‘Via ferrata’ in translation means an ‘iron route’. It originates from the first world war when they build such routes to support troops high in the mountains. Probably the most famous ones one can find in the Dolomites, but they’ve been built everywhere in the Alps. A modern via ferrata is basically a climbing route protected with fixed gear such as steel cables, footholds, and ladders.
For this, we will drive across the border to Austria on the north side of the Karawanks. It’s a beautiful countryside drive which takes us through impressive valleys. We will park the car next to the mountain hut that offers refreshments. From there you will get a view of the whole route that takes us over a rock tower, sets us on the ridge bordering Austria and Slovenia and crossing over a wire bridge brings us down again 6-7 hours later to the starting point.
It takes approximately 40-60 minutes to reach the via ferrata from the starting point. The subsequent climb to the top of the tower takes around 2 hours. From there you have another hour to get to the top of the ridge. All timings can, of course, vary depending on condition and physical level of fitness. It can get demanding since the ridge is quite dynamic with a lot of ups and downs. However, we do have the option of skipping the summit to call it short for the climb down. The hardest section of the via ferrata is rated D but most of it is categorized A-B. Thus you need some basic experience in climbing.
Climbing via ferratas in the Alps makes sense when there is no snow. Therefore, the best period is between the beginning of June and end of October.