The Bellevaux Via Ferratas

This year I went to the Bellevaux Via Ferratas in June and the area had been damaged by the intense storms and rain from weeks of rain. I went there on Tuesday and the via Ferrata des Cascades was different. For a start there was no water in the cascade. As a result those who were canyoning down the waterfall were dry. It was also much quieter and the sensation from the via ferrata was different.

The section with the slight overhang.
The section with the slight overhang.

Water is dynamic, constantly moving and making noise. As a result it provides a sense of motion and danger. When water is not flowing footholds are easy to find and your focus can remain on the via ferrata. The Cascade is my favourite beginner via ferrata. The conditions I think beginners will appreciate are: 1. Easy access. Within 200m you are at the via ferrata ready to climb and 2. Proximity to the ground. This via ferrata does climb quite a bit but you are never that far off the ground so vertigo will not add badly to how exhausted you are by the end of the path.

This via ferrata has two thick beams you cross over the river and one nepalese bridge (one cable for feet, one cable per hand, fourth cable for the carabiners. There are short bits where you are climbing vertically and then one section where you negotiate a slight overhang. After this you have two more beams and the VF is finished.

The Village of Bellevaux an hour's drive from Geneva.
The Village of Bellevaux an hour’s drive from Geneva.

If you have energy left over you have two more via ferratas to enjoy. These are the Via Ferrata du Chatelard and the Via Ferrata “La Grotte De Cristal”. These are harder via ferratas. In the case of Chatelard the estimated completion time is about one hour and fourty five minutes. I completed it in over fourty minutes so I am not a reference. This via ferrata starts by ascending diagonally for a bit before continuing horizontally a bit further. Hand holds are not always easy to access and there are certain portions where you have an excuse to dyno (propulse yourself) to grab the next hand hold.

The Chatelard is physical but the views of the valley are nice. As you can see from the picture above you have a nice view of the town to the right if you have your back to the cliff and a nice view of the valley if you look to the left.

View from the Nepalese bridge
View from the Nepalese bridge

The Nepalese bridge offers a nice opportunity to admire the landscape. After this point you soon reach the combination point where the medium and hard via ferrata combine. From here you continue towards an excellent tyrollean. I tried it with both the red and the silver devices. With the red device I went fast and only had to pull for the last metre or two. With the silver one which I tried twice the ride is very fast. You hit the wooden ramp running. With a friend we did this twice each.

I strongly recommend that you try the tyrollean if you’re with a group of people that have the required equipment. It’s a highlight of the day.

When I do the third and hardest part again I will write about it. I tried it one or two months ago and did find it fun. I may write about it this weekend.

 

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