Via Ferrata in the berg

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Dark Horse
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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by Dark Horse » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:11 pm

I'm sure you seriously don't want to hear the best things that I've done? I'm guessing you just having a personal dig so hopefully it's made you feel better. (If you really really do I can send you a PM)

My personal opinion on Breaking rules:
Drinking and driving - not cool
Not stopping at a red light- not cool
Theft- not cool
Not asking permission before you bolt a via ferratta in a national park and a world heritage site - not cool

Picking up the ball in a game of soccer - cool
Surfing 10 foot pipeline on a 5'8(kelly slater) - cool
Insisting to the church that the world is round - cool

I have many more examples but I'm sure you get my point, some rules are meant to be broken and others... well it's just not cool.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:45 pm

Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:23 pm

For the record I am not pro- or anti-VF, I am anti breaking rules put in place to protect our natural heritage so that we may all enjoy it, forever. Anyone breaking those rules for their own selfish ends jeopardizes the access to these areas which affects us all. It also weakens the position of the MCSA which is often called on to negotiate access to areas for climbing and other uses. Landowners hear about these things and they say: "Why should we listen to you, when you cannot even control the actions of your own members, let alone those climbers who are not members of the MCSA?".

Access and climbing is not a right, it is a privilege which comes with certain responsibilities like obey they rules so that everyone may also enjoy the same privileges that you do.

Kayakers encouraging rafters to use "their" rapids does not change the river, it remains the same for everyone. If I want to take people climbing who have never climbed before I take them to easy existing sport crags, I do not open a new crag for them.
Happy climbing

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:45 pm

Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by WarthogARJ » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:32 pm

Snort and DarkHorse,
Ha ha ha.
Great points.
Well some of them..:-}
Actually I fired off at DarkHorse because of his reply to me, but I'm not trying to be personal.
Sorry if I was.
Please accept my apologies if so.

I think the really good thing is what we're having: a discussion about VF's.

And as far as what's cool and not, well, I guess that IS part of the discussion.
I think pushing the envelope and doing things against Park Rules in a given country can indeed be acceptable.
Not talking just here but anywhere.
The Parks can have rules that are NOT always in the best interests of the users.
USA has many examples.
Can be difficult to get them to change: can be very bureaucratic.
Is not really the Parks' guys fault: sometimes even they don't like the rules they are forced to follow.

You heard the saying rather ask for forgiveness than permission??
Well, here we are.

I'm canvassing some of my European friends for some more input on the pros and cons of VF's.
When I get it, I'll feed it in.
One person I know who supports them is the Chief Guide at Chamonix.
You don't get much more of a mountaineer than that.

And as stated before, if you read the Objects of the MCSA I think a VF falls into that quite well.

As for breaking rules, if you knowingly break one, for whatever reason, even for the purpose of pushing the limits then you cannot whine if you are hauled up for it.
But Alard isn't whining.

I've been out of RSA for a while, with fairly brief visits back.
But from what I hear there are lots of things in the Parks that are not being looked after.
It's not like this VF is the worst thing that's happened.
I'll let others fill in the details on that.
Perhaps the Parks admin and lawyers should devote their vigour on some of the more pressing issues.
However Alard is an easy target.

And as the guys in favour of it are arguing it should help get more public support for preserving our wild areas.
I don't understand the arguments against this.
There are LOTS of Europeans who climb VF's.
Italians, Germans, French, Swiss etc etc etc.
I think many more than pure climbers.
I suspect after climbing a VF they've been won over to support the mountains.
What's wrong with that???

As far as is this particular VF well constructed, I have not yet climbed it.
However from the description of the materials used and how it was done (from Alard), plus knowledge of Alard's professional competency, I think one can pretty safely bet that it IS of a high standard.
However I'll confirm that when I climb it.
I doubt that this is an issue tho.
It's safer than a lot of the bolts in Cape Town!!!!

P.S. And no, I'm not directly involved in it.
I would have helped tho if I had been here.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by David Vallet » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:26 pm


You mentioned you don't understand when climbers make such distiction about bolts.
So, I'll attempt to explain it to you.

I love climbing in the Cape.
We have some of the most amazing trad climbing in the world.
Our horizontal breaks and awesome quartz-sandstone offer up some real hidden Gems,
Climbing here is a bit edgy, the pro is usually not very obvious.
A little different to the yosemite splitter cracks.
You head up uneasy, a touch unsure, wishing you'll spot the next pro soon.
and hoping you haven't already spent the piece you're going to need next.
It's quite a thrilling game and the search for protection is always at the forefront.

That's not to say I don't like clipping bolts, I do.
When the mood for that game takes me, it's great fun.

There is even a band of climbers that like placing gear next to bolts and bolted lines,
fine with me. If that's what blows thier hair back, they're welcome to it.

But, for the little group of climbers I like to play with.
It would go against thier nature, not to use the obvious gleeming protection.
So if you begin placing bolts in the walls we like to play the trad game on,
You are forcing the 'Bolted' etic on us and destroying the game we love.
As I'm sure it is for the other bands of climbers that like to play that game.
So the 'if you don't want to use them then don't' etic, doesn't really wash or work.

Thank You to all the guys and girls out there opening routes.
They give us sooo much, with thier time and effort.
Letting us know if a line does in fact go and were it goes.
It's quality, if it's worth doing.
They give us a sence of the difficluties, the Dangers.
They might even let you in on the gear,
although, that would be dulling the edge of our electrifying game.
- We wouldn't have 'celestial journey', if it weren't for those bold, inspiring people -

Dark Horse, looking forward to 'fantastic time', nice job.

"Know the rules well, so you can break them properly." - Dali Lama
It's one thing if this was done, thinking it was outside of the park.
But, if it's because you couldn't be bothered with the beurocracy, stuff the parks board
and thier silly rules, cause they don't suit your schedule.
and the parks perception of climbers becomes, Rebels who do whatever, however and whenever they choose with the public lands, here's our middle finger to the conservationists.
They might decide to Ban climbers from the lands they control.
Less like giving back, more like taking away.

I wrote 'Not everyone in the gallery seems to own (an absorber system)'.
By your response, the assumption is correct!
(Not everyone in the Gallery owned an absorber system).

As for rescue, and I've only played a very minor role for Hugo and Darryl's merry band 'Table Mountain Rescue'.
I believe a blotted corpse at the base of a cliff face can be rescued in good time with nice weather.
A survivor stranded up high has limited time and involves a far more complex rescue.
With skilled rescuers, equipment and Risk.
So it could land up being a very costly structure, any fall on a via ferrata can be serious.
There are international sites that recommend taking a rope with and pitching the difficult sections.
The ones I've done, have all been equipped with 'pig-tails' for just that purpose.

All the best

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by henkg » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:38 pm

Surely there is enough berg to allow both disciplines to exist. Its not like an existing trad line or trad venue was compromised.

The only issue i see is it being erected in the wilderness park and without permission.
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by tonydick » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:43 am

Via Ferratas maybe fun, but have got very little to do with true adventure. Alpine climbers inherited Via Ferratas as a fallout of the two World wars. They were put up to defend passes by machine guns, not to encourage adventure.

Those who think prepared routes will encourage adventure should read ‘Mountain Adventure 2000’, Walter Bonatti’s keynote address to the 1989 International Mountaineering Conference held near Florence in Italy. In this address, the late Bonatti tells us that preparing routes is comparable to learning to play poker with an extra set of aces. When the outcome is assured, the adventure is over.

In the UK, where climbing was more or less invented, a Via Ferrata on a hill like Beacon Buttress (say Ben Nevis) would be scorned in virtually every pub where the adventure spirit is nourished.

Adventure climbing is kept alive and grows when we continue to keep the adventure real, and not contrived.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by WarthogARJ » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:18 am

I agree with you in general, sorry if I didn't explain my point very well.

I think all three can co-exist, but probably each are better suited to slightly different crags.

What I was TRYING to say is I don't understand the vehemence that bolts sometimes get from pure traddies.
And by extension I see a VF as an extreme case of a bolted route.

I think each crag should have it's usage policy decided by the stakeholders, on a case by case basis.
And yes, rules made that should be followed.

I am a rules believer in general: perhaps I'm being illogical in arguing that it was OK for Alard and Co to break the rules in this specific case.
Alard is a very good friend and I have a bias there.
Perhaps I'll need to retract my comments on when it's OK to break rules......:-}
I need to think more on that.

But I think from what I've seen and heard, the VF they put up is in a perfect place.
Chossy rock, no existing climbing routes.
Local community would benefit.

And yes, ideally SHOULD have had permission first.
But I don't think anyone disagrees on that, least of all Alard!!
The issue was they started off thinking it wasn't on Parks Land then ooops....
Then went on with the idea that the asking forgiveness rather the permission angle might save the day.

So perhaps in hindsight a mistake: a bit of enthusiasm gone too far.
We'll see.

But let's rather discuss VF (and perhaps bolting) in general rather the just focus on this specific one.
How about if Snort and Dark Horse come out of the closet and say they want to put up a VF in an area where there's no existing climbing.
On bad rock.
With local support who want the tourism.
Where the VF and extra people won't damage the environment.
Do we support them???

As I said, I think VF's are inevitable in SA.
Rather develop a good policy now rather than after the fact.
So perhaps this VF gets chopped: but that's a side issue.
We will still benefit from a good policy that specifically addresses VF's.

I recommend:
- getting SABS to put together a standard on VF installation
- having the MCSA (or UIAA SafeCom) put out a policy on how to put up a VF that doesn't cause huge controversy

How about that?


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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by no4stopper » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:01 pm

Fanta Wrote: "As for GP being involved in Berg Rescues see the article below for the latest incident."

Not related to via verrata but it is on this thread; so to reach those who have already read this earlier post, I want to clarify how rescue operates in the berg.

I was the rescue organiser from MCSA KZN first tasked with responding to this incident.
I first established that on that evening there was no NVG (Night vision goggle) crew available from 15 Squadron in Durban and knowing that without an immediate response the patient would probably die of exposure during the night, I looked for alternative resources.

I phoned Rob Thomas of MCSA Gauteng SAR and asked him to check availablitiy of an NVG crew with the local squadron at Zwartkops AFB and at the same time I checked with 87 Helicopter Flying School in Bloemfontein. Both bases had crews available.
In the best interests of the patient I handed this call onto the Gauteng team as under these particular circumstances they would provide a quicker response, and informed Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife of my decision.
In 20 years of involvement in rescue in KZN this is the first and only time that we have had to hand a call for assistance on to another MCSA Team. However we will always keep the best interests of the patient as our first priority.

All rescue in the berg is the responsibility of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the MCSA KZN is tasked by them to control technical rescues and searches. On average they carry out 10 rescues with their own resources for each rescue that the MCSA is asked to assist with.

The Gordian Edge website (which has been taken down) was originally misleading regarding who to call for rescue but has since been amended. However it still contains some misleading information in that a call to the Gauteng team is likely to be routed back to KZN.

If you require rescue in the berg (or in fact in the province of KZN) and are unsuccessful in getting the help you need by phoning the Provincial Health Operations Centre (Toll free 0800 00 5133) then a list of all the rescue organisers mobile phone numbers from MCSA KZN can be found at

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by no4stopper » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:04 pm

Reading many of the posts it seems some people are confusing via ferrata with fixed protection. These are two different things.

Via ferratas are continuous routes of cable and fixtures engineered and built to make a way to go.
This results in the following:-
-If the cable were to be removed even between only two fixing points, it will stop almost all those who came equipped to climb a via ferrata and expecting to make a safe ascent.
-Route finding is not an issue; the cable leads you to the next fixed point. Even if there is a gap in the cable i.e. walking along a ledge, finding the next pitch of a via ferrata cannot be mistaken.

On the other hand fixed protection are pitons and bolts and do not provide continuous protection. (Pitons are still needed in some places on berg routes and are often carried by berg climbers, especially if you are attempting a new route)
To make the same comparisons as above:
-Removal of a peg or bolt may well not stop a climbing party from completeing the route. They have come equipped to provide most of their own protection and will probably draw on their experience as climbers to get through. How many of us have led past a peg without noticing it and finished the pitch (thinking it poorly protected) only to be asked by your second why you didn't use the peg?
- Route finding can be a big issue; often only some cryptic RD tells you where to go next. Often not even referring to a fixed peg or bolt. "Follow the obvious corner to a ledge" You can see 3 corners; they all look obvious and there isn't a ledge in sight!

Not confusing these two things will have a big impact on the authorities attitude towards climbers in the Drakensberg.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by no4stopper » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:33 pm

henkg wrote:Surely there is enough berg to allow both disciplines to exist. Its not like an existing trad line or trad venue was compromised.
There are in fact two trad lines on Beacon Buttress. Without knowing exactly where the VF goes I can't comment if they have been compromised.
henkg wrote:The only issue i see is it being erected in the wilderness park and without permission.
There are many more issues than this, all of which should have been addressed by the group who put this up.
To raise just two:
- if this route is to get the traffic they expect it to, and it probably will since it is a short walk from the end of a road relatively close to JHB, in a spectacular mountain setting and without all the inherent danger that adventure climbers must face in the high berg, then what provision have the group made in terms of construction a proper foot path from the main path up to the start of the route? I would bet none; so I guess they will expect the authorities to find the funds and the manpower to repair the inevitable erosion that will occur as the traffic increases as well as the increased maintenance on the main foot path.
- The Free state authorities already collect a fee from everyone entering at Witsieshoek, but pass all rescue calls onto Ezemvelo. Ezemvelo is constantly battling to get the FS authorities to contribute to the Emergency Services Funds which pays for rescue in the berg. This route will result in more incidents and a greater load on rescue teams and the finances of providing for rescue.

If permission had been sought these are the sorts of issues that a proper impact assessment takes into consideration.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:15 pm

Thanks Tony! For your post
Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by alard » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:24 am

I don't normally do forums. But to avoid mass confusion I thought it a good idea that one of the people involved in installing the route post the info of the route on this forum for all to see.

Why this route: It is an awesome line in a beautiful area, well suited to a via ferrata. It is 800m away from an existing one, the chain ladders, that were put up by parksboard in 1930.

I believe that the increase in tourism to the top of beacon buttress due to the via Ferrata will be negligible compared to the current mass of people visiting there most days. During the installation we must have seen easily hundreds of people on the top of beacon buttress that came up the chain ladder or the gully heading for the top of the Tugela falls.

Climbing can be dangerous. We all know that. Trad, sport, VF...... when planning to climb a route you gather info on the route and what gear is needed. No difference here.


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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by robertbreyer » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:07 am

it's really such a shame that we keep getting back to the same old debates of bolting.

the drakensberg in particular is big enough to have all flavours of that mountain experience live side-by-side. and that includes a VF. or many of them.

instead of beating each other up we should think about how to grow the sport and make the mountains more accessible.
consider this: the MCSA is dying. average age probably 65 and increasing. my guess is that membership has been declining for a good 20 years.
on a 1-week rock climbing trip to KZN we saw nobody. nobody at Umgeni or Monteseel. climbing in KZN, i remarked afterwards, is in fact an endangered species.
on a different 1-week trip to the Eastern Cape we met two other climbers (Garvin and Dalton), but only because we planned it. so a similar trend.

this beloved sport of ours is rapidly nearing extinction in SA and all that some of us can do is crucify those that don't quite play by the supposed rules that a very small minority have come up with.
there are way too many vocal judge/jury/executioners out there and the current posts about sandrif, the VF, etc. all sound like the same old broken record.

the sad result though is that we keep alienating our own. Matt Bush, Alard and now Scott Miller have all become victims. for the record, i support all three of you bolters. to the actual and keyboard choppers, i challenge you to go do something constructive, innovative, new. keep this sport and the mountains alive and make them more accessible. a VF in the Berg and in the Cape are great ideas. superb in fact. best ideas in years to get new blood into the sport. to those of you that just read these forums and silently disagree but don't speak up: please make your opinions be known.
Alard, i look forward to climbing the first VF in SA. i have done some in the Alps and they are great fun.
and getting SABS and SANParks or whatever government involved? Pleeez. they don't even know how to spell "rock". and TMNP want to ban all bouldering. the enemy is not within.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:20 am

Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:22 am

The MCSA is dying because no-one needs the MCSA to climb and train in indoor gyms, to clip bolts or do VF's. All too easy now.
Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by David Vallet » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:30 am

I say,
(...and I don't have a say. Just some hot air for the forum,
Since we all seem to be full of it.)

Sentence them to community service!!
Make them train some VF guides,
To be assessed on Alan Jarvis's international standard,
and paid for by the perpetrators.

Alard, could probably get a corporate sponsor to help with that.

The VF guides could be responsible for rescues,
and it would certainly prove, seeking parks permission
to be a relatively timeous act.

You've thrown out a net,
Now teach a couple of guys how to fish :-)

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by roule » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:22 pm

I have been following the Via Ferrata debate over the last week, hoping that it will not get chopped.

It is a shame that permission was not obtained, other than that I have no problem with this route.
As you can guess, I am not a 30+ male trad-climber, and I will never have the balls to be one : )
I can do a shaky lead on a 17 sportclimb at best.

To me it seems like this Via Ferrata falls somewhere between a technical hike and a climb.
People most likely to do this route is possibly experienced hikers or people who have done some climbing.
Not so exciting for a experienced trad-climber. But a great adventure for someone like me!

I cannot wait to go and do this route.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by SNORT » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:47 pm

Roule I hope you have some experience with doing some climbing. I have not done the VF but they can be very dangerous. At least do or have done Arrow on TM before you go and do something like this. Or get someone to take you up a route like Slangolie buttress.
Last edited by SNORT on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by fanta » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:44 am

SNORT it sounds to me you have based most of your argument on the four words "Also to expose Hikers"??? what about reading the rest of the info???
As stated before I am the author of the "website" in question.
Alard has had very little input/say as to what "I" put on that website. I think he was actually on first rection a bit against it but saw the safety need for the information to be available.
For the record, the website has nothing to do with Alard, he actually only found out about it after I had made it public (much to his surprise). I have done many changes and surely there is space for more!!!
I was not involved with putting the Via Ferrata up and yes I have climbed the route and as a "Trad Elitist" (I friggen hate bolts!!!) I actually love the idea of the route... I actually have a bigger issue about the chains that have been added to Angus Lepan than I do about the Via Ferrata.
ok, rant over... I feel a bit better

Steve if you would like me to add any further information/phone numbers to the emergency contact info then please send them to me. If a person had to phone the Gauteng numbers, the first thing one of our Rescue Organiser's will do is phone the guys in KZN. We would certainly be put on standby but by no means would we be on our way south in force without having spoken to you guys first. The reason we have two numbers up here is in case the one does not work... same as trad climbing and rigging more than two, got to points just betters your odds at being safe. I think the way I have the emergency info is more than sufficient and acurate and not misleading in anyway.

SNORT please, if you see any misleading information (related to the Via Ferrata) on my site, or information that could possibly make me liable for an incident, I would appreciate it if you send me a mail, nothing is being gained by expressing your views with that regard here on this thread. As to people being mugged it would be nice to see this go away before the Via Ferrata... how long has that problem been around for? I have never climbed the Dodgy Via Ferrata's you have. Anything done at height is dangerous, standing on a ladder is dangerous, hell I heard that Greg got a disiplinary hearing for standing on his desk to fix a light at work... take what Roule say to heart it sounds like she has climbed it. Alard wanted this route to be easy you can tell that by climbing it. I do believe the Parks board has an asset in the form of this route, it can surely put food on the table for a number of entrepreneurs and still be safe. I would even be willing to give up some of my own time to assit in the training of a guide. Your story SNORT about using the wrong gear emphasis the need for the information I have put together to be available, do you agree?

Further, if anybody has a problem with information on MY site come to ME if you want it to be public start another thread. Lets stick to the topic of the Gordian Edge... have you guys looked up the meaning behind the name?
Oddball thats your cue!!

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by Justin » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:25 am

Has anyone seen / climbed this Via Ferrata in the Magaliesberg? It apparently goes to the summit.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by BruceT » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:58 am

I know nothing about how via ferrata's work so this may be a completely dof question:
If I want to climb this (Beacon Butress) via ferrata once off and would like to avoid the expense and hassle of buying a proper fall arrestor but have "normal" sport (and trad) gear, is there a way I could use that gear to climb it relatively safely?
eg could I clip the anchors (and or sections of the wire) and climb it as a "sport" route, being belayed of course?

I would like to see for myself instead of going on hear-say...

C ya,

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by David Vallet » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:15 am

Hiya Bruce,

I haven't done this particular route.
But, I reckon simul-climbing it with a mate,
on 30/40 meters of dynamic would be as safe (maybe safer),
than the V.F. Shock absorber gear.

-multi-pitch climbing experience being presumed,
i.e. The ability to get yourself back en-route after a fall -


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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by fanta » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:10 am

If you wanted to avoid the cost of a once off expensive shock absorber you could hire one that is in circulation already from some one willing to so with PPE.
So far I have heard of people wanting to prussick up the cable. Cable has different caracteristics to rope and the prussik cord and knot you use may not be appropriate! Simule climbing and "sport climbing" the route will surely make you poo your jean pant vuil on the traverse sections the traverses are long and long between anchors, also there is a small down climb section to cater for. Some dedicated Via Ferrata equipment has a 3rd point which is meant for cliping to a stable step to take a rest or to the cable on horizontal sections where downward tension can be maintained. I know of someone on this forum who is looking into protection for this route perhaps he will share this info when he has more information.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by shorti » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:17 pm

Justin, I didn't know about the via ferrata you mentioned, but by the looks of it, it is near Castle Gorge on the Southern side of the mountain. They must be right next to Go Vertical (or close by at least). As you can read for yourself it was built by well known old school climbers (I obviously didn't know about them building it either). Importantly, it looks like they had permission to build it and had to wait to get it. The closest climbing would be at Castle Gorge, but I think that via ferrata just goes up the South face of the Magalies - no-one I know ever climbs there, it doesn't look very appealing to me in any case. That's all info I can come up with.

I don't really like the idea of via ferratas, ladders or staples, because not only are they an eyesore, they also tend to make people lazy to think about safety, but I do use them if it is the easiest way to get somewhere. My opinion doesn't really matter I guess, but I'm a little tempted to try Alard's route and I do have an idea. Can Alard's route be climbed with let say a 30m rope? 2 People each tied in on either side but with very long tails. The tails can then be used to make two "shock absorbers" that clips into the cable. Each climber can also have a grigri to take up excess slack in the rope. The rope obviously get clipped by the leader into the anchors. At least this will serve as a backup for the cable itself. I know it's not perfect and maybe a little complicated. The one "shock absorber" will also necessarily have to be a loop of rope. I also realise I'm probably over-thinking this (I'm bored ok :mrgreen: ) and that it is probably well within my capability to not come close to falling off, but then again, you don't want to be caught short in the high berg. Any thoughts?

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by David Vallet » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:25 pm

On the traverses, if the cables above you.
You'd probably be alright, no worse than with V.F. gear, clipping into those sections,
with a dynamic lanyard(s). A purrsel (probably didn't spell that right) prussic
would most likely be the best make-shift choice.
Try to keep it relatively tight, like don't rise up close to a factor one position.
For the down climb, just remember to pro it above and below!!

- note, I haven't climbed this route. So can't really comment on the safety of the route,
Or which techniques should be employed in any of the sections.
Just surmising that a fall on a purssel prussic with out any slack, may yield less impact force
Than a commercial V.F. Lanyard with slack in the system -

Happy Climbing.
Last edited by David Vallet on Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by Tristan » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:40 pm

Last edited by Tristan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by WarthogARJ » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:31 pm

The problem with not using a proper energy absorber on a VF, and instead trying to use a length of dynamic climbing rope is you can get a REALLY big fall factor.
And remember, fall factor is proportional to impact load: using a dynamic rope.

Take this as an example.
You have a 2m cow-tail made of dynamic rope (say part is coiled up)
You climb a section of VF that is 6m between eye-bolts.
Say you fall at 1m below the top eye-bolt (almost at reaching distance to change your clip).
You then slide down the cable, to the eye-bolt below: a fall of 5m, plus the 2m of your cow-tail extended.
Fall = 7m
Dynamic rope = 2m

Fall Factor = Fall Length until rope starts to stretch/Dynamic Rope Length
= 7/2 = 3.5

That's HUGE!!!!
You will definitely exceed the "safe" loading your body can take, and maybe even break a crab or harness.

The reason it is greater than FF of 2 is that your FALL is much bigger because you are sliding down the cable before your rope starts to do its thing.

A VF energy absorber must limit impact load to a maximum of 6kN (according to the latest EN VF standard).
It does it by either a once off stitch ripping, or by friction of rope being pulled thru holes, or related.
And not even Petzl gets it right all the time: was recently a recall on VF absorbers from Petzl.

One could increase the dynamic rope length so that you have a factor 2 fall: but then you are falling a long way, and what do you hit on the way down??

If you had a 5m length of dynamic rope and you had the same fall:
Fall Factor = (5 + 5)/5 = 2.0
So you'd need a 5m cow-tail and to fall over 10m before you arrested!!!
And then it's still a pretty hectic fall of FF 2!!!!

And yes, you could ignore the cable and just use the VF points as fixed pro and climb with a belayer: no problem there, but need t be an experienced multi-pich climber.
And perhaps simul-climb.
But you'd need to be pretty careful.

You should thus use some sort of energy absorbing system.

You could perhaps make your own if you know what you're doing.
Basically you want a controlled slippage of the rope to absorb the energy of the fall.
Because it is not something you leave behind it's not the same thing as home-made bolts.


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Re: Via Ferrata in the berg

Post by fanta » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:04 pm

Like I have said in my earlier posts... The climbers that think they know are the ones we have to wory about!! The un-experienced hikers will safer than all you guys coz they will source the correct gear.

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