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.
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”.