By Eve Thomas
While the origins of via ferrata date back to the 19th century, the modern “iron road” was created by Italian soldiers during WWI to help them navigate the Dolomite Mountains. The routes include a network of rungs, ladders and steel cable attached to rock, allowing climbers to clip themselves in and out securely.
A via ferrata offers the best of both worlds: Less-experienced hikers (even children) can access more dramatic peaks and views than they would during a regular walk, while expert mountaineers can use the system to cover more ground and travel solo in safety.
“Whatever your skill level, go with a qualified mountain guide or experienced friend your first few times, and always get them to check your equipment – helmet, harness, lanyards – to make sure it is fitted properly.”
-Anna Chekurova, fitness instructor, Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace
400: The number of via ferratas in Italy. Find them around the world, including China, Kenya, Canada and Mexico.
Where to Climb
Ajax Peak, Telluride, Colorado, USA
Stay: Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge
Mount Norquay, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Stay: Fairmont Banff Springs
Rochers de Naye, Montreux, Switzerland
Stay: Fairmont Le Montreux Palace