VIA FERRATA | MÜRREN

Via Ferrata | Mürren

The Italians coined the term “Via Ferrata”, meaning “iron path”. In German, it’s called «Klettersteig», or “climbing path”. To anyone else, it’s best described as “getting yourself into crazy places where only extreme climbers would normally go!”

What is it?

A Via Ferrata uses steel steps, ladders, cables and ropes to create a path along steep cliffs and rock walls. Using a harness and special carabiner set, climbers attach themselves to a safety cable and follow the trail of ladders and steps. Climbing these “iron paths” gives you access to places which would otherwise be too steep or dangerous for novices.

History

Dating back to the 19th century, via Ferrata’s were originally built to help people connect their remote alpine villages to mountain pastures.
Via Ferrata’s became popular during World War I when they were used to move troops through the difficult alpine terrain.
In recent times they have boomed in popularity as a recreational sport, with new routes being developed all over the world.

How popular are they now?

Italy

Austria

France

Switzerland

There are over 400 Via Ferrata routes in Italy, over 550 in Austria and over 200 in France. Switzerland has over 150 routes, and the 8-hour Tälli Klettersteig is considered one of the best in the world.

Grading

There are different systems for grading Via Ferrata and Klettersteigs. The Swiss Alpine Club has adopted the German scale, which grades routes from K1 (easy) to K6 (extremely difficult).

Choosing a Via Ferrata set

An essential part of your Via Ferrata equipment is the system used to attach yourself to the safety cable that runs along the route. This is known as the “Via Ferrata set”, and consists of a harness attachment loop, a shock-absorption system and 2 lanyards with 2 special carabiners at the ends.

Our Swiss Mountain Guide has these tips when choosing a Via Ferrata set:
– Make sure the carabiners open and close easily with one hand
– Check that the set is certified by the latest safety standard: EN958
– If buying 2nd hand, never get anything older than 10 years and look out for broken stitching around the shock-absorption system indicating a fall.

Caution: Via Ferrata sets are only rated for climbers between 40kg and 120kg!

Getting Started:

Before you set off on your first Via Ferrata, it’s best to join a group led by a professional guide and see how you like it. Joining a trip with a qualified guide will teach you:
– How to prepare and pack for the route
– How to use the equipment
– Safety techniques

…and help you if it gets tough/scary out there on the wall or when tears start to flow 😉

Via Ferrata | Mürren

The best Via Ferrata route near Interlaken is in Mürren. This route traverses along the cliffs above the Lauterbrunnen valley passing by the highest waterfall in Switzerland. In places, you’ll have 600m (2000ft) of air between the soles of your boots and the valley floor!

Grade: K3 – Somewhat more difficult protected route. Rugged rocky terrain, the majority of the route secured using steel cable, stemples, pins, or iron ladders.

Guide: Qualified Swiss Mountain Guide

Highlights:
1. The Hämmerecke (the hammer corner- you’ll see why!)
2. The Zip line (exclusive to guided tours)
3. The Swing Bridge (just wow)

The route:
You start off on the fringes of the forest and soon find yourself right on the edge of a 600m high cliff. It is steep and rocky terrain with many ladders, metal rungs and stakes to help you along the way.

Departures:
From June to October, 9:10 and 2:10 daily

Tip: Does Via Ferrata Mürren look too scary for you? Why not start out on the Adventure Park Interlaken and get a feeling for climbing around the trees in a harness.

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