About Via Ferratas

Protection

On ferrata a climber is secured on a steel rope, which is anchored in the rock in various length intervals (given mostly by the difficulty of ferrata or rock possibilities). The anchoring looks like an iron rod with a loop. It is drilled into the rock, and the rope passes through the loop. The rope is fixed in the eye of the rod by two clamps to prevent it from moving. This creates a fixed steel rope on the rock. Today we can see some interesting ferrata in our country. A climber who climbs on a ferrata uses a shock absorber consisting of two elastic lanyards, carabiners and a ripp`n`stop brake, which is clipped on a steel rope. In the event of a fall, the carabiners get stuck behind the last belay below the climber and brake the fall (can be seen in the picture on the left). A ripp`n`stop brake, which operates on the principle of a damping element, also helps to reduce the fall. Without the brake, the lanyards would snap when the impact force is high. The climber also uses a helmet, a sit harness, a full-body harness, or he can use other equipment such as a ferrate blocker, a self-beleyed sling etc. More about ferrata equipment here. In the case of difficult ferrata climbing or lack of experience, we recommend that the group takes an experienced rope climber with the skills and experience necessary to belay others in difficult places or lower them if they cannot continue. A short rope around 30m long should be sufficient, and it easily fits into the backpack. Falling while climbing via ferrata can be very painful and dangerous. Rocks as well as anchor rods are very sharp. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful, be careful not to climb on wet ferrata, if it is not absolutely necessary (there are ferratas, which are wet all year round, through waterfalls etc.) and not to overestimate your abilities. In case of problems with the opening passages at the beginning of ferrata, it is good to look at the topo (map of ferrata) and check how many such places will be there, how long you will have to climb, or if there is an escape route ( some ferratas have an escape route to allow the climber to hightail it when out of strength).

 

History of Ferrat

Many of the routes used today as Via Ferrata are ancient military routes that made it easier and  for former soldiers, often fighting on mountain peaks, to climb to their posts. The creation of the first real ferrata is dated to 1843 on the Hoher Dachstein peak in Austria. For the same purpose and in the same spirit, the classic Grossglockner route was secured in 1869, and since 1880, short, secluded sections of the eastern walls of Brenta began to appear.

World War I caused a temporary fall in tourism in 1914–1918, but both Austrian and Italian soldiers built ladders, mined galleries and tunnels while guarding the borders of the Dolomite peaks. Many routes then followed the military either only partially or completely.

What is Via Ferrata?

It is a secured mountain path using a fixed steel rope that serves for protection. They are often supplemented with other steel aids such as steel footrests and tacks.

The securing rope, reliably anchored to the solid rock at regular intervals, serves to suspend the carabiner from the self-beleyed kit. Horizontal protection rope is used as a handrail at the easiest routes - to hold hands in case of slipping - especially in wet conditions, snow residues or icing. It is also used on access roads to mountain huts, where many less experienced tourists go.

Other artificial aids are ladders, chains, tacks, footrests, footbridges and pins. They serve as footholds and holds in places where natural terrain does not provide natural footholds and holds. Less experienced climbers can thus safely overcome even extremely perpendicular to overhanging stretches, which would be unattainable for them in the classical climbing process. In such a case, however, it is more "iron" than  rock climbing.

Present

Compared to the past, when ferrata were built in logical lines and to make it easier to climb, difficult and sports ferrata for adrenaline enthusiasts are being built more often these days.