While we were visiting the castles in the Dordogne area of France, we came across a Via Ferrata and decided to give it a try. The via Ferrata in Italian means “iron path”. It is a protected climbing route where you are strapped into a steel cable. This cable runs along the entire route and is anchored into the mountain at 1 to 10 metre intervals. The route is set up with various things such as ladders, bridges, iron rings, and natural rock ledges to help you climb. Because you are strapped in, this allows people to do crazy and dramatic climbs without risk. The routes can vary in length, some lasting only an hour to others that can take a few days to complete. The level of difficulty can range from easy paths to hard technical climbing.
The majority of Via Ferratas are in Italy and Austria in limestone mountain ranges like the Dolomites and the Alps. There are other Via Ferratas in the world as well. They were first built in the nineteenth century but they became more common in WWI to help with the movement of troops.
The route that we did was on the side of a cliff. It started raining when we started but we made it. My favourite part was when we had to cross a cable bridge. It felt like I was walking on a bouncy tightrope. It was especially fun to watch my mom try to get across it. I thought it was really fun and I would like to do it again!