Ah via ferrata… as many of you will know, one of my favourite ways to spend time in the mountains. The perfect balance between technical and speed, faff and fun. I’ve been fortunate enough to have done via ferrata routes in several European countries – well mostly Italy, France and Slovenia. But I’m always hearing about more and, in the same way as I choose which adventure to do next, sometimes it’s the one just over the next ridgeline that I want to get back for.
With that in mind – and knowing I’d love to do via ferrata in as many countries as possible, given the chance, here are five (and a bit) via ferrata that are on my To Do list for later…
1. Bocchette, Italy
The original ‘one that got away’. On my very first time doing via ferrata, we were in the Dolomites. The other group were doing the Bocchette Centrali. It’s an amazing route between rock pinnacles, most famous for the long ledge with a huge cliff above and below, beside sweeping views into the valley. The Bocchette via ferrata is in the Brenta Dolomites, most easily accessible from the town of Madonna di Campiglio. You can take the cable car up to alpine meadow height and start from there.
2. Razor, Slovenia
Another one that got away. When I was in Slovenia in 2019, we were meant to climb Triglav and then I was going to head out on my own for a few days in the Julian Alps. Unfortunately, it was October and there was early snow. As it was a guided group, the route was changed to a much lower level hike. That meant that I ended up starting further south than anticipated and had to skip Razor off the end. I did still get a fantastic snowy plus cloud inversion ascent of Triglav but I still need to go back. I mean who can resist a mountain called Razor anyway?
I think I picked it off the map originally and then looked it up and fell in love. It’s single spire is just asking to be climbed. And the via ferrata route up it looks fun. It’s probably most easily accessible from Kranjska Gora, but you’d probably want to stay out in a hut somewhere because it’s a big old slog getting out of the head of the valley and back in one day, never mind the via ferrata.
3 (ish) Honister…?
Here’s the question mark via ferrata. I mean I kind of want to, but I also kind of don’t. On one hand, I’ve looked into those mine openings from Honister Pass and wondered what it’s like inside. I’m a sucker for mining history, tunnels, man-made caves – maybe something to do with growing up on Dartmoor. There are very few adits that haven’t got me excited. It’s also the most well known via ferrata in the UK.
But equally, it’s just so commercialised, as is the whole operation at Honister. It’s cool, but there’s something about how heavily the epic is sold that just puts me off. I mean it’s called the Via Ferrata Xtreme for heaven’s sake. At the time of writing it costs £60 per person and takes 3 hours. You’re not allowed to use your own kit and you have to have a guide. Which I do understand, I’m just concerned that the coolness of it being the Lake District and a place I know so well will be out weighted by it being simply not epic compared to other things I’ve done.
So I guess what I’m saying is we’ll see…
4. The Karnischer Hoenweg, Italy/Austria
Now this is a cool one. We all know that via ferrata originated as a way to move Italian troops along the front line in the mountains. This route is the front line. Much of the official route is walking but you can deviate up onto the ridge and do more via ferrata to your heart’s content. It looks fantastic and the history side of things would just be incredible. You even get to go through an open air museum.
I’d hoped to do it with my brother, but that kind of fell through. Still holding out for it though one day. I can’t believe I still haven’t done a multi-day linear via ferrata journey yet (like the Alta Via 2 etc). Video above gives a bit of flavour but not much actual via ferrata.
5. Rotstock, Switzerland
Last summer I did the Murren via ferrata near (ish) Grindlewald in Switzerland. I also laid eyes on the Eiger for the first time. There are two via ferrata routes in that area that I’d like to go back for, but I think the Rotstock tops it – because it’s literally just below the Eiger. It’s just over from the north face, so like you’re climbing it but without all the death and destruction.
And that’s all from me today. Do you have your eyes on any via ferrata routes? Do share them in the comments, I’m always looking for new exciting ideas. If you’re new to the blog (hello!) you might want to start here first. I’m a female adventurer based in the UK. If you’re wondering what I’m actually up to right now, join the Adventure Squad, my email newsletter. More like a monthly chat with a cuppa than anything. Or while you’re here, have a read of some of my other mountain adventures in walking, mountaineering and via ferrata.