Klettersteig: Adventure with a safety net

It’s not exactly easy to say, but it’s not that hard to do.

Klettersteig, or via ferrata, are permanent and protected climbing routes found in mountain ranges around the world.

In Klettersteig, climbers follow a fixed steel cable along a set climbing route using iron rungs, pegs, carved steps and sometimes ladders.

Using a special kit, climbers are safely secured to the cable which means usually difficult routes can be completed in a safe fashion by relatively inexperienced climbers.

Klettersteig range from fairly easy hour long tracks to challenging alpine routes that can take more than 8 hours to finish.

Where to do it

  • Italy: There are more than 400 via ferratas in Italy with over half located in the Dolomites.
  • Austria: Home to over 550 klettersteig, the sport is extremely popular in Austria and is promoted as a way to get out and experience nature. Many consider Austria’s Arena route as the technically hardest klettersteig in the world.
  • France: France’s got its first via ferrata in 1988, and since then there are around 200 located throughout the French Alps, Massif Central, the Pyrenees and Corsica.
  • SwitzerlandDespite being smack-dab in the middle of the Alps, Switzerland only opened its first via ferrata in 1993 and there are now over 150 spread across the central and western Switzerland
  • Germany: There are about 180 Klettersteig in Germany and the easiest can be done without special equipment.  Most are found in the southern regions of Germany near the Austrian border.
  • You’ll also find tracks in Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, Canada, China, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Peru and the USA.
Via ferrata, Mt Kinabalu, Borneo. Photo by Travelmate Holidays Sdn. Bhd.

Via ferrata, Mt Kinabalu, Borneo. Photo by Travelmate Holidays Sdn. Bhd.

via ferrata Mt Kinabalu, Borneo. Photo by Travelmate Holidays Sdn. Bhd.

Via ferrata Mt Kinabalu, Borneo. Photo by Travelmate Holidays Sdn. Bhd.

Via ferrata in the Dolomites, Italy. Photo by Marcus Povey

Via ferrata in the Dolomites, Italy. Photo by Marcus Povey

Klettersteig Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc, France. Photo by Johanna Sasse

Klettersteig Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc, France. Photo by Johanna Sasse

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

For the whole family! Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

For the whole family! Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Klettersteig Allmenalp, Switzerland. Photo by Michael Beat

Klettersteig Allmenalp, Switzerland. Photo by Michael Beat

Via ferrata, Vidourle, France. Photo by Christophe Delaere

Via ferrata, Vidourle, France. Photo by Christophe Delaere

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Hanging about. Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Hanging about. Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata in Le Caire, France. Photo by Alpes de Haute Provence

Via ferrata swing bridge in Jallouvre, France. Photo by Christophe Delaere

Via ferrata swing bridge in Jallouvre, France. Photo by Christophe Delaere

Via ferrata over Riva del Garda, Italy. Photo by Jon Shave

Via ferrata over Riva del Garda, Italy. Photo by Jon Shave

Would you? Photo by Cyril Bèle

Would you? Photo by Cyril Bèle

Main Image by Alpes de Haute Provence