Via Ferrata — Climbing Rock Faces in Switzerland

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My friend Zhanna had been living in Switzerland for about a year before we visited her and her Swiss husband Gary. I had seen her post photos of many via ferrata climbs on her Instagram (which you must follow if you don't) and knew that was something we had to try when we came to visit. The photos from her first via ferrata took my breath away (here and here). We had never heard of this until she introduced us.

Via ferrata (Italian for "iron trail") is a climbing route made up of iron rung ladders and steel cable bridges. When climbing, you have to wear a harness and helmet. There is a steel cable that runs along the entire route, to which you clip in, so your harness is secured to the rock face in case of a slip. You're clipped in, so how scary can it be right??? Well, I was wrong about that. When you're on a vertical rock face and standing on a little metal step, with the ground far below you, a slip could be very painful and scary, even if you don't go crashing all the way down to the bottom. The entire way up, you are using your entire body strength to get you up... the steel cable seems like it would help, but it doesn't help get you to the top.

Since we were in Switzerland in April, many of the climbs were still closed due to snow. Luckily we found one that was at lower elevation. It was amazing; I can only imagine how good the higher ones are. Like we always say... we'll be back.

- Julia + Yuriy

Mostly Nikon D750 photos, with a handful of iPhone + Moment mixed in.

Crossing our first steel cable bridge. One cable for your feet and one for each hand.
I feel circus ready after this balancing act.
The hardest part was getting off the bridge and back on the rock.
View of the town below throughout our climb.


  1. Sign me up! Is this something that you have to pay to do or is it open to anyone if you have your own climbing gear? Looks amazing.

    1. Hi Kelly. Yeah it's free and open to anyone if you have a helmet and harnass! Our hosts had their own gear, and we rented ours nearby.

  2. Looking at the pictures alone got me scared. Then when you said ..... a slip could be very painful. Oh no darling, I'll skip this one. You are very brave, btw.

    from Japan (

    1. Haha, sweet of you Mima! Nobody slipped so it wasn't too bad!

  3. How crazy and scary! This looks like something I would Love to do one day. Like always your the photos are incredible which is why I have loved your blog almost since the beginning. Thank you for sharing your photos


  4. Which one was open? Going in May