Ötztal can look back on decades of climbing expertise that is hard to beat. The most important pioneer was Reinhard Schiestl († 1995) from Längenfeld, who began to develop Ötztal in terms of climbing technology in the early 1980s – he created a dense network that has grown to more than 750 routes until today. Schiestl also went down in Tirol’s climbing history by opening Ötztal’s first sports climbing route in the 9th degree of difficulty (according to the UIAA scale) at the beginning of the 1980s. The climbing mastermind has never been forgotten: the Reinhard Schiestl Via Ferrata on Burgsteinwand rock face near Längenfeld still reminds of his great achievements.
Climbing gardens in Ötztal
Straight into happiness
Hundreds of well-secured sport climbing routes of all difficulty levels are spread over 19 climbing gardens between the entrance to the valley near Haiming and its rear end in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl. Ötztal is a true Dorado for all climbing sports enthusiasts. In this region solid granite rock prevails, a fact appreciated by climbing aficionados in Tirol's longest side valley. For example, the Oberried Climbing Garden offers perfect conditions for beginners and families with children who try vertical sports for the first time, more ambitious climbers will find their luck - and their challenges - in the Niederthai and Nösslach climbing areas.
Decades of climbing expertise
Granite and limestone go hand in hand in Ötztal
Tirol boasts only a few granite climbing areas. Ötztal is an exception and offers solid granite rocks in several regions – for example in the climbing areas of Niederthai or Nösslach, to mention just two of the numerous granite climbing gardens. If you literally want to bite on granite, you'll find a welcome change in several limestone climbing areas near Haiming at the entrance to the valley.
Climbing gardens for families and beginners
In Ötztal there are several climbing areas which are especially worthwhile for beginners and families with children. What do all these climbing gardens have in common? Ample parking, short and easy access, a variety of easy and well-secured routes, picture-book picnic areas and a natural backdrop that captivates climbing fans of all ages. What’s best, the climbing garden in Oberried is also equipped with sanitary facilities.
Family-friendly climbing gardens in Ötztal:
- Winnebachseehütte (access route: 1.5 hrs!)
- Obergurgl Zirbenwald
Which quality criteria has a family-friendly climbing garden to fulfill? Read all details HERE
A helpful service checklist on "Climbing with Children", prepared in cooperation with the Austrian Alpine Club, the Austrian Mountain Rescue Service and the Austrian Alpine Safety Board, can be found HERE
Multi-pitch routes in Ötztal
One rope length is not enough for you? No problem at all! Ötztal has a wealth of breathtaking multi-pitch routes which are - similar to the climbing gardens – spread over the entire valley. In addition to the Geierwand rock wall located in Haiming, the Simmering and the Burgsteinwand near Längenfeld, multi-pitch fans will find both spectacular and well-secured routes especially in Nösslach and on Engelswand near Tumpen.
„Great Lines“ for true climbing aficionados
In 2018, a jury of experts chose Tirol’s five most outstanding sport climbing routes for advanced climbers, the so-called "Great Lines". The main selection criteria were the following: nature and landscape experience, course of the climbing route, type of rock as well as the climber’s physical and mental requirements. Two routes in Ötztal have made it to the illustrious circle of "Great Lines": the "Le Miracle" route (interne Verlinkung) in Niederthai and the multi-faceted "White Giant" (interne Verlinkung) climbing route in Nösslach’s climbing garden.
Frequently asked questions about climbing gardens in Ötztal
A climbing garden is a climbing facility on natural rock faces that has a certain number of (single-rope) routes at varied degrees of difficulty (reference numbers: 10 routes or more at a distance of approx. 3 - 5 m). Suitable rock faces are equipped with bolts, deflector devices and other belaying items in such a way that sport climbers can belay themselves with little effort. Compared to the via ferrata, a sport climbing route is conquered without the use of any artificial aids. The anchor points and climbing harnesses, ropes, carabiners etc. only serve as fall protection.
Climbing gardens are mostly set up near the valley floor or near mountain huts and have short, easy access routes. Apart from falling rocks, there are usually no typical Alpine dangers. The climbing gardens routes are shorter (approx. 15 to 100 meters) compared to Alpine climbing routes and classified according to levels of difficulty. You can find this grading as well as the description of the routes from climbing guides or online topographic maps. In Ötztal there are 20 climbing gardens where beginners, children and advanced but also absolute climbing aces will find their dream route for sure.
Climbing gloves fulfill two important tasks: they protect your hands and provide a better grip on rock and rope. Special climbing gloves are adapted to the requirements of climbing and protect your hands from injuries and burns when abseiling. When buying, you have the choice between half-finger climbing gloves, with which you have more feeling in your fingers, and full-finger climbing gloves, which also protect the sensitive fingertips. Climbing gloves with a free thumb and index finger are another alternative. In terms of material, you can choose between leather and synthetic gloves. The former are a little more expensive and stiffer at the beginning, but much more durable.
Important when buying: pay attention to the right fit, the material and the processing quality. You can get expert advice in the Ötztal sports shops and slip into the various models before buying.
And then you can try out your new gloves in one of the 20 climbing gardens in Ötztal.
Close-fitting climbing shoes with special soles offer a very good grip. For sport climbing, for example, you can use the multifunctional approach shoes which are sturdy low shoes that prove themselves on a variety of terrain - on the access route as well as on the rock. Make sure you have a flexible upper material, breathability and a solid lacing system. The sole should be both solid and flexible and ideally have a climbing zone in the front area. When Alpine climbing in high altitudes, boot-like shoes provide better support. In Ötztal you will find 20 climbing gardens which you can take under the Vibram soles, all of them located between the valley entrance in Haiming and its rear end in Gurgl.
Given their great popularity, climbing gardens have a low risk of life-threatening or fatal injuries - provided safety equipment is used correctly. Although you are always belayed when sport climbing, you can still fall a few meters deep into the rope and seriously injure yourself from the impact on the rock. Other sources of danger are loose stones and sudden weather changes. Join experienced climbing partners, check your equipment regularly, internalize its correct use and only climb when you feel 100 percent fit! Special tip: the 20 climbing gardens in Ötztal offer hundreds of perfectly secured sport climbing routes at all difficulty levels.