The ‘Eastern Dolomites’ in Italy is blessed with some of the most beautiful & rugged hilly terrains of the Alps. The sky-tapering, humongous peaks & the towers of sturdy rocks of this part of Alpine have been attracting the mountaineers & hikers from all around the world. Ever since the French army Captain Antonie de Ville stepped onto the peak of ‘Mont Aiguille’ using ladders in the 15th century, the adventure seekers have been clinging to this mountain region to brave their ways up to the summits.
Via Ferrata: The Iron Way-
‘Via Ferrata’ or the ‘iron path’ plays the vital role in appeasing the hiker’s appetite for the adventure to scale the mountains of the Dolomites in Italy. The ‘Via Ferrate’ (the plural of Via Ferrata) is the series of climbing routes equipped with bolted anchors, steel cables, fixed iron ladders & suspended bridges which provide climbers the basic setup required for scaling the breathtaking pinnacles of the Dolomites terrain with the help of minimal climbing equipments.
‘Vie Ferrate’ pave the ways through the craggy territory of the South Tyrol, Alto Adige & the Veneto. The generous & secured climbing aide provided throughout the climbing paths patrons the rookie climbers to access even the most remote edges which, normally, only veteran rock climbers can access. Myriad route options are available to select the most suitable route as per the one’s skills, fitness & confidence level. For climbing these magnificent Dolomites peaks, all you have to have is, some bare minimum essential climbing equipment’s, optimum fitness, a good head for heights & of course, the guts to sustain till the very end, that’s it!
Although the ‘Via Ferrate’ are equipped with the basic setup needed for climbing, the climber need to carry a set of other essential hiking equipment’s. Comfortable clothing pair, ankle-supporting trekking shoes, backpack stuffed with first aid kit, energy snacks, water & glucose powder. The helmet, harness, Ferrata Gloves & Ferrata set containing two carabineers, short ropes & a breaking device are utmost important gadgets for assuring the secured climb.
For the mountaineers planning their climbs early or late in the season, an ice axe & crampons are highly recommended. Carrying a head torch or a flashlight is always a great idea as it may aid you for exploring the ruins, trenches & tunnels carved by soldiers during the World War I.
Put on your helmet & harness; attach the Y-configured ropes & carabineers properly to the climbing ropes, set your backpack & you are all set to march upon the mighty Alps!
- The first thing to be aware of is, at any cost, stay connected with the hiking cable using both carabineers. The hiking cable rope is periodically fixed to the rock surface with pins & hooks. Every time you come across the fixture, you need to unhook your carabineers from the lower side of the pin to hook it on the upper side. While doing so, you need to be cautious to release & fasten one carabineer at a time avoiding detachment of both the carabineers simultaneously. You are advised to stay connected with the cable by one carabineer at all the time while negotiating the pins.
- Gripping the cable rope firmly with one hand & helping yourself to grab the crevices or sharp edges with the other hand will alleviate some strain on the shoulders.
- Placing your feet firmly to hold the surface & pushing the body upward is also useful to cover maximum distance using the minimum strength. Relying too much on the arms would shorten your endurance.
- Avoid unnecessary congregation at one spot at a time & provide the climbers with generous space to make moves. Spacing is essential to avert the chain of falls as one falling climber may disturb the balance & grip of his next fellow & in turn, he may unsettle his next, & so on, resulting in the chain of the falls.
Challenges & Threats:-
- Although the well trodden paths, an abundance of the climbing facilities & trekking gadgets ensure the safe & secured way up to the pinnacles, the challenging nature & the difficulties associated with the strenuous activities like mountaineering shall never be ignored at any cost.
- The awareness of self fitness & skills is also important to select the most suitable path to scale the mountains. Overrating yourself & thereby ending up choosing the wrong path may result in anything between awkward to harsh consequences.
- Making an outing at ‘Vie Ferrate’ will give you one or the most outstanding experience in your life invariably every time you dare to cling to the hefty rocks of Dolomites. Proper equipments, patience, appropriate selection of the route, fitness & the eagerness to reach atop hold the key to gaze at the world from the top of the most beautiful corner of the mesmerizing Alps!