One of my favourite things to do on days off is to go climbing with Menno. We love climbing via ferrata routes (or Klettersteig as it’s known in German speaking countries), and we’re extremely lucky to have lots in our area to choose from. Across the Tirol and down in to the Dolomites there are a great number of these routes, all offering different challenges.
Unlike traditional rock climbing with ropes, via ferrata climbing involves climbing up a rock face or along a ridge which has a thick steel cable fixed along it. The cable has fixed points along it to allow climbers to clip themselves to it. You wear a standard climbing harness and helmet, and have a special via ferrata set for clipping safely on to the cables. The via ferrata set consists of two elasticated lanyards with a special carabiner on the end of each one. Should you fall, the fixed points on the cable stop you falling too far, while the elasticated lanyards have an extra section of folded lanyard inside that tears open to help absorb energy and slow the fall. Routes are graded from A to E for difficulty, with A being a more like a simple scramble to E which is likely to be vertical with many overhanging sections and few and and foot holds.
My favourite thing about climbing these routes is that you get to reach places that would otherwise just not be possible. Sometimes that’s a ridge along the mountain tops, sometimes it’s climbing up a waterfall. When I’m climbing I feel completely free and connected with nature. Nothing compares to the feeling of reaching the top and sitting in silence and marvelling at the magnificence of the world we live in.