Via Ferratas of the French Alps

66 routes between Geneva and Briancon

By Richard Miller

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.

Seasons

Seasons

the bulk of the routes are open from early summer to mid-autumn, with a fair number being open from early spring to early winter depending on local weather conditions
Centres

Centres

Geneva, Chambéry, St Jean de Maurienne, Grenoble, Briançon as well as numerous mountain resorts
Difficulty

Difficulty

a wide range of routes from straightforward protected walks ideal for beginners to highly strenuous, massively exposed endeavours suitable only for the most daring. All routes graded for difficulty, exposure and the seriousness of the environment. A full explanation of the techniques and equipment required is given
Must See

Must See

Routes on or near the Mont Blanc Massif, Lac Bourget, the Beaufortain Massif, the Vanoise Massif, the Chartreuse Massif, the Écrins Massif, the Queyras Massif and many other scenic highlights of the French Alps
ISBN
9781852846480
Availability
Published
Published
20 Jan 2014
Edition
First
Pages
352
Size
17.2 x 11.6 x 2.2cm
Weight
410g
  • Overview

    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.

    • 66 varied routes across six areas: Geneva and the Northern Alps, Chambéry, the Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys, Grenoble and Briançon
    • routes illustrated by sketch maps and topo diagrams
    • glossary of via ferrata terminology and a list of useful French words and phrases
  • Contents

    Contents
    Introduction
    When to go
    Getting to the Alps
    Getting around
    Language
    Costs
    Accommodation
    Maps
    Route grading
    Equipment
    Moving safely
    Climbing with children
    Dangers
    Accidents and mountain rescue
    Insurance
    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
    Chambéry
    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
    Tarentaise
    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
    Maurienne
    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
    Grenoble
    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
    Briançon
    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

  • Maps

    It is likely that the majority of readers will visit these routes by car; to that end a good, up-to-date, road atlas is highly recommended. Most of the routes cover a small area and make use of their own purpose-built approach and descent paths. For this reason, a topographical map will be of limited use.

    However, for a handful of longer mountain routes such as the Via Ferrata d’Ugine (Route 11) or Via Ferrata l’Aiguillette du Lauzet (Route 51), one may come in handy. In any event, if you plan to extend your outing beyond the via ferrata or just wish to have a better appreciation of the surrounding landscape, a topographical map will be useful. The Institut Géographique National (IGN) produces the standard range of French topographic maps, which are of a similar quality to British Ordnance Survey maps. The most suitable series is the IGN Carte de Randonnée TOP25 series, which has a blue cover. These are widely available from newsagents and tourist offices throughout France and can also be ordered online. The IGN website (www.geoportail.fr), which features scalable topographical and satellite maps, is also extremely useful.

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    April 2016

    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.'

    There has been a product recall for Black Diamond Via Ferrata self-belay lanyards. Please see the the following link for details: https://warranty.bdel.com/ViaFerrataRecall/Landing

    July 2015

    Route 40 - Via Ferrata de la Cascade de L'Oule

    This via ferrata remains closed and is unlikely to reopen during 2015

    September 2014

    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.

    August 2014

    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."

    July 2014

    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.

  • Reviews
    A bargain given the number of hours of enjoyment that could be had by doing all of the routes in the book.

    The guide has been compiled by Richard Miller who clearly holds Via Ferratas close to his heart. There are a whopping 43 pages of introduction, detailing everything from safety, equipment and when to go. If you're not familiar with the process of 'doing' a Via Ferrata, or are planning to go yourself without calling at a tourist info centre first, then do take the time to read this section.

    It's a bargain given the number of hours of enjoyment that could be had by doing all of the routes in the book.

    Matt Heason


    'This new book by Richard Miller is a must for any via ferrata fan looking to explore the ever-increasing spectacular climbs in the French Alps...

    This is a comprehensive guide with routes for everyone. The routes are all graded for difficulty, exposure and overall seriousness and each is illustrated with sketch maps, photos and topo diagrams. All the details are here including access information, approach and descent details, length of the route, and expected time. In addition to the routes themselves, Richard Miller also includes vital explanations of the equipment and techniques required to get you started and a glossary of via ferrat terminology to make sure you're in the know. There's even a list of useful French words and phrases included in the book to help you order yourself a stiff drink in a local hostelrie after a day on the mountain'.

    Trek and Mountain's Book of the Month, September 2014

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Miller

Richard Miller

Born on Jersey, Richard Miller first discovered a love of high places among New Zealand's Southern Alps. His passion for travel and exploring has since led to walking, scrambling, mountaineering and climbing across the globe. Latterly, having discovered the pleasures of continental Europe, he has focused on the Alps and Pyrenees.
Like many Brits, his first experience of a via ferrata was in the towering spires of the Italian Dolomites. Having found it much to his liking, he set about visiting as many via ferratas as he could and soon discovered a burgeoning number of new routes across Western Europe.

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