SALZBURG, Austria – A British tourist tragically lost his life in a climbing accident in Austria’s Dachstein Mountains, falling over 90 meters from a ladder known as the “stairway to heaven.” The incident occurred on September 12, as the 42-year-old man was climbing alone.
The Dachstein Mountains, located outside of Salzburg, is a popular destination for tourists seeking breathtaking views and Instagram-worthy photos. The ladder, a key attraction in the region, is part of a via ferrata, or “iron path,” a climbing route that uses steel cables, rungs, pegs, and ladders for safety. The ladder connects the lower portion of the Donnerkogel mountain to the Großer Donnerkogel, the mountain’s 6,740-foot peak.
The British man was climbing solo when he slipped and fell into the valley below. Despite the swift response of police officers and two rescue helicopters, the man could not be saved. His body was later retrieved by rescuers. Authorities have ruled out any third-party negligence, confirming that the climber was alone at the time of the accident. His identity has not been disclosed.
The Dachstein region tourist website promotes the ladder as the “new TOP attraction on the Zwieselalm for climbing enthusiasts,” describing the climb as an “ultimate adrenaline kick.” However, the website also warns that the climb is intended for experienced climbers and should be undertaken in mild weather and calm wind conditions. The climb is rated as moderate/difficult and is not recommended for beginners.
On Instagram, the ladder has gained popularity among thrill-seekers, with many referring to it as the “stairway to heaven.” Despite the tragic incident, the ladder remains a popular attraction for tourists seeking a unique climbing experience and stunning views of the Dachstein glacier and Austria’s highest mountain, the Grobglockner.
While the ladder offers an exhilarating experience for climbers, this tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks involved in such activities. Authorities continue to stress the importance of safety precautions and the need for climbers to assess their abilities accurately before embarking on such challenging climbs.