The Leukerbad via ferrata

By | 11/10/2011

The Leukerbad via ferrata is beautiful and challenging and should be attempted once you have more experience of via ferrata. In particular experience both of the spikes and of rock climbing are recommended. There is a telecabine to the top which will cost you 15 CHF rather than 32 with the demi tariff.

From the top there is a 20 minute walk to the base of the via ferrata. From there the climb is a nice one. You are accompanied by the sound of an alpen horn being played in the valley below. You climb quite a few ladders, you pass by a wooden Swiss flag painted on planks of wood which have been bolted to the rock. As you climb further you find your hand and foot holds planted straight on to the rock. The cable is there and you could pull yourself up on it but this is less elegant.

You pass by a few waterfalls and streams running down from where the snow is melting in a cavern. The cavern starts with a vertical crack in the rock for a little time. From there the climb goes from being horizontal to vertical. There are two options. The easy and the hard option. Both meet a few meters above. The easy option has a ladder whilst the hard option has rungs. These are ever so slightly overhanging. You also cross two wooden bridges. When both paths meet again you climb and exit the cave. You have a nice view over the valley once more and the climb goes vertical again. If you have done the Belvedère via ferrata at St Hilaire du Touvet in France then you will experience a familiar feeling but at a greater altitude.

Once to the top of this “chimney” there are two options once again. You can walk up along the scree path or go through a cave. I skipped the cave and chose the easier route at this point whilst those I was with chose the other. From what they told me there is a path with an aerial view. At this point you are getting to the end of the via ferrata with another traverse and the final ladder. The final ladder brings you to the summit.

The ladder brings you to an impressive view of a snow field and glacier in the distance. From here there is a 40 minute walk back down to the telecabine and back to normal life.

This is a beautiful via ferrata but go with experienced friends, get some experience of via ferrata with direct contact with the rock. If you’re going for speed take two or three bottles of water and make sure to travel as light as possible. If you are going for a less rushed approach still travel light but have a torch in case for the walk back down to the valley in case you miss the last telecabine.

I trained well but was carrying too much weight so the via ferrata tired me out. As a consequence my right calf muscle felt as if someone had taken a bite out of it.

Good luck as you attempt this most challenging of swiss Via ferrata.

Here are a few image so you can get a sense of scale.
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627798230296″]

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