Ed from Matterhorn Chalets recently went out testing the Via Ferrata in Zermatt. If you want to experience the thrill of climbing but without most of the risk, this is a great option for a summer activity.
Via Ferrata in Zermatt
Zermatt’s ‘Klettersteig’ has been cleverly laid out along the Turmwang cliffs, which overlook the village from the west.
They stretch between the Triftbach torrent and a point roughly in line with the railway station, from where it’s about an hour’s walk back down to the resort centre.
Three distinct sections of Via Ferrata
There are three distinct sections, each one more technical than the previous, although it is possible to ‘escape’ from the route at the end of each section.
The first section is particularly suitable for novices or children accompanied by a guide who can also arrange for an exciting abseil back down to near the start. More experienced climbers will find doing the full route an engaging enterprise which takes 3 to 3½ hours.
The history of Via Ferrata
Originally developed during the first World War in the Dolomites as a way of getting Italian soldiers through otherwise inaccessible Alpine passages, the modern Via Ferrata or ‘Kletterstieg’, relies principally on a steel cable bolted to the rock every few metres to which climbers attach themselves as they proceed along an equipped path or climbing route.
Where necessary, the way itself is provided with a series of metal rungs, ladders and bridges which facilitate the climber’s progress along a route which can vary in length from under an hour to several hours.
Constant attachment to the cable is ensured by means of a double lanyard with two carabiners attached to a body harness via a shock absorption device. The equipment is highly specialised and subject to rigorous safety standards.
In addition, use of a safety helmet is advisable as a precaution against falling pebbles and rocks and thick gloves should be worn to protect the hands against occasional loose steel threads and the abrasion caused by gripping the cable.
For more information, contact Zermatt’s Alpine Centre or take this link.
For details of accommodation in Zermatt or for mountaineering holidays in Zermatt, please contact Ed or Suzanne from Matterhorn Chalets.