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The Maltatal

The upper “Maltatal” is a narrow, steep walled canyon with many waterfalls cascading down both sides. The valley receives the winter sun only briefly in the morning, rendering conditions ideal for ice climbing.

Nearly all icefalls can be seen from the “Malta-Hochalmstraße”.

The first falls are located opposite the small village “Brandstatt”. A wide ice curtain with a number of different routes forms here, and the difficult “Kerschhackl Fall” is situated nearby.

“Columbus Wall”, a steep and wide ice curtain, is located just a few hundred meters further up the road. The many different, hard lines found here are rather unusual since they are reached via a 30m abseil. This has the added advantage that hard routes can be checked out or even toproped first!

Five falls are located near the “Hochbrücke”: the long and easy “Strannerbachfall”, the difficult and serious “Kathedrale”, the aptly named “Wintasun” (a must for those who like early morning sunshine), the deceptively difficult “Gamseck” and the classic “Superfeucht”.

The last icefalls are situated even further up the valley: park at the “Gmündner Hütte” and walk for about 20-30 minutes, through the “Lange Wand” tunnel, to reach these interesting routes.

Two outstanding problems still need mentioning: “Schleierwasserfall” and “Fallbach”.

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As its name suggests, “Schleierwasserfall” forms a beautiful veil in summer. Unfortunately though this overhanging 60m fall rarely freezes, and even when it does it tends to be extremely unstable, soon collapsing under its own weight. “Fallbach” suffers a similar problem, and its one and only ascent dates back to 1987. This 220m fall is awesome, for water drops vertically for 100m before hitting a 30m slab and then tumbling another 90m.

As you will have gathered from this brief introduction, there’s something for everyone in the Maltatal. One week will probably be far too short to experience the frozen delights in the “Valley of tumbling water”!

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