The climbing route maker – Werner Gürtler
“Who’s that guy with the drill hanging up there on the Stafflacher Wand?” This is a question many inhabitants of the Wipptal have asked themselves over recent years. It also entails the humming of the drill and the banging of the hammer, which often echoes out of the wall. “Music to the ears” is what Werner Gürtler calls this, as he does one of his favourite activities here: Discovering, opening up and exploring new climbing routes. It’s all about adventure, about passion, about leaving your first traces in an area where no one has been before.
Werner has been pursuing this passion for many decades and is one of the most prominent Alpine climbers in Tyrol. Making climbing routes accessible is first and foremost a kind of vocation. Then however, the craft has to be learned thoroughly, through intensive self-study and courses e.g. the sports climbing instructor training programme, and training by the Alpine Club Academy.
This is not an activity that will make you rich, but a successful climbing route is the reward. Most route developers work as idealists, out of love for the cause, and often pay for the climbing material themselves. Despite this, Werner has opened up, cleared and drilled more than 1,000 pitches in Tyrol during his lifetime, giving climbing enthusiasts access to them as a result.
His latest work involves a climbing garden on the Stafflacher Wand overlooking the mountaineering village of St. Jodok. It is home to 49 sport climbing routes from the 4th to the lower 9th degree of difficulty. A new route with five pitches requires approx. 30 to 40 hours of work. The new climbing garden is certainly the product of at least 500 hours of work, and Werner also gained support here though many helpers who are enthusiastic climbers.
In addition to the routes suitable for advanced climbers, Werner has also established an area for beginners here. The ideal environment for getting a feel for sport climbing or for spending a nice day on the rock with kids and teenagers.
There is a remarkable network of climbing routes in the Wipptal, many of which were developed, or more accurately drilled, by Werner (Vals, Stafflacher Wand, Fußstein, Sillschlucht). The Wipptal also offers a number of other very beautiful climbing destinations, such as Obernberg or St. Magdalena in the Gschnitztal.
Tip: all climbing routes can also be found in the newly published climbing guide “Wipptal – Sportklettern südlich von Innsbruck” (Wipptal – Sport Climbing to the South of Innsbruck). Available in book stores and the information office in Steinach.