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”.
So my ass was kicked by the mountain I least expected it from. 4810m, how hard can it be, right? Wrong!
“50% chance of success” – they said. “Naaaaa” – I thought.
Brief intro just in case: Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe and EU. Also commonly known as Monte Bianco (for Italians). Or as a Death Mountain or White Killer (for pessimists). The reason for the later nicknames is quite obvious: although the mountain is relatively “low” (compared to Himalayas, or Andes for example), the number of people trying to climb it is quite high, resulting in a higher death rate, proportionally. Now enough with statistics. If you ask me: it’s not the mountain, it’s the joyfully crazy people that flock to Mont Blanc that top up the scales. If you stick to the “Normal route” and just plan to move your feet – you should be fine (unless avalanche hits and swipes you off those feet – about that later). But people there are nothing but normal, and so they leave this route for us, amateurs, and go up the mountain in some batshit crazy ways, and go down even in a crazier ones.