, both above its sides and below its new snout. Early melting of winter snow exposes bare ice and any crevasses. Thus many routes which quite recently required glacier equipment no longer do. However, surmounting steep rocks and/or steep bare ice is more technically demanding than crossing snowfields, and the danger of stone fall can be considerable. Melting of permafrost above 2500m adds to the instability of rocks/stones.
[Updated 30 October 2012]