Austria’s ice festival will thrill with frozen waterfalls and ice climbing


At the Ice Climbing Festival in Pitztal, visitors can demonstrate their winter climbing skills under the guidance of mountain guides. — CHRIS WALCH/dpa

Frozen waterfalls, dangling icicles and between them countless courageous climbers with ice tools and crampons: This is the annual Ice Total Festival, which is set to take place in January in Austria’s Tyrol region.

Nestled between snow-topped Alpine peaks, not far from the German, Swiss and Italian borders, is the Pitztal Valley where anyone with an interest in climbing can find out about some of the most spectacular – and riskiest – variations of climbing and even try it out for themselves.

Taking place by the foot of North Tyrol’s tallest mountain (Wildspitze), the festival offers workshops on ice climbing, ice bouldering and dry-tooling, i.e. climbing with special ice axes and crampons on rock or artificial walls.

Visitors are even invited to build their own igloo.

Professional and hobby climbers are also able to test out a variety of equipment before buying. This year, due to restrictions during the pandemic, the festival will be taking place entirely outdoors.

Rock climbing is only one of many things the area has to offer fans of outdoor activities, and the Pitztal region is known for its popular hikes and nature trails, as well as Austria’s highest ski resort, the Pitztal Glacier. – dpa

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