What is a Via Ferrata?

A via ferrata (“iron way” in Latin) is a cross between scrambling and climbing.  Climbing a via ferrata requires minimal equipment.  Unlike other climbing paths, a via ferrata is a route that is marked by metal rungs and rails embedded into a mountain.  Via ferratas are typically easy to follow and make it possible to manage cliffs and ledges that would otherwise be impassable.  Here are three things you should know before you climb your first via ferrata.

Clip in as far forward as you can with your equipment.

When you are traveling on a via ferrata, you will be using wire that is bolted into the mountain.  When you come across a bolt, unclip the top carabiner and put it on the next wire.  Next, undo the second, and put it next to it.  At all times, you should have one carabiner attached to the wire.

If you clip in as far forward as you are able to, it will help you break your fall early in the event that you do fall.  If you fall near the top of a wire, you will fall the length of the wire before the via ferrata kit assists you.  This can make the difference between a short fall or a huge fall, and you don’t want to take the chance of bouncing off a rock on the way down.

Pay Attention to the Elements

In general, mountain climbers are not overly concerned with bad weather.  They will climb the mountain whether there is snow, sun, wind, or rain.  However, when it comes to via ferratas, you have to take the weather into consideration.  Wile snow and ice are not a major problem, they may cause footholds to be slippery.  If there is a storm, you will need to be cautious since you are on an exposed mountain ridge that lacks escape routes and you are attached to a long metal wire.

Visit San Juan Outdoor Adventures in Telluride, Colorado to sign up for your via ferrata adventure full-day private tour.