Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

June 23, 2014

Via Ferrata Kandersteg, Switzerland

A trip to the Alps isn’t complete without experiencing climbing on a Via Ferrata, also known as Klettersteig in German. They were sort of invented during the world wars to get soldiers up and over high passes, using pegs and cables to go straight up the side of cliffs. These routes have now morphed into a sport all of their own, with new routes springing up all over. It isn’t really mountain climbing, as there are no ropes and complicated gear involved, just a harness and a via ferrata kit.

This would be my third time up this particular Via Ferrata above the town of Kandersteg, Switzerland. It starts out climbing steeply up a cliff near a waterfall, and continues to climb steeply up several ladders and across a cable bridge over a stream. Rated a 4 on a 5 scale, this particular route isn’t for the faint of heart.

There are places to stop along the way, but it’s pretty consistently exposed and vertical. I particularly like the twisting ladder to get from under a cliff and back onto the wall!  

There are even a couple of zip lines on the route, one of which has the gear already in place if you don’t bring your own. Not to mention a second long, high cable bridge! The route is very solid with good protection, although it is quite exposed....you’ll love the views even as it is hard to look down at the open air under your body.

Although this might not have been the best route to take a beginner(!), this was Jim's first Klettersteig.  He was a trooper and even cracked a smile at times, although we both felt a little exposed.  I think we secretly envied the paragliders we saw floating above us as we sweated our way up the cliff.  (Luckily, that's our plan for tomorrow!)

Overall this is a great Via Ferrata...easy to access from the valley onto the shoulder of the Almenalp, and an simple way back on the cable car within minutes of finishing the route...just make sure you are there by 5 p.m for the last ride down! 

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