Now available in
the US again, Bradley Alpinist
is one of few, if not the only retailer in the
US offering you these classics. These vintage
style and functionally timeless Dachstein Wool
Pullover Sweaters, Mitts,
will forever be a high valued article of equipment
in the Alpinist's kit. Made in the Dachstein Region
of Steiermark Austria in the tradional boiled/fulled
wool methods, these sweaters are the warmest,
most durable and breathable layers you can wear.
Preview the DACHSTEIN
WOLLE OF AUSTRIA offering. Wear Dachstein
Wool to the summit, in the ice park, or on top
of a bar stool in a mountain town...its the classic
look of mountaineering worldwide, and an extreme
cold performance layer.
your Dachstein now
do I size my Dachstein?
Case Study on Size and Fit
Care for my Dachstein
What is the Dachstein Wool Story?
Dachstein Wool has become a relatively generic
term that implies that the sweater, hat, or socks
were made by the ancient methods of felting
and fulling (sometimes referred to as boiled wool)
wool, and still used today, almost exclusively
carried on from ancient times as a heritage and
traditional method in the Dachstein region of
Austria. The Dachstein region encompasses a tri-state
area of Austria, with the central theme being
the Hoher Dachstein Massif, located in the Northern
Limestone Alps Range running across the alpine
states of Austria and Germany. The alpine states
in this range are Bavaria, Germany, and the Austrian
states of Tirol, Salzburg, and Steiermark. Dachstein
means “roof stone”, and refers to
the Limestone rock found in the Northern Alps.
Hoher Dachstein towers at 9826ft (2995 meters),
and is the highest peak in two of the nine Austrian
states, Upper Austria (Niederösterreich)
and Styria (Steiermark), and is the second tallest
in the Northern Limestone Alps.
Wool is a high performance material, giving the
Alpinist many advantages. Not only is a Dachstein
Wool boiled wool sweater made from a sustainable,
all natural material (sheep wool) that has been
produced by methods without added chemicals, but
it is also completely recyclable. Naturally, wool
offers at least 10% more breathability to the
wearer compared to other performance designed
materials derived from synthetics. Wool is naturally
water resistant, and next to waterproof and windproof
when made in the “boiled wool or fulled”
methods. When wet, wool still insulates, unlike
down filled insulative layers. Wool is extremely
durable, naturally rugged in tough mountain environments.
Sheep are cool in the Summer and warm in the
Winter. This is possible by three layers of fleece,
each operating in synergy to protect the sheep’s
skin from heat and cold, but also from skin disease.
In winter the wool fibers intertwine, making a
matted layer to block cold by trapping air, and
increasing the resistance to water, and moisture.
At the same time, the skin can breathe. This creates
a natural fiber, perfect for clothing/protecting
Wool can be itchy, but contrary to this common
notion, wool sweaters, mitts, and socks made with
these methods are not itchy at all, but soft and
non-irritating to the skin. The fulling process
not only makes a thick, matted wool material that
is extremely durable, breathable, highly wind
and water resistant, but it is soft, unlike other
products made from worsted or felted loden wool.
Wool is a natural, renewable, sustainable material.
This felted wool is then used
in many applications, including turning the fabric
into yarn for knitting. After a garment is knitted
with the felted wool fiber, it is then put through
the process of “fulling”, which is
very similar felting. Fulling is a combination
of hot water shocking, cleaning, alteration of
the natural ph balance, extended agitation, further
intertwining and matting, but the fibers also
shrink in the process, creating an incredibly
densely matted finished material that is not only
extremely durable, but also traps air. It’s
this trapped air effect that makes a fulled wool
sweater so extremely warm. This secondary agitation
and matting process creates an interesting texture
to the knitted pattern and design.
Boiled wool, is really a form
of fulled Wool, but rather Boiled Wool is produced
solely on a controled mechanical basis, at a set
temperature, mechanized and controlled agitation,
to produce sheets of ‘fulled wool”
ready for the assembly of panels of ready fabric
that have been cut to a desired shape. Boiled
Wool Sweaters are “put together”,
whereas Fulled Wool sweaters are knitted loosely
with large needles into a design or pattern from
pure wool yarn, then “fulled” to perfection,
and shrunk in the process.
Fulled or often referred to as
Boiled wool sweaters are used by Alpinists for
their warmth in extremely cold temperatures, windproof
qualities and high water resistance. Since they
are primarily used in Alpine zones where there
is likely to be snow, rather than extended rain,
these wool sweaters are a perfect combination
of water resistance, wind-proofness, and breathability.
From a safety aspect, wool’s texture offers
significant friction on snow or ice, aiding in
self arrest situations. Besides being a natural
durable material, this added benefit of safety
in the form of friction, is completely unique
to wool, and out performs from a friction standpoint,
even synthetics such as Scholler Cloth.
These sweaters are first knitted
with the complex Brioche Rib stitch using pure
wool. This complexity of the Brioche stitch requires
nearly 50% more wool than an average knitted sweater,
and creates knitted pattern nearly doubled in
thickness. Then, after the sweater is constructed,
they are put through the fulling process, thus
intertwining and matting the knitted pattern in
a never ending network of combined woolen scales
within the knitted pattern, tangled forever in
an incredible matted network. These sweaters will
not unravel, remain incredibly durable, and will
not fray or destruct, even if cut.
Boiled wool is produced industrially
and is characteristic to Austria and South America.
After very large knitted patterns are produced
in large sheets, the wool fabric is dyed (or not),
and are boiled and shrunk without the use of any
chemicals. Because of this and other factors,
boiled wool is very warm and usually does not
"Fulling" is the process of producing
felt fabric from animal fiber yarn that has already
been woven or knitted. Fulling takes the woven
or knitted fabric through the process of hot water
and agitation in order to facilitate shrinkage
and create felted fabric. In the Middle Ages,
"fullers" were textile workers who used
Fuller's Earth, a highly adsorptive clay that
removed grease and oils from the woven cloth.
The agitation of the cleansing action would shrink
and matt the fibers creating a fabric that would
not unravel. The term fulling stems from "fullare",
a Medieval Latin word meaning "to walk on
or trample". This process emphasizes the
agitation that is required in coaxing those fiber
scales to intertwine.
"Boiled wool" is another
descriptive term for felted cloth. The process
is the same as fulling but completed on an industrial
level in order to facilitate the handling of larger
quantities. Computerized controls finely tune
water temperature levels and agitation strength
in order to produce a consistent result. The yarn
is first dyed, then knit and shrunk without the
aid of chemicals. This process produces felt fabric
available by the yard, ready for cutting into
pattern pieces to be assembled into garments.
your Dachstein now
do I size my Dachstein?
Case Study on Size and Fit
One of the greatest alpinists ever, Walter Bonatti
(1930-2011), like most alpinists of the day, wore
wool pullovers, like the Dachstein.
"Ah, a hero you ask? The real
hero in this world is one who keeps faith in himself,
his personality, his true identity and in no one
else. He directs his life as his heart dictates
and not by the pressures of society. As I said
many years ago, this is really difficult and for
some impossible because we live in a society of
compromises" Walter Bonatti,
Escalde Interview 2001
Author of many books, Walter died at 81 in September
2011, in Italy. Having only climbed for 14 years,
his accomplishments in the mountains have been
celebrated for over fifty years, and he will forever
remain an icon of alpinism. Off Belay Walter!
Wonder if he was buried in his wool alpin pullover?
for your Dachstein. Always hand
wash, warm water only. Use real soap, no fancy
chemicals. Here is a good
link to information about handwashing your
sweater. For the Dachstein Sweaters, some small
amount of agitation is ok, as this is what has
made these sweaters what they are, and you can
actually increase the matting some to your desire.
Always do this in baby steps to ease the results.
NEVER DRY in a machine. ALWAYS air dry. The link
gives the scenario for drying (no rolling or wringing).