Between climbing and hiking, Via Ferrata is a mountain sport that is practiced on rock faces equipped with bars and ladders. It is therefore safer and allows access to a wider public than climbing.
The Via Ferrata in Thônes
We are going to introduce you to a difficult, demanding but magnificent Via Ferrata. Located about twenty kilometres fromAnnecy, it is very aerial and overlooks the Haute-Savoie village of Thônes. Access is via the N203 following Thônes-Aravis from Annecy. At the entrance of the village, you have to approach the Hermitage hotel, the departure is just next to it.
The beginning is rather easy but the rest is extremely difficult and requires great sporting qualities.
The exposure being due south, it is necessary to take something to hydrate during the effort and to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
The change of cable section takes place in the middle of overhangs, which is an additional difficulty. The end of the route allows for two variations: the easiest is to use a ladder turned around to face the void. The other option is to climb up a slope using your biceps. A final effort through a section with fewer rungs and the return is made by de-escalating while being secured by the cable.
The start is at an altitude of 660 m, the difference in altitude is 235 m and the cable is 600 m long.
It is necessary to walk 10 MN to reach the start, the effort lasts 1 H 30 and the return is done in 30 MN.
The Via Ferrata of La Clusaz
This via ferrata is located in the high mountains above the typical village of La Clusaz, 30 minutes drive from Annecy. The return walk is quite long and is similar to hiking. It is of medium difficulty and is not suitable for children. You will discover beautiful sensations of emptiness. It is better to start this via ferrata early because the weather conditions in the mountains can change quickly.
The Via Ferrata of Abondance
This via ferrata circuit called Les Saix de Miolène is located in La Chapelle d’Abondance. It has three parts. The first is a good introduction to this sport. The other two are more aerial and require a good level. Not far away, the river Dranse allows you to practice white water sports over 20 km such as rafting and hydrospeed.
The Via Ferrata of the cave at Carret
This magnificent via ferrata, at La Féclaz, is reserved for very good level climbers. It requires an excellent physical condition. The programme is varied: passing through an arch, crossing vertiginous slabs, monkey bridge, Himalaya bridge, big roof beam and aerial exit on a pediglia (this is a step handle for one hand).
The departure is from the Doria aux Déserts car park for a 55-minute walk. The return journey is by the same route or by the Col de la Doria in 1 hour 55 minutes. The site is open all year round.
The Via Ferrata le P’tchi
Located on the same site as the previous one, this via ferrata is also reserved for experienced people. You will appreciate the succession of aerial passages and “L’Œil à Carret” which is a historical curiosity. You have the option of branching off to the previous route. The “Trottoir à Jules” will take you to the viewpoint of the Rocher de Charvettan.
Private Via Ferrata
Many clubs and sports event organisers offer private Via Ferrata, which are much easier and have a very playful tyrolean section.
Generally speaking, this sport requires a good physical condition and consideration of the weather before embarking on it.
You can consult the videos of the different Via Ferrata, to know the main difficulties.
There are also many famous climbing sites near Annecy.