Preparation is everything!
Using via ferrata involves risks. You risk falling if you fail to prepare properly, lack the appropriate equipment or do not behave correctly. Qualified trainers will provide you with the skills required.
1. Plan carefully!
Planning is essential for safe and pleasurable tours.
Make sure you are well informed about level of difficulty and length, ascending and descending, the weather and conditions. For each via ferrata there is also guide literature with route outlines - a brief internet search also usually yields useful hits.
2. Tailor your goal to your personal limitations!
A level of difficulty that is chosen too high will make your experience less enjoyable and can lead to difficult situations.
Passion and ambition are admirable and without them we would not climb mountains. However, it is a matter of striking the right balance - between the desire to push boundaries and seek adventure on one hand and personal levels of know-how, fitness and training on the other. There are three key factors that must be taken into account: difficulty, length and the nature of the ascent and descent.
3. Use the complete range of standard equipment!
Climbing belt, via ferrata set and helmet:
Via ferrata can only be used safely if the correct equipment is appropriately used. A first aid kit and mobile phone should be carried for emergency use (Euro emergency number 112). Modern via ferrata sets - which contain a webbing fall shock absorber in place of brake plate and brake rope - are both safe and comfortable to wear. Especially important for enjoyable use of a via ferrata are functional via ferrata snap hooks, which are easy to use and close automatically. When purchasing you need to check carefully whether the carabiner model feels comfortable - a carabiner could be clipped and unclipped thousands of times! A helmet is also standard, whereas via ferrata gloves are nice to have.
4. Do not climb if there is a risk of storms!
Lightning can be fatal.
Rain, cold and wet increase the risk of falling. A via ferrata is also a giant lightning conductor. We strongly advise consulting the weather report for information on the likelihood of storms. Abandoning your plans or sound time planning are then your choices. You must also not react incorrectly if you are caught out by a storm. Stay attached to the wire cable. The risk of falling is always greater than the risk posed by lightning.
5. Carefully check the cable and anchors!
Rockfalls, snow pressure, frost shattering and corrosion can damage the via ferrata.
Do not climb closed via ferratas. Every via ferrata is also a path in a legal sense and has a 'pathkeeper', i.e. someone responsible for maintenance and its closure if necessary. This means - in contrast to climbing routes - that on open (!) via ferrata means that we are entitled to expect an appropriate standard of safety. Nonetheless: we should ensure that we remain vigilant at all times.
6. Check your partner before starting to climb!
Check one another:
belt fastener, connection between via ferrata set and climbing belt, helmet. Before setting off we apply the two-person rule and check one another's safety precautions.
7. Stay an appropriate distance apart!
Only one person should be moving between two fixed points.
Modern safety technology can prevent falls from via ferratas but not a free fall to the next anchor. And this could be as far as six metres. This huge fall energy can also be dangerous for someone climbing too close behind.
8. Clear communication is essential when overtaking!
Communication and consideration prevent dangerous situations during overtaking manoeuvres and when someone is coming in the opposite direction.
It may be a good idea not to use a via ferrata if it is overcrowded.
In any event, overtaking manoeuvres must be discussed and performed - with due care and consideration - in suitable places.
9. Beware of rockfalls!
Careful climbing prevents rockfalls.
This recommendation underscores the vital importance of wearing a helmet. In addition, however, our aim is to stress the importance of clean movement and solid climbing technique so that we do not cause rockfalls ourselves, thus endangering those behind us.
10. Respect nature and the environment!
Use public transport or travel in car pools.
Do not drop litter or make noise. Via ferrata enable us to explore natural spaces and it goes without saying that we should not litter, make noise or disturb wildlife and grazers and keep to the designated routes when ascending and descending. We should also think about how we reach our departure point: car pools are good, public transport is even better.
Alpine emergency number: 140