Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road”, being literally a steel cable and bars attached to otherwise impassable face of a cliff, making it traversable for anybody above the age of 15, physically capable and in a sane state of mind (or insane, if you ask me). It’s considered safer than rock climbing, but with higher chances of injury in case of a fall. Whatever safety grading system that is.
What I like about Chamonix is that every person here (except for sightseeing tourists) risked his, sometimes hers, life to have that drink at the end of the day. They all come with their own story: the mountains they climbed, the canyons they jumped into, the air they glided through… It all comes down to the good company over a drink at the end of the day. With no fear for the future. Just the happy faces appreciative of the day gone well, with no accidents, with no injuries, and with good memories shared with good friends.. It’s not about money. Your status is frowned upon here. It’s about your character. And physical abilities. To meet and greet the real world head on. Solo. And not with army of management team. It’s about your attitude. Not your authority. The only authority these guys have is mother nature. And it’s far beyond any human being. No matter what many human beings think.
Yes, canyoning. Not canoeing. What I thought in the beginning. Kayaking? – was my last hope. Nope. That was so far the most extrememly absurd thing I’d done. But it starts quite innocently. You put on a wetsuit, like for diving. And harness, like for climbing. And that’s pretty much what you’re gonna be doing: diving and rappelling down a canyon, filled with ice cold mountain water.
Via ferrata became popular during the First World War, not for recreational purposes, but to aid troops move around the Dolomites. Nowadays there are over a 1000 via ferratas in the world, majority of them in the Alps, all of varying length, difficulty and the “scare factor”.