Here we are, we put on the harness, knotted the Set of Ferrata, tested the carabiners, fastened the helmet and we see straight to us the characteristic red sign that indicates the beginning of the aided way. The cable is inviting and beautifully vertical after a couple of meters resting. The day is sunny and the surrounding environment is just what we wanted for a few hours outdoors. We are in good company and everything is ideal for having fun. But here are the butterflies in the stomach that announce us that we are "under review": After having talked about it, read it, seen photos, now we are there that we must climb. And you know: if you start a via ferrata it is important to complete it because going down is often more difficult than continuing.
This in-depth analysis aims to describe some conditions that will make our first via ferrata exit easier, more fun and safer.
If we have never traveled a via ferrata, we recommend choosing the company of an experienced person to guide us along the climb and explain the various things to us safety and progression maneuvers to be taken before and during the climb. A similar approach is to go up with one Mountain Guide which is the professional figure that can accompany people to carry out activities in the mountains. The Alpine Guides are trained people who have carried out very long and in-depth vocational courses on all the activities that take place at high altitude and are used to working with inexperienced people. On our site we have selected a small number of Alpine Guides who work on Vie Ferrate by organizing outings and thematic courses on via ferrata. At this link is thelist of Alpine Guides divided by region in which they operate.
The last option is to attend a course in the CAI (Italian Alpine Club). The CAI is present throughout the national territory and discloses the knowledge of the mountain relying on the contribution of volunteers who are generally well prepared. Some sections of the CAI perform specific courses on Via Ferrata while others offer climbing or mountaineering courses. The courses of the CAI are composed of a large theoretical part in the classroom and some exits in the environment.
On our blog we have described with specific article the criteria with which to choose the obligatory material to cover the via ferrata: theharness, the Ferrata set and helmet. These three personal protective equipment they are essential every time we go up one route and need attention in choosing them. If you do not have experience in mountain activities, you should get help when choosing.
Of course you will have to carefully evaluate clothing and footwear. The clothing depends on the season and the altitude at which the route is taken. However, we always recommend an onion-based approach with multiple layers that will allow us to remove or add layers: a thermal and breathable shirt, a sweatshirt or fleece and a jacket are the minimum to have with you. We also recommend a cap, cap or similar because sometimes the wind is the most disturbing element more than the actual temperature. Comfortable trousers, such as those for climbing or trekking.
Those with trekking experience know that socks they are very important. If you make a short trip the problem does not exist. If you travel many kilometers, it is a good idea to have a pair of technical socks that do not favor blisters. For our first ferrata, we will probably not undertake a long and demanding tour.
Finally, the footwear. There are two schools of thought: approach shoe or boot. The advantage of the first is that the shoe does not wrap the ankle giving greater freedom of movement, the sole and the toe are specifically designed to adhere to the rock and offer good climbing performance. Their main counter is the pro of the boots: wrapping the ankle for greater stability and reducing the possibility of retorts or distortions. This problem is not so present along a climb in via ferrata as in the approach and return sections. It is a subjective choice but, according to the author, for the first few laps we recommend boots to eventually switch to both and choose the footwear based on the itinerary (conditions of approach and return in the first place).
As with many other mountain activities, it is necessary to proceed step by step. Adding complexity to the list of emotions and issues that we face along the first exit is useless and potentially dangerous. We suggest choosing one via ferrata that is easy, not too long, with good rock and a environment not too isolated. In short, you need common sense to avoid aggravating the situation if you encounter problems along the climb. Our panorama of via ferratas in Italy offers many options and our site helps you find these routes:
Here we are on the practical side of progression. Once the company has been chosen, once we have chosen the itinerary, we must proceed. We list the rules to proceed in via ferrata in a didactic way:
We also wrote one checklist of 20 things to remember before going up.
Among the elements that it is right to consider before climbing a via ferrata is also the weather and the power supply. Avoid driving the first via ferrata with unstable weather: we would add a further element of difficulty and uncertainty to our new adventure. Finally, thesupply it helps us not to feel heavy but to have all the energy needed to make a physical effort.