Via Ferrata

April 11, 2019

What to take on a via ferrata

What equipment should you carry on a Via Ferrata?

Heading out on a via ferrata, it's important to make sure you have all the right equipment. Below is a brief overview of things I may carry on a via ferrata in the Écrins and surrounding areas.

Also check out our via ferrata safety page

1) Harness.

Make sure you have a climbing harness that fits you and is comfortable for you to move around in, for most people this will be a sit harness, but you can get a full body harness which is recommended for small children.

2) Helmet.

A good quality climbing helmet, light is best and with lots of air vents.

3) Via ferrata Lanyard.

These are purpose made for via ferrata and its important to use them. They should have two arms that have K rated carabiners for attaching to the cable, and a energy absorber section that takes the energy out of the fall. It is important to know that these lanyards come with a weight rating, so make sure if buy one for a very light person that it will still operate as it should. Some also have a third attachment point for another carabiner this is a shorter arm to clip to a rung to rest if you feel tired and can be quite useful.

4) Rucksack.

A small day sack, around 20 litres is a good size for via ferrata, sometimes you may need to attach your helmet to the outside for the walk in and out. Make sure you have a few zip pockets on it as you don't want to loose the car keys when getting a drink out.

5) Gloves.

Some people like to wear gloves on a via ferrata, as the rungs and cables can be quite rough. Most people go for fingerless so they can still operate the carabiners easily. There are specialist gloves for doing this, but a good option is mountain bike gloves if you have them already.

6) Spare layer

It's always worth having a spare warm layer in the bag, you never know when the weather can change and the wind picks up, something light warm and windproof is good.

7) Water.

Make sure you carry enough to drink, especially if on a south facing route, as they can be a real sun trap and dehydration will slow you down and can make you feel ill.

8) Food.

Depending on how long your route is this could be some emergency snack bars in your pocket or a full packed lunch for the top.

9) Sun Cream.

One of the great things about the Écrins is the 300 days of sunshine a year, so it is super important to make sure you have sun cream, put it on first thing in the morning so your hands aren't slippy when climbing, but carry some aswell to re-apply if needed.

10) First Aid Kit.

I normally carry a small first aid kit, containing some plasters, wipes and finger tape, sometimes on via ferrata you will find the odd sharp bit of metal on a rung or where a small strand of wire on the cable is sticking out, which can lead to small cuts on fingers and hands, its handy to have something to sort this out.

11) Sunglasses.

As with the sun cream having some sunglasses is a good idea, the sun can reflect off the rock making it very bright. Maybe don't take you best set incase you drop them!

12) Torch.

If setting off late or doing routes outside the main summer season, packing a small torch can be a life saver.

13) Phone.

Not only can you access our free via ferrata guide on your phone, you may need one to use in an emergency. Please put it in a zip pocket as you don't want you latest smart phone disappearing down a cliff.

14) Map.

If you don't really know the area it's a good idea to carry a map, not all of the walk off's are straight forward.

15) Camera.

It's great to get photos of you doing the via ferrata, make sure you have it attached to you, don't want to drop it.

16) Rope & gear

If going out with beginners or children I take a rope and the extra metal wear to use with a rope, obviously not only do you need the rope you also need to know how to use it.

17) Mountain bike.

Only kidding or am I?

In the late 90's I though this was a good idea, we didn't come down the same way.

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