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Via Ferrata vs. Rock Climbing: What You Need to Know

Via Ferrata in Colorado

If you are looking for an engaging, adventurous activity in Colorado, you cannot go wrong with a via ferrata adventure or a rock climbing excursion! These activity will keep your adrenaline pumping, and your muscles engaged, but they do sport some exciting differences!

Colorado Via Ferrata

How are rock climbing and via ferrata different? First off, lets break down ‘via ferrata’. It is essentially climbing/traversing a mountain or cliff while the climber is secured to a steel cable which is secured to the rock face.

The Main Differences

Similarly to rock climbing, the climber will be wearing a climbing harness and helmet, but will use a via ferrata set (an attachment loop, energy-absorption system, two lanyards and two carabiners) instead of the top-rope system used in traditional rock climbing. Via ferrata courses also typically offer additional climbing aids such as iron rungs for hand holds or foot pegs, fixed ladders, and rope bridges. Some of the more modern via ferrata courses also sport zip lines incorporated into the course: (AVA Via Ferrata)

Colorado Via Ferrata

The Gear

What gear do you need to do these activities? Some of the gear for both of these activities are the same or similar. You will be wearing a safety climbing harness and a helmet regardless of which activity you choose. There are special shoes you wear for rock climbing that aren’t necessary for via ferrata (although they would absolutely still work!). Typically hiking style boots are worn for the via ferrata. I would, however, recommend to bring hiking style shoes for either activity as you will need to hike to your starting point of the mountain or cliff you have decided to conquer!

Here are lists of all the gear necessary for each activity:

Via Ferrata Gear List:

★ Climbing Harness

★ Climbing Helmet

★ Via Ferrata Set (attachment loop, energy-absorption system, two lanyards and two carabiners)

★ Mountaineering/ Hiking Boots

★ Via Ferrata Gloves

Rock Climbing Gear List:

★ Climbing Harness

★ Climbing Helmet

★ Rope(s)

★ Climbing Shoes

★ Belay Device

★ Quickdraws

★ Rappel Device

★ Chalk Bag

★ Chalk

★ Personal Anchor System Optional (but suggested)

Additional Gear for Both Activities:

★ Backpack

★ Water Bottle

★ Layered Comfortable Clothing

★ Guide Books (or a Guide)

★ Sunglasses

★ Sunblock

Colorado Via Ferrata

Both via ferrata courses and rock climbing are exciting methods to conquer terrain and ascend some amazing cliffs and mountains! Colorado has so many beautiful mountains, boulders, and cliffs to go climb around! Whether you choose rock climbing or via ferrata, get out there and give yourself the huge sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering the landscape around you!

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