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Guide to the Vie Ferrata in Italy

CABLE WALKES | VIE FERRATE IN THE DOLOMITES OF ITALY

vie ferrate dolomites

Vie Ferrate (in English: " Iron Way"), is a fixed-protection climbing path, mostly found in the Dolomites mountain range in northeastern Italy.·

A via Ferrate is a fixed-protection climbing path. The protection consists mostly of heavy-gauge steel wire, periodically fixed to rock with thick metal bars with eyelets on the end. These bars seem very similar to the 're-bar' steel that is used to reinforce concrete in buildings. These metal bars are drilled and cemented into the rock.

In some cases, other types of aids are present, such as rungs of metal (aka 'stempels'), and ladders and bridges.

Some vie ferrate is easy enough that they may be climbed without any technical gear at all. However, many of the ferrate go through areas with huge amounts of vertical exposure and some are fairly difficult technically. Therefore, depending on the level of exposure and technical difficulty (and your own level of comfort with the unprotected climbing), you will want to be physically attached to the ferrata for safety.

Some vie ferrate is easy enough that they may be climbed without any technical gear at all. However, many of the ferrate go through areas with huge amounts of vertical exposure and some are fairly difficult technically. Therefore, depending on the level of exposure and technical difficulty (and your own level of comfort with an unprotected climb), you will want to be physically attached to the ferrata for safety.

For adequate safety, then, a few bits of basic gear are usually needed when climbing on a via ferrate: a harness, a helmet, gloves, and some sort of dynamic attachment from the harness to the ferrata itself. Typically this is some sort of y-shaped lanyard with a dynamic belay device. A good example is the Petzl Zyper-Y. On the end of each tip of the y-shaped lanyard, an auto-locking carabiner is used.

When climbing on the ferrate, both carabiners are locked onto and slid along the wire rope of the ferrate. As rock-attachment points are reached, the carabiners are individually unclipped and re clipped beyond the attachment point, thereby ensuring that one is clipped into the ferrata at all times. Additionally, In areas where the wire rope runs vertically, it is also important to space yourself out from your fellow climbers such that no one climber is on the same segment of wire between two rock-attachment points.

As long as these few simple safety rules are followed, climbing on a via ferrate is about as simple and secure as protected climbing gets! They are a great way to experience the fantastic scenery of the dolomites from a perspective that few usually see.

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