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An unusual approach

Andreas Nothdurfter and Fabio Keck, two mountaineers from the Achensee region, wanted to realise a dream they had in their heads for some time: to climb the Gaisalm waterfall on the Achensee lake. In winter. 
The imposing waterfall on the lakeshore is a special challenge for climbers. Because it is not only the ice climbing that makes the tour so challenging. The approach to the wall in winter is anything but easy and sophisticated logistics are particularly important.
Andi and Fabio wanted to reach the base of the wall in a slightly different way: by kayak across the Achensee lake.


The years of waiting for the Gaisalm waterfall paid off

Andi, who had been waiting 15 years for perfect conditions, could hardly believe that the moment had arrived. After all, the time windows in which the Gaisalm waterfall is climbable are limited. After many years of waiting and watching, the frozen waterfall was ready to be climbed.

A further challenge at Achensee

In addition to the climb itself, the approach to the Gaisalm Falls is also a major challenge in winter. In summer, it is possible to reach the waterfall on foot, but in winter the approach is difficult due to the risk of avalanches. Avalanches on both sides of the path make access dangerous.
Andi and Fabio therefore opted for an avalanche-proof approach by kayak, but far from risk-free.

Crossing the Achensee lake by kayak: pure adrenalin?

"Before starting the journey, we had to decide whether the crossing, which was tiring and not entirely risk-free, was worth it." Using binoculars, Andi and Fabio were able to check the route from the opposite bank. The two had to make sure that the Gaisalm waterfall was indeed climbable. After a brief exchange of opinions, the two were sure: they were going to try!
In freezing weather, Andi and Fabio ventured out in their small kayak with all their climbing equipment, their Phantom Tech, which would soon take them through the cold and deep Achsensee. A capsize at that moment would have had serious consequences. The heavy rucksacks, many warm clothes and all the equipment could have dragged them into the depths of the Achensee in no time. After a 30-minute traverse, the two mountaineers were able to breathe a sigh of relief and feel the ground beneath them again.
Now the 'real' adventure began: ice climbing.


An unforgettable ice climbing experience

Four pitches and a total of 200 metres of ice had to be climbed. With the trusty Phantom Tech as a companion on their feet, they were ready to go, and the Gaisalmfall is graded Wi 4+. No problem for Andi and Fabio, who have a solid grasp of this grade. However, when climbing on ice there is always a residual risk of ice chips.
But the two are satisfied after their journey: "The climbing was simply magical. If you are there at the right time, you can also climb the main lengths in the sun,' says Fabio.
Magical - Gaisalmfall certainly is. Because the difficult conditions rarely allow such breathtaking experiences. And that is what makes the Gaisalmfall so special.

After the successful return trip and the arrival on the other side, Andi smiles: "The Tour is definitely the best line on the Achensee."
For Fabio it was particularly emotional to hear such a sentence from someone who has already experienced and seen so much.



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