What is Via Ferrata?
In Italian, via Ferrata means “Iron Way”. Essential, via Ferrata are designed to be scrambles or easily climbed routes that are equipped with cables for safety, and possibly ladders and bridges according to the terrain.
The cables are fixed to the rock at regular intervals. These intervals can vary from 2 to 10m depedning on the complexity and difficulty of the climb but are designed to aid access for multiple abilities. Some people like to climb the rock wherever possible; others will use the cables as a handrail.
Fun, Accessible and Safe!
Either way it’s an exciting and popular outdoor sport that offers a quick and safe way of moving through the sort of terrain that would normally require ropes, and is very popular across routes in the Italian Dolomites.
UK Climbing website states that, for equipment you should consider the following:
You’ll need your harness and helmet, but not your rock boots or chalk bag. However there is one essential piece of specialised equipment – a shock absorption system that links your harness to the cables, usually referred to as a set of tails. Traditionally this was a 2m length of rope, with a krab at either end and a friction device called a KISA (Kinetic Impact Shock Absorber). This goes in the middle of the rope and attaches to the harness. Each time you come to a bolt fixing the cable to the rock, you clip one krab on the cable beyond it and unclip the other.
In the event of a fall, the KISA will slide along the rope, absorbing the shock gradually. More recently manufacturers like Petzl have introduced the Y-shaped system, such as the Zyper-Y. Details of these, and loads of other useful info, can be found on the Petzl website.