Bare rock faces, lofty heights and amazing views: you only need to look at all the different via ferrata routes to imagine the tension, the thrilling excitement and the unforgettable sheer adventure of climbing them.
There are so many rock-climbing experiences to be enjoyed in the Sunstar regions, too! Read on to find inspiration...
Climbing a via ferrata is midway between normal mountain hiking and free climbing. "Via ferrata" is an Italian expression which means "iron path". It refers to a climbing route that crosses natural or artificial rock and has been secured with iron ladders, pegs and rungs and steel cables. These devices are used partly as additional finger and footholds to help you climb and partly to secure yourself by attaching your via ferrata kit. On difficult climbs, you can also secure yourselves by being roped together.
Climbing via ferratas is very popular with all age groups and with individuals, couples and families. Ideal for everyone, from beginners to professionals.
LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY
WHERE FARMERS WENT TO MOW THE MEADOW
In the past, farmers used to climb up to the Pinut on wooden ladders to mow the grass, but nowadays you can enjoy a fantastic via ferrata route up the Flimserstein. This historic via ferrata dating from 1907 has now been totally renovated. Here, along with stunning views, you can also enjoy riskfree thrills – provided that you show the necessary respect and take the right safety precautions. The route takes you up three almost vertical rock faces and across two terraces. A particular highlight is a natural tunnel around 20 metres long. The path is protected by a ladder laid sideways, but immediately below is a gaping void, offering hair-raising views of the depths below. Classified as level of difficulty K1 – K2, easy to moderately difficult, the route is also suitable for children aged over 14.
THE CLASSIC CHALLENGE
Graubünden's first via ferrata, the "classic via ferrata" in the Rätikon mountain range, was created in 2005. At the very end of the St Antönien valley, it leads up the south face to the summit of the Sulzfluh. This via ferrata gets straight to the point with plenty of close contact with the rock face, steep stretches demanding a lot of strength and rope bridges at vertiginous heights. The second, steeper section features some impressive crossings of near-vertical scree-covered slabs and a balancing act on the "Deichmann bridge". The last stretch is the "Wailing Wall", the most physically strenuous part of the whole route. You are rewarded with fantastic views at the summit cross. This demanding, quite long route is classified as level of difficulty K4 – K5 and is suitable for experienced via ferrata climbers with a good standard of fitness – not for beginners.
Area Rätikon, St. Antönien/Sulzfluh (2,817m) | Ascent 2:15 hrs. | Via ferrata 2:30 hrs. | Descent 2:15 hrs. | Difference in altitude 450m (via ferrata) | 1,400m (ascent/descent) Starting point Sunstar Hotel Davos or Sunstar Hotel Klosters
This rock-climbing experience is technically easy and requires little upper arm strength. The via ferrata is pretty well ideal for a memorable family day out, because it is perfect for combining with a ride round the Partnunsee lake in a rowing boat. And, if you feel like it, you can round the day off with a scooter ride back down to the valley! At level of difficulty A/B, easy to moderate, this is also suitable for children aged from about 8 to 10 and for beginners.
Area Rätikon, St. Antönien (2,231m) | Ascent/descent 623m /623m | Lowest point 1,621m, Highest point 2,231m | Timer 4:00 hrs. | Length 7.5 km | Starting point Sunstar Hotel Davos or Sunstar Hotel Klosters
VIA FERRATA WITH A NORTH FACE FEEL
The route leads up a 260 m high rock face just to the right of the face of the Eiger. Another attraction of this via ferrata is the old train tunnel, because until 1903 the terminus of the Jungfraubahn railway was in the north face of the Rotstock. The route is classified as level of difficulty B, moderately difficult, and is recommended for experienced via ferrata climbers and alpine hikers with a good head for heights and the necessary equipment. In fact, the via ferrata is basically easy, but it is not recommended for beginners on account of the unsecured, difficult descent.
Area Bernese Oberland, North face of the Eiger/Rotstock (2,663m) | Climbing time 1:30 hrs. | Total time 3:00 hrs. | Height of climb 260 vm | Total ascent 530 vm | Starting point Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald or Sunstar Hotel Wengen
NOT UPHILL BUT DOWNHILL
Normally via ferratas take you up the mountain, but this spectacular route takes you across a cliff and ends up 300 m lower! High above the Lauterbrunnen valley, along the steep rock face from Mürren, the route leads down to Gimmelwald. The steep sections are made safe with steps, ladders and iron rungs. The adrenaline rushes come from the dizzying views down into the valley, and from crossing one gorge on a zipwire and, at the end of the route, crossing another on a Nepalese-style footbridge. At level of difficulty C, this is a difficult via ferrata. Beginners are recommended to do the route with a guide.
Area Bernese Oberland, Mürrenflue (1,645m) | Climbing time 1:45 hrs. | Total time 2:00 hrs. | Height of climb 250 vm | Total ascent 270 vm | Starting point Sunstar Hotel Grindelwald or Sunstar Hotel Wengen
FUN ON THE ROCKS IN SWITZERLAND'S SUNNIEST CORNER
The rugged cliff face of Sasso Torrasco towers above Monte Carasso between Mornera and the Capanna Albagno. That's where you'll find the Via Ferrata dei Tre Signori, which consists of three different routes: The Via Media, moderate to medium difficulty (B to C), the Via Difficile, medium to high difficulty (C to D) and the Via Media di Collegamento, moderate to medium difficulty (B to C). A special highlight of the tour is the 15 m-long suspension bridge at the end of the Via Difficile version. From the top, there are amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
Area Ticino, Bellinzona district, Monte Carasso | Climbing time 2:30 hrs.| Total time 4:00 hrs. Height of climb 400 vm | Total ascent 500 vm | Starting point Sunstar Hotel Brissago
WAY UP HIGH
This panoramic route in the Hohsaas area must be one of the most beautiful via ferratas in Switzerland and is also the highest in the western Alps! Classified at level of difficulty B/C, moderately difficult to difficult, it offers some nerve-tingling moments on the rocks for experienced climbers. With 1,000 m of steel cable, 400 rungs, 5 ladders and features that include a rope bridge and a scramble net, this is a via ferrata route that guarantees sheer excitement. And to top it off, there are stunning views down to the valley and fantastic panoramas. As for the summit, when you make it there, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Weissmies, the Allalinhorn and the Mischabel range.
Area Hohsaas / Jägihorn (3,206m) | Ascent/Desent 870m/ 871m | Lowest point 2,400m | Hightest point 3,203m | Time 6:00 hrs. | Length 5.8 km | Starting point Sunstar Hotel Saas-Fee
UP ABOVE THE ROOFS OF ZERMATT IN 3 STAGES
Divided into three sections of varying degrees of difficulty (A, B and C), this via ferrata combines excitement, dizzying views down and beautiful panoramas. Welcome to the skies above Zermatt. More information
Length 2.9 km Time 1.15 hrs., Ascent 314m, Descent 314 m, Lowest/highest point 1,605/1,925m
Length: 3.3 km Time 2.15 hrs., Ascent 458m, Descent 458m, Lowest/highest point 1,608/1,972m
Length: 5.5 km Time 3.30 hrs., Ascent 791m, Descent 791m, Lowest/highest point 1,603/2,164m
Starting point Sunstar Hotel Zermatt