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Via ferrata - evil or OK?
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donbcivil


Jul 25, 2006, 5:40 PM
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Via ferrata - evil or OK?
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I'm a fairly new climber in the US (Seattle area - about 3 months of gym climbing and some outside bouldering) who anticipates visiting Europe in a couple years and hopes to do some climbing while there. Our itinerary will include parts of England (London, Bath, visiting a friend in Norwich), probably up to Edinburgh, over to Paris, probably Florence, Italy and hopefully Bern, CH (where I had business trips 20 years ago but haven't visited since).

Picked up a DMM Klettersteig carabiner recently and looking up the meaning (my Deutsch is nicht sehr gut) led to discovering the notion of via ferrata. I wanted to get an idea of whether they were considered OK or not by European climbers...I have to say that they look like a bit of fun but I'd hate to have my favorite climbing area covered with metal staples.

Thanks, Don


core


Jul 25, 2006, 6:12 PM
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Re: Via ferrata - evil or OK? [In reply to]
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I think you should try it and see if you like it. I've always thought of it as aided hiking working into climbing. (It's essentially protected steep hiking and easy aid climbing). I'm sure you'll hear people say they love it and I'm sure you'll hear people say that it's not adventurous enough.

Do you know the history of via ferrata?


Partner srwings


Jul 25, 2006, 6:34 PM
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You know there are least two Via Ferratas in the U.S. One at Red River Gorge in Kentucky and the other at Nelson Rocks Preserve in West Virginia. I've done the VF at Nelson 3 or 4 times now. I don't consider it rock climbing but it is a great place to take non-climbing friends and family. They always have a blast and come away feeling like they have accomplished something. In fact, I'm taking my boss and a group of co-workers there once the weather cools down.

I'd hate to see VFs all over the place but I doubt that's a real risk anyway. I know you posed the question to the Euros but if you ask me VFs have their place.


dingus


Jul 25, 2006, 6:40 PM
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There's another one, the Cable Route on Half Dome. In various forms its well over a hundred years old and I suspect predates most of the European ones.

Many of the Euro iron ladders were constructed so that soldiers could kill one another in WW1. The Austrian and Italian alps were the scenes of major battles, an alpine version of trench warfare. A lot of us Americans know a smattering of the trench warfare aspect of the Great War. But most folks just don't know that soldiers were 'climbing to kill.'

Just for the history aspect I would love to experience one of the these historical routes. I have to assume not all of them have that pedigree however.

DMT


donbcivil


Jul 25, 2006, 8:29 PM
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Do you know the history of via ferrata?

Yes, via the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Ferrata.

Good links at the bottom too...


overlord


Jul 25, 2006, 11:44 PM
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the established ones are ok with me.

but i am strongly opposed to putting up new ones for commercial reasons.


paolo75


Jul 26, 2006, 12:07 AM
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in my "home" mountains (Dolomites) we have Ferratas everywhere...some of them are ok, these are the ones that takes you, for example, through old war trails, they have some kind of "historical purposes" behind, they follow a own logic...so for me are fine.
But, right now, I am totally against all new ferratas and ferratas of "the new kind" especially the ones that are built on really steep walls, following no logic at all, digging and building stairs, artificial steps and so on.


Partner booger


Jul 26, 2006, 12:16 AM
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In reply to:
in my "home" mountains (Dolomites) we have Ferratas everywhere...some of them are ok, these are the ones that takes you, for example, through old war trails, they have some kind of "historical purposes" behind, they follow a own logic...so for me are fine.
But, right now, I am totally against all new ferratas and ferratas of "the new kind" especially the ones that are built on really steep walls, following no logic at all, digging and building stairs, artificial steps and so on.

I agree Paolo. We just discussed this on holiday last week- the ones built directly above big walls pose special difficulties for climbers as troops of hikers drop stones of all sizes down on our heads. But they are a great way for non-climbers (especially families and young kids) to experience some of the exposure and excitement of the high mountains.

-boogah


paolo75


Jul 26, 2006, 12:35 AM
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I agree Paolo. We just discussed this on holiday last week- the ones built directly above big walls pose special difficulties for climbers as troops of hikers drop stones of all sizes down on our heads. But they are a great way for non-climbers (especially families and young kids) to experience some of the exposure and excitement of the high mountains.

-boogah

i agree with you. In fact I started climbing up some ferratas as well, but we gotta distinguish between ferrata that gives the possibility to enjoy the mountain "in a different way" for hikers, following logical path, trying to avoid the "over-presence" of iron cables and stuff in the wall and the "super-mega-iper-power" ferrata for super-mega-power hikers, up incredibly steep wall, avoiding ledges and easy parts:"because is not challenging", destroying and humiliating the mountain with tons of steel...


funtom


Jul 26, 2006, 1:19 AM
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Just for the DMM Klettersteig carabiner- You will NEED WHOLE FERATA SET- that means harnes, fall absorber and two binners for VF.And Helmet indeed.You can be hit via stone from the people above or man above himself.Dont try any "Made in Home Set" - it can kill you.From all that people buing equipment here, almost every Feratist think they are imortal.

I like Scarry them with terrible stories 8^)

But it can be fun.Imagine Yourself srambling up with Howitzer onyour back.


Partner heiko


Jul 26, 2006, 4:04 AM
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The thing is that going on a Via Ferrata is becoming terribly popular... it gives the motivated hiker a possibility so smell some climbing air and implies security (but hey, who wants to take a 10m fall and get caught by a semi-static ferrata set attached to a steel ladder??? that's gonna suck very much).

As Paolo said, one should distinguish. Take e.g. the Via delle Bocchette in the Brenta Group. It's a gorgeous multi-day hike through ledges on steep walls that take you around a good part of the whole group. This trail is protected by cables, and I think it's all right like that.

But then we have all this stuff obviously installed for plain commercial reasons... I don't like it very much, but as I said, there's quite a bit of audience for these things, many people seem to like it. You can do it solo, it's "not that hard" and pretty "safe". Every year people have to be rescued out of Ferrata's because of fatigue, or they die b/c their home-made gear gets ripped apart when they fall.


donbcivil


Jul 26, 2006, 6:53 AM
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Just for the DMM Klettersteig carabiner- You will NEED WHOLE FERATA SET- that means harnes, fall absorber and two binners for VF.And Helmet indeed.You can be hit via stone from the people above or man above himself.Dont try any "Made in Home Set" - it can kill you.

Oh yeah...I understand that there is special gear (Petzl, for example) for walking ferrata and would not be trying to use home made gear.

Living is fun, I'd like to keep doing it. :D

Don


donbcivil


Jul 26, 2006, 7:03 AM
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I agree Paolo. We just discussed this on holiday last week- the ones built directly above big walls pose special difficulties for climbers as troops of hikers drop stones of all sizes down on our heads. But they are a great way for non-climbers (especially families and young kids) to experience some of the exposure and excitement of the high mountains.

Thanks for the replies! I kind of wondered if via ferrata would be as popular with REAL climbers as installing an elevator at El Capitan in Yosemite would be here.

And hopefully I'll be a good enough climber by the time we visit Europe that I'd be embarassed to climb a ferrata. I'll probably be bugging folks on this forum for places to climb then in the countries I mentioned (mostly UK, Italy, Switzerland).

Thank you,

Don


olderic


Jul 26, 2006, 8:11 AM
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There's another one, the Cable Route on Half Dome.

In the same vein was the cables route on Longs and maybe even the giant rope up to the Lower Saddle on the Grand. Probably a few other spots where there are semi permenent installations. Acadia National Park has a few trails with iron rung ladders. Non of theses are as formal as the true ones but all are somewhat related.


melekzek


Jul 26, 2006, 8:45 AM
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In reply to:
Just for the DMM Klettersteig carabiner- You will NEED WHOLE FERATA SET- that means harnes, fall absorber and two binners for VF.And Helmet indeed.You can be hit via stone from the people above or man above himself.Dont try any "Made in Home Set" - it can kill you.

Oh yeah...I understand that there is special gear (Petzl, for example) for walking ferrata and would not be trying to use home made gear.

The reason is that if you fall on via ferrata without shock absorber, you can manage >>2.0 factor falls. There used to be a nice drawing in petzl site, but I am lazy to hunt.


troutboy


Jul 26, 2006, 8:50 AM
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There's another one, the Cable Route on Half Dome. In various forms its well over a hundred years old and I suspect predates most of the European ones.
DMT

And how about the trail up to Angel's Landing in Zion? Seems like a via ferrata to me, although I have no idea when the steps were cut and/or the chains installed.

T


marc801


Jul 26, 2006, 9:04 AM
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You know there are least two Via Ferratas in the U.S. One at Red River Gorge in Kentucky and the other at Nelson Rocks Preserve in West Virginia.
There's also a relatively new one in Ogden, Utah:
http://www.ogdenhub.com/...ns/climb/via-ferrata


delrio


Jul 26, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Look here:(german)
http://www.klettersteig.de/Main.asp

and here:(italian)
http://www.vieferrate.it/ferrate.htm


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