Equipment for via ferrata
Crossing via ferrata, i.e. routes insured by steel rope, leading through demanding and exposed high mountain terrain can provide quite a thrill. On trails of this type you will encounter a number of facilitations: anchors, buckles, hanging bridges and steel ladders, installed on vertical rock. Via ferratas are exciting and challenging, and the easiest way to get a glimpse of the rocky world. W 17. issue of Outdoor Magazine you will find a detailed guide, in which we describe how to start the adventure with this activity and recommend places worth visiting. This, on the other hand, you will find some equipment suggestions that, in our opinion, will work well on iron perches. Here is the equipment for via ferrata.
For via ferrata we dress the same as for any trip to the mountains. As always, the key is shoes – approach or ankle boots, depending on your preference, it is important that they are comfortable and have a good sole. Phone, map, first aid kit, spare socks – standard kit, but you should try to make your backpack as small and light as possible, this will make it easier to move in difficult terrain. In this guide we will focus on additional equipment, absolutely necessary for safe via ferrata travel. Here is the equipment for via ferrata:
- Additional belay equipment.
Helmets for via ferrata
A helmet for via ferrata is simply a climbing helmet (standard EN 12492). It should be lightweight, allow easy and quick adjustment and fit well on the head with or without a cap. Here are some of our suggestions.
Piuma model by Salewa. Ultralight and versatile, will be available in spring. OM editors have already had the opportunity to test it – it is worth waiting for the release. Weight: 175 g (photo. Salewa) SIROCCO® helmet by Petzl. Lightweight and durable, with an extra standard that allows it to be used for skitouring. Weight: about 160 g. Price: about 420 zł (fot. Petzl) Wall Rider by Mammut is a proven, almost cult model. Fits well, weighs little, looks good. Weight: 220 g. Price: approx. 360 PLN (fot. Mammut) VISION HELMET – MIPS
Black Diamond brand. Very strong and durable model. Weight: ok. 240 g. Price: ok. 400 zł (fot. Black Diamond) SPEED COMP model by CAMP is a strong helmet designed for ski mountaineering competitions – it has a climbing and skiing standard. Weight: 350 g. Price: approx. 500 zł (fot. CAMP) Salathe model by Edelrid. Modern, lightweight. Weight: ok. 200 g Price: ok 340 zł (fot. Edelrid)
Hip harness made in accordance with EN 12277 type C – climbing or specifically designed for via ferrata (higher attachment point, easier lunge tying, but cannot be used for climbing – climbing harness is therefore more versatile). It should fit well and not hinder movement, both in thicker and thinner clothing.
ADJAMA by Petzl is a climbing harness that has been on the market for years and is a proven, cluster climbing harness. There is a women’s equivalent, and there are versions without adjustable thigh loops (lighter), which are worth looking into. Weight of this model: 485 g (size M). Price: ok. 320 PLN (photo Petzl) MOMENTUM harness by Black Diamond, quite minimalist and lightweight, comfortable and versatile. Pictured is the women’s version. Weight: ok. 300 g (size M) Price: ok. 240 zł (fot. Black Diamond) Ophir 3 Slide harness by Mammut. Swiss manufacturer is a guarantee of durability and precision workmanship. This harness will last for years. Weight: 370 g. Price: approx. 350 zł (fot. Mammut) SENDERO model by Edelrid, a modern, versatile and refined. The brand’s equipment has improved a lot in recent years. Weight: 315 g. Price: ok. 320 zł (fot. Edelrid) ENERGY CR 3 by CAMP. A slightly cheaper alternative to its predecessors. Weight: 375 g. Price: ok. 200 PLN (fot. CAMP) Traditional climbing harness with three buckles by Ocun, the popular Twist model. Weight: 370 g (the smaller of the two sizes). Price: ok. PLN 220
The EN 958-compliant lanyard is a piece of basic and specific equipment for via ferrata. This is a lunge with an energy absorber, whose task is to cushion a possible fall.
A lanyard we tested that we think is a good choice: Cable Kit 6.0 by Edelrid. Large user weight range: 40-120 kg. Weight: approx. 514 g. Price: approx. 440 zł
Falling off on a vertical section of via ferrata involves a very high risk. According to the EN 1686 standard, the length of any flight on such a route must not exceed five meters. That’s quite a lot, though, considering that, unlike in climbing, the flight is braked not by a belayer and a dynamic rope, but by a completely rigid system of ropes and anchors embedded in the rock. It is easy to imagine that stopping such a fall is quite brutal. Therefore, a good lanyard with energy absorber is an indispensable piece of equipment.
Rippable webbing absorbers are considered the best solution today. They are disposable, but on via ferrata flights are very rare – we try to avoid them like fire. If there is already a flight, such an energy absorber absorbs the acting forces to the greatest extent and minimizes the risk of injury.
Longline for via ferrata CABLE COMFORT by Edelrid. Has comfortable carabiners (we checked) and an additional swivel to prevent twisting of the arms. Weight: 577 g. Price: 0k. 520 PLN (fot. Edelrid) Petzl’s SCORPIO EASHOOK is a proven, very good lunge with a swivel and a third resting arm. Flexible arms, very large and ergonomic carabiners are the assets of this lunge. Weight: 470 g. Price: ok. 500 PLN (fot. Petzl) SKYRISER lanyard by Skylotec with additional protection of the carabiners’ arm with a steel plate for longer life. Weight: ok. 650 g. Price: ok. 480 PLN (fot. Skylotec) PREMIUM ATTAC by Salewa. Weight: approx. 520 g. Price: ok. 320 PLN (fot. Salewa) Captur via ferrata lunge by Ocun. A classic solution at a good price. Weight: 545 g. Price: ok. 350 zł (fot. Ocun) KINETIC – Ferrata Set by CAMP, minimalist, simple, without flexible arms and with smaller carabiners with an automatic lock. CAMP has more advanced options on offer, this one we show for example. Weight: 470 g. Price: ok. 320 zł (fot. CAMP) Climbing Technology’s Classic-K Slider lunge is one of the cheapest models on the market. Weight: about 480 g. Price: approx. 300 zł (fot. Climbing Technology)
They can come in handy, especially in colder days and inclement weather. Should be durable, leather or synthetic, allowing gear operations, while protecting from cold metal parts and abrasions. They should provide good grip.
CRAG HALF-FINGER gloves by Black Diamond. Price: ok. 80 zł (fot. Black Diamond) CORDEX gloves by Petzl. Price: ok. 160 zł (fot. Petzl) Simple and minimalist VIA FERRATA DST GLOVES by Salewa (photo. Salewa) Proven patent – gloves by American brand Mechanix. They fit great and are very durable. Available in some Polish mechanics or military stores (fot. Mechanix)
Additional belay equipment
When hiking with a child or weaker partner, some people choose to bring additional belay equipment. A minimalist kit can include: a short rope (e.g. 30 m), a lightweight belay device (guide plate), a couple of carabiners (personal, screw-on, for position), a couple of loops / repsznur. Here we show only one example kit.
Rope 9.5 Crag Classic Rope by Mammut (photo. Mammut) A classic, reliable, versatile and proven belay device. Maybe not the lightest, but one of the best – ATC-GUIDE by Black Diamond (fot. Black Diamond) Great carabiners are made by Welsh gear manufacturer DMM. Here HMS Phantom (photo. DMM) Good loops at affordable prices are offered by Czech Ocun. Here, the 11mm wide dyneema loop (fot. Ocun)
We recommend our complete guide in print, in which, in addition to techniques and equipment, we also present interesting places for via ferrata adventures. And if you prefer the video version, take a peek at this video:
Equipment needed for via ferrata (photo. outdoormagazine.pl)