hile western Canada has many beautiful hiking trails to offer, another activity worth experiencing while spending time in this country is via Ferrata. If you’re adventurous and trust your friends excursion booking skills, you’ll agree to do this without knowing what it really is (yep, that’s what I did!). However, if you are someone who likes to know what exactly you are getting into, you’ll appreciate this post.
What is via Ferrata?
When people ask me what via Ferrata is I tell them, “it’s like rock climbing with metal in the rock to step on and hold onto”. The literal translation of via Ferrata into English is “iron path” and that’s exactly what it is, an iron path built into the mountain that generally takes you to a summit. There’s equipment that you wear for safety, but otherwise, you just need a good pair of hiking shoes, a daypack, and a good supply of water. For someone with absolutely no climbing experience, this seemed like a doable activity.
As we like to say, “here comes us!”
As we like to say, “here comes us!” Three girls with no climbing experience taking on Mt. norquay. We booked the four hour “Via Ferrata Ridgewalker” experience. My nerves were settling in well, but Elise and Ashley were gung ho and ready to go! We met our group at the meeting point and headed to a room where we were provided equipment and given a briefing on how to use the equipment and how to climb safely. We were then taken to a small climbing wall where we could practice clipping in and out and climbing on the iron path. Once we all felt comfortable, we were taken to the ski lift which took us to the start of our climb. Ready or not, we were off for a four hour climbing experience!
Our guide was fantastic! He knew that I was nervous and he kept close to me. He made it a point to check in on everyone in the group and to be sure that we were all safe. He was able to do all of this while also stopping multiple times to take pictures of us hanging from cliffs and traversing bridges.
What you don’t see in photos:
For anyone looking at my photos of our via Ferrata experience, it looks like I am adventurous and brave. It looks like I have no fear. The truth is, I was terrified the entire time. I wanted to be close to the guide and not in the front of back. I was so afraid of slipping and falling. My friends did not have this same fear. They kept telling me to trust my equipment. I would respond with, “but i don’t want to have to trust my equipment.” Meaning, i knew it would protect me if I fell, but I didn’t want to fall! For someone this is only 5’2”, Some Via Ferrata paths can be a challenge. It can be quite difficult to reach the provided iron rungs when both your arms and legs are short. With that being said, i was able to overcome my internal fear and Although I would likely have the same fears, this is something I would do again as the views that you get from the top are spectacular and well worth the climb!