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Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata is the term applied to alpine scrambles using fixed ladders to surmount difficult obstacles and fixed cables for protection.

It is most important that a proper via ferrata clipping system, rather than a sling and a krab, is used to clip in to ladders and cables as, according to DMM, even a 60 cm fall-factor 1 fall on to an open Dyneema® sling can generate enough impact force (16.7 kN) at the anchor to pull a Wallnut 11 wire (12 kN) apart and this could be enough to break a karabiner in certain circumstances. It is also worth noting, that all these sets are considered to have a limited lifespan of around 5 to 10 years though this varies from one manufacturer to another and that they all have weight limits (minimum and maximum and typically between 50kg and 100kg) for the climber using them. Above and below these limits it is suggested that a dynamic rope belay is given as well, and this is particularly sensible in the case of young children - in fact, many modern via ferratas are equipped with "pig's tails", a fixed running belay systems into which a rope joining two climbers can be hooked as you pass.

Following a fatal accident, quite a number of via ferrata sets were recalled by their manufacturers in 2012/13 - please see the UIAA Website for a complete list.

Please click for more advice on Via Ferrata or for Via Ferrata Guidebooks.

Via Ferrata Sets:

Edelrid - Cable Lite 2.3


A very compact rip stop via feratta system using self opening karabiners.


Mammut - Tec Step Bionic Turn 2


A rip stop via feratta system using self opening karabiners. Twisting of the two elastic lanyards is prevented by the light and compact "Swifel" swivel joint.


Mammut - Tec Step Bionic 2


A rip stop via feratta system using self opening karabiners.


Petzl - Scorpio Vertigo (with Krabs)


Retractable via ferrata lanyard with tearing energy absorber and Vertigo Wire-Lock karabiners.


Petzl - Scorpio Vertigo (without Krabs)


Retractable via ferrata lanyard with tearing energy absorber. This version does not come with karabiners.


Black Diamond - Iron Cruiser Via Ferrata Set


A rip-stop via ferrata system featuring Black Diamond's very well designed Iron Cruiser karabiners with their hot-forged bodies and sleeve tops, and their locking mechanism which is actuated via an easy-to-grip sliding sleeve.


Black Diamond - Easy Rider Via Ferrata Set


A rip-stop via ferrata system, as per the Iron Cruiser, but with captive eye self locking krabs that just need a squeeze to open them.


Via Ferrata Karabiners: Locking karabiners that are easy to open one handed and are specifically designed for via ferrata use.

Black Diamond - Iron Cruiser Karabiner


Black Diamond's first attempt at making a Via Ferrata krab and it can't be faulted. Fits nicely in the hand and operates beautifully.


Petzl - Vertigo Wire Lock Krab


Petzl's excellent auto-locking Vertigo Via Ferrata Karabiner is very easy to use one handed and has its longevity extended by the addition of a wire loop to the gate mechanism. Single action locking mechanism (you can't use a double action locking krab for via ferrata).


Via Ferrata Accessories:

Black Diamond - Crag Half-Finger Glove


A lightweight, breathable and durable fingerless glove for belaying, aid climbing and via ferrata, that protects your hands without compromising dexterity.


Salewa - Via Ferrata Glove


Tough fingerless glove with Aramid reinforced and padded palm and a stretch lycra and mesh back. Designed to stop you damaging your hands on cables and ladders whilst still retaining dexterity.