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This guidebook covers 66 varied via ferratas in the French Alps. The routes are spread over six areas: Geneva and the Northern Alps, Chambéry, Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys, Grenoble and Briançon, amid the Mont Blanc, Vanoise and Queyras ranges. Difficulty ranges from easy, protected routes through to exposed, technical challenges.
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With some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the French Alps have long been a popular destination for a wide range of outdoor activities. In recent years, the region has seen the arrival of a growing number of via ferrata routes.
Via ferrata climbing – using fixed cables, bridges and ladders to explore terrain that is normally only accessible to experienced rock climbers – combines elements of scrambling, mountaineering and rock climbing, yet is a very distinct pursuit. Increasingly popular, recent years have seen a surge in the number of routes being established in these iconic mountains.
The routes in this guidebook range from straightforward, protected walks suitable for beginners and children, through to highly strenuous and massively exposed challenges suitable only for those with experience. The guide gives full explanations of all the techniques and equipment required and all routes are graded for difficulty, exposure and seriousness.
Geneva and the Northern Alps - the area covered in this chapter encompasses the Chablais, Haute Giffre, Borne, Avrias and Beaufortain ranges within the Alps as well as the southern end of the Jura Massif. The 12 via ferrata routes described are spread out over a fairly wide area, and are fairly representative of French via ferratas, being quite varied in both style and difficulty.
Chambery - the small city of Chambery, scenically located in a wide valley between two mountain ranges, is the capital of the Savoie department. Most of the routes in this chapter are located in the Chartreuse and Bauges massifs. They are mostly sports routes, which involve little rock contact, and several of them are suitable for novices.
Tarentaise - the Tarentaise Valley encompasses the upper reaches of the River Isere, from Moutiers in the west to Val-d'Isere at its eastern extremity. All the routes in this chapter are situated just to the south of the valley, within in the northern half of the Vanoise Massif.
Maurienne - the majority of routes in this chapter are located along the course of the valley of the River Arc. All of the routes in this chapter are sports routes that do not involve large amounts of rock contact. Most of them are fairly easy with only a handful of more difficult routes. Several of the easier routes would serve as ideal introductions to the activity.
Grenoble - the nine via ferratas in this chapter include an even mixture of sports routes and mountain routes. They are mostly mid-grade option and are not suitable for absolute beginners.
Briancon - of the via farratas covered in this chapter, two are in Briancon itself, three are to the north of the city along the Guisane Valley and 11 are located to the south. The routes are representative of a good range of difficulties, and quite a few of them involve more rock contact than is typical of French via ferratas. A number are suitable for novices.
There has been a product alert for Petzl ASPIR harnesses. Please see the the following link for details: https://www.petzl.com/INT/en/Sport/News/2016-4-22/Alert--malicious-acts-carried-out-on-ASPIR-harnesses#.Vxz1NTcrLxB. Readers should bear in mind the issue raised by this alert when making any purchase of via ferrata safety equipment from the internet.'
Route 40 - Via Ferrata de la Cascade de L'Oule
This via ferrata remains closed and is unlikely to reopen during 2015
Route 40 - Via Ferrata de la Cascade de L'Oule
This via ferrata has closed due to rock fall. It is not likely to reopen this year but should be usable again from spring 2015.
New Via Ferrata Rocher de l'envers
A new via ferrata has opened close to the village of Saint-Vincent-de-Mercuze, which is located 10km to the north of Route 40 (page 224). The route is reportedly fairly easy and takes 2-3 hours to complete. It should be avoided in wet weather."
New Via Ferrata Bellevaux
A new via ferrata has opened near the village of Bellevaux. This is located 10km south of Thonon-les-Bains, near Routes 3 and 4. It is reportedly free to use with your own equipment, quite large and incorporates a number of bridges and other elements, covering a range of difficulties. The local tourist office contact details can be found at http://ete.bellevaux.com/office-du-tourisme-bellevaux-val-d-hermone.html.
p204; Route 36 Via Ferrata du Rocher Saint Pierre – Stage A: 1ère Partie
An additional section of via ferrata has been added, which provides an easier alternative to the Échelle de Tichodrome.
p219; Route 39 Via Ferrata de l'Adret – Stage B: Le Bastion
This is reportedly closed for the whole of the 2014 season. Stage A is still open.
p300; Route 58 Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance
A new section of via ferrata has been added, which is designed specifically for small children (ages four and up).
p327; Route 64 Via Ferrata de Fort Queyras
As of mid-July 2014 this route has been temporarily closed due to an access dispute. Hopefully the dispute will be resolved quickly, but make sure to check with the local tourist office before visiting. Their contact details can be found at www.chateauvillevieille.com/office-tourisme-ete.html.
|When to go|
|Getting to the Alps|
|Climbing with children|
|Accidents and mountain rescue|
|Using this guide|
|Geneva and the Northern Alps|
|Route 1 Via Ferrata Fort l’Ecluse|
|Route 2 Via Ferrata Jacques Revaclier|
|Route 3 Via Ferrata des Saix de Miolène|
|Route 4 Via Ferrata du Rocher de la Chaux|
|Route 5 Via Ferrata du Saix du Tour|
|Route 6 Via Ferrata du Mont|
|Route 7 Via Ferrata de Curalla|
|Route 8 Via Ferrata de la Tour du Jallouvre|
|Route 9 Via Ferrata Yves Pollet Villard|
|Route 10 Via Ferrata de Thônes – La Roche à l’Agathe|
|Route 11 Via Ferrata d’Ugine|
|Route 12 Via Ferrata Le Roc du Vent|
|Route 13 Via Ferrata de la Guinguette|
|Route 14 Via Ferrata Roc du Cornillon|
|Route 15 Via Ferrata École de Rossane|
|Route 16 Via Ferrata Savoie Grand Revard|
|Route 17 Via Ferrata La Grotte du Maquis|
|Route 18 Via Ferrata de Roche Veyrand|
|Route 19 Via Ferrata du Cochet|
|Route 20 Via Ferrata du Levassaix|
|Route 21 Via Ferrata du Lac de la Rosiere|
|Route 22 Via Ferrata de la Croix des Verdons|
|Route 23 Via Ferrata des Grosses Pierres|
|Route 24 Via Ferrata du Plan du Bouc|
|Route 25 Via Ferrata de Pralognan|
|Route 26 Via Ferrata des Bettières|
|Route 27 Via Ferrata Roc de Tovière|
|Route 28 Via Ferrata Les Plates de la Daille|
|Route 29 Via Ferrata d’Andagne|
|Route 30 Via Ferrata du Col de la Madeleine|
|Route 31 Via Ferrata du Pichet|
|Route 32 Via Ferrata du Diable|
|Route 33 Via Ferrata de L’École Buissonnière|
|Route 34 Via Ferrata du Télégraphe|
|Route 35 Via Ferrata de Poingt Ravier|
|Route 36 Via Ferrata du Rocher Saint Pierre|
|Route 37 Via Ferrata de Comborsière|
|Route 38 Via Ferrata de St-Colomban-des-Villards|
|Route 39 Via Ferrata de l’Adret|
|Route 40 Via Ferrata de la Cascade de l’Oule|
|Route 41 Via Ferrata Les Prises de la Bastille|
|Route 42 Via Ferrata du Croix de Chamrousse|
|Route 43 Via Ferrata de l’Alpe du Grand Serre|
|Route 44 Via Ferrata de l’Alpe d’Huez|
|Route 45 Via Ferrata Cascade de la Fare|
|Route 46 Via Ferrata Cascade de la Pisse|
|Route 47 Via Ferrata Les Perrons|
|Route 48 Via Ferrata de St-Christophe-en-Oisans|
|Route 49 Via Ferrata des Mines du Grand Clôt|
|Route 50 Via Ferrata d’Arsine|
|Route 51 Via Ferrata l’Aiguillette du Lauzet|
|Route 52 Via Ferrata du Rocher du Bez|
|Route 53 Via Ferrata du Rocher Blanc|
|Route 54 Via Ferrata de la Croix de Toulouse|
|Route 55 Via Ferrata de la Schappe|
|Route 56 Via Ferrata Les Vigneaux|
|Route 57 Via Ferrata de l’Horloge|
|Route 58 Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance|
|Route 59 Via Ferrata de Tournoux|
|Route 60 Via Ferrata du Torrent de la Combe|
|Route 61 Via Ferrata des Gorges d’Ailefroide|
|Route 62 Via Ferrata de la Falaise|
|Route 63 Via Ferrata d’Arvieux|
|Route 64 Via Ferrata de Fort Queyras|
|Route 65 Via Ferrata des Rochers de la Clapière|
|Route 66 Via Ferrata des Orres|
|Appendix A Routes listed in order of difficulty|
|Appendix B Glossary of via ferrata terminology|
|Appendix C Useful French words and phrases|
|Appendix D Useful contacts|