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Hoher Dachstein (2995m)

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Dachstein via Simonyhuette (Upper Austria)

Approach: Highway A1 exit Regau or Mondsee, to Bad Ischl, B145 to Bad Goisern. Crossing to Hallstadt, at Winkl right to the Dachstein cable car.
Altitude difference:
Cable car of the Austrian army - Dachstein 1500m.
Difficulty: medium, climbing route with steel ropes and iron bolts; route through the Steinerscharte very steep and not always equipped with ropes and bolts.


   Equipment:  Profile:




 - Via ferrata climbing set
Glacier equipment (rope, crampons, ice axe)*
Snow goggles

 - Helmet**

*  many crevasses at both glaciers
** most of the time a lot of people want to climb Dachstein at the same time
- danger of falling rocks.

  Für größere Dartstellung bitte auf die Graphik klicken.

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Hoher Dachstein is one of the most striking Mountains in the Styrian - Upper Austrian border region. One of the most known views of Mt. Dachstein is from the Ennstal valley, where you can see the steep and rocky south face of this nearly 3000m high mountain. From the south side there is not only a cable car up to the glacier, there are also some very interesting climbing routes, e.g. the  Dachstein-Südwand Klettersteig (A-D, one part E, 5 hours) or the climbing route to Hunerscharte (A-B). Since I didn't know this routes, I have to refer to other web pages (e.g. (in German)). On this page, I will provide you a description of the descent from the North - from the Upper Austrian Salzkammergut region.

There are two cable cars up to the Dachstein plateau from Hallstadt (or more exactly from Winkl). The first cable car is the Dachsteinbahn Obertraun - Krippensteinbahn, up to the Dachstein Rieseneishöhle (ice cave) and further trough the Krippenstein to Gjaidalm (1750 m). The second cable car is the cable car of the Austrian army up to Gjaidalm - Oberfeld. Because of a political intervention of the owner of first cable car, the cable car of the army is now only allowed to transport persons up to an Alp at the half way to Gjaidalm. But there is still a big advantage by going with the cable car of the army - the price. It is much more cheaper than the other cable car.

It is quiet difficult to find the army cable car. When you leave the main road and follow the road to the Dachsteinbahn you don't have to turn right at the crossing to the Krippensteinbahn (cable car), but going straight up a small road to the Oberfeld-Seilbahn (cable car).

At the Mittelstation ("middle station", 1552m) you have to leave the cable car, but your backpacks can be transported up to the highest station at the barracks of Oberfeld, where you can pick them up later (30-60 minutes walk).

After picking up our back packs we went through Sonntagskar and the Eisseen (ice lakes) to Simonyhütte (mountain hut) (3-4 hours). Attention! This trail is newly marked, and so still not pictured in many maps.

On the next day we went from Simonyhütte up to the summit of Dachstein. For the Hallstättergletscher (glacier) you need (as for EVERY glacier) crampons, ice-axe and a rope. For the 400 vertical meters from the begin of glacier to the start of the rock face of Mt. Dachstein you will need 1,5 to 3 hours, dependent of the snow and crevasse situation.

Because of the retreat of the glaciers, the entrance of the "Normalroute" (normal route) to the summit is getting more and more free of snow and a large crevasse is blocking the way to the rocks. Because of this reason, you have to take the route through the East ridge, called "Schulter" (shoulder). After two hours of easy climbing (1+) you reach the summit of Hoher Dachstein (2995m). This route is not difficult and also doable for not very good climbers. All difficult parts are secured with a steel rope, where you can click in your harness.

If you don't want to return on the same way, you can climb down on the West side of the summit rock. The climbing route through the West ridge is easier than the descent from the East side. When you reach the Gosaugletscher (glacier), you have to went to NNE until you find the begin of the climbing route. The difficult parts of the route through the Steinerscharte-pass are secured by a fixed rope. From the pass the route is leading you through a steep rock face down to the Hallstätter Glacier, the glacier which we know from our descent. You will need about four hours for the route section  Dachstein - Gosaugletscher - Steinerscharte - Hallstätter Gletscher.

All in all, the round trip Simonyhütte - Dachstein - Simonyhütte is a very interesting day trip. The not very difficult terrain (easy climbing and a not very steep glaciers) is an ideal area to practice your Alpine skills.


For topo map, see


On the way to Dachstein ... bad weather at the Traunsee.

Inside the Oberfeld-cable car of the Austrian army.

At the limestone plateau of the Dachstein mountain range.


First view of the glacier - the summit of Mt. Dachstein is not visible because of low clouds.

Arrival at Simonyhuette.




(c) stefan eisenbach | | stefan [at]