My first via ferrata: what do I need to know?

Linda Eigner

Do you like hiking and are you looking for new challenges? Then via ferratas are just right for you. The combination of climbing and hiking has been booming in recent years like never before. The NAKED crew has summarized all the important information for you for the first via ferrata. "the via ferrata is calling and you must go".

What should be considered when climbing via ferrata?

Before you set off for the first time, there are of course a few things to consider. Thanks to the different levels of difficulty, via ferratas are for everyone. Nevertheless, you should definitely be free from giddiness and sure-footed. Even if you don't have to be an experienced climber, the adventure with the wire rope is demanding. So the motto for the first few times is: Better to underestimate than overestimate. With every via ferrata you gain more experience and get better and better over time. Safety first 😉

NAKED Optics insider tip: In order to learn the right technique and learn everything about safety when climbing, we recommend a via ferrata course with a state-certified mountain guide. Find more information about via ferrata courses in Austria here.

Via ferrata equipment: what do I need?

The right equipment is the be-all and end-all when going via ferrata. Before you set off, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the equipment and check whether it is still in good condition. The basic equipment for via ferrata includes a via ferrata set, climbing harness, helmet and the right footwear, as well as via ferrata gloves. The latter are required above all for via ferratas on steel cables.

Are there differences between the via ferratas?

A via ferrata is of course not the same as a via ferrata. There are different difficulties and types. Basically, a rough distinction is made between the insured climbing routes, the classic climbing routes and the sport climbing routes.

  1. Insured via ferratas are particularly suitable for beginners. The way to the summit leads over partially secured areas. When hiking, a certain challenge awaits you.
  2. Classic via ferratas are suitable for advanced hikers and climbers. On the way up you cross various elements such as iron steps, ladders or rope bridges.
  3. Sport via ferratas are ideal for experienced outdoor enthusiasts who have already had more experience with via ferratas. Sport via ferratas are often located in open terrain with overhangs. Therefore, in addition to muscle strength, the right technique is also required.

Degrees of difficulty on the via ferrata according to the Schall scale

Various scales and descriptions are used for better orientation with regard to the difficulty of the via ferrata. A popular Austrian scale is the Schall scale. The via ferratas are rated based on their difficulty and divided into 5 scales. This simplifies the planning of the next tour:



Climbing difficulty 1-2

Simple (hiking) paths with sometimes short ladders, iron brackets or railings. Especially suitable for beginners without via ferrata protection.


Moderately difficult

Climbing difficulty 2-3

Steeper terrain than climbing difficulty 1-2. Be sure to use a via ferrata safety device. Paths with longer ladders and iron clamps.



Climbing difficulty 3-4

Steep and demanding terrain with small, exposed passages and partly overhanging ladders. Requires experience, strength and focus.


Very difficult

climbing difficulty 5

Very demanding, steep and vertical terrain, some of which is only equipped with a steel cable. The climbing elements (pin, clip) are often far apart. Climbing experience required.


Extremely difficult

climbing difficulty 6

Partly overhanging and very demanding rocky terrain. Only recommended for experienced people. Strength, technique and skill are required.

In addition to the sound scale, there are other orientation and evaluation aids. You can find out more about the Hüsler scale, the French and Italian scale here.

Ready to climb?

As soon as you have familiarized yourself with the safety precautions and the equipment, you can almost start. Before climbing you should definitely check the weather and plan enough time. Then it says: The via ferrata is calling and you must go

Credits: Photo by Colin Moldenhauer on Unsplash

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