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Via Ferrata in the Pays des Écrins

Via Ferratas activities are open to anyone who is looking to explore the mountains in a different manner.

A cross between climbing and hiking, the easiest, adapted via ferrata can be enjoyed as young as 4 years old.
There are 10 Via Ferrata in the Pays des Écrins, 5 of which are in La Vallouise.

WHAT IS A VIA FERRATA?

It is a route along a rock face. Each person who does a via ferrata has specific equipment enabling them to progress safely as long as basic instructions are followed.

Fitted with a harness, a rope equipped with a shock absorber and snap hooks, a helmet and good walking shoes, you will progress along a marked rocky itinerary and secured by a cable and metal rungs.

THE DIFFERENT VIA FERRATAS IN THE PAYS DES ÉCRINS

AILEFROIDE GORGES VIA FERRATA IN PELVOUX

This wonderful via ferrata at the start of the Ailefroide gorges has three routes. The routes are varied and go through compact granite faces overlooking the Gyr stream.  

The first part (easy) is recreational and suitable for families and beginners. A climb and descent over the tunnel, then a small rope bridge crosses a valley alongside the road. Three footbridges then cross the stream. Now on the left bank, the route follows the stream in horizontal crossings. A first escape route makes it possible to leave the route (40 min to 1 hr).

The second route (quite difficult) is athletic and only for those who are used to via ferrata. Allow another hour (350 m in length) to complete the second part which can also be reached from the return route. 15 min walk back to the car park.

The third part (difficult) on the left bank is reached by a trail which is also alongside the stream, but slightly higher and following an aerial crossing, two overhangs need to be crossed. It is a difficult section as the overhangs are banked. Exit on the heights of the gorges (45 min).

–Return back down to the car park in 20 min.

Follow the D994 road as you leave Pelvoux and the hamlet of Les Claux, park in the car park on the left just before the tunnel. The via ferrata starts on the left, at the tunnel entrance.

LES VIGNEAUX VIA FERRATA

this beautiful aerial via ferrata is quite impressive and will delight thrill-seekers who will have a fantastic view of the valley and the surroundings.

The car park is at the end of the village of Les Vigneaux on the way to Briançon, on te left. There is a 20-minute approach walk to reach the start of the itineraries.

The first part is the same for both itineraries, then you have the choice between the 'easy' Colombier route (450m, allow 1 h) and the 'physical' Balme route (500 m, allow 1 h30)

40-min walk back to the car park..

 

PUY SAINT VINCENT - TOURNOUX VIA FERRATA

The start of this via ferrata is from the beautiful Col de la Pousterle which can be reached by car from Puy Saint Vincent 1400. You will progress along a physicaland partially wooded route.

This via ferrata is quite aerial and requires dedication.

Allow 2 hours to complete this 600-m route with an elevation of 180 m.

20-min walk back to the car park.

LA COMBE STREAM VIA FERRATA - PUY SAINT VINCENT

This very beautiful via ferrata is located on the site of a former glacier. The route along the stream will lead you to discover the typical mountain vegetation.

This introductory route is ideal for beginners and families with children from age 7. It takes roughly 2 hours for a length of 300 m. Several ‘escape routes’ mean it is possible to avoid the ‘difficult’ parts.

To get to the start of the via ferrata, from Vallouise, head towards Puy Saint Vincent, then follow Puy Saint-Vincent 1600. 500 metres after the turning for Puy Saint-Vincent 1600, park in the car park to the right in the first bend.

From the very start, you can choose to forgo the first part which is quite physical.

It takes roughly an hour to walk back to the car park.

 

DURANCE GORGES CHILDREN’S VIA FERRATA

This new introductory via ferrata means parents can introduce the activity to their children from age 4.

You can also quench your thirst on the shady terrace of the refreshment bar on the edge of the Durance.

To get to the site from Vallouise, head towards l’Argentière-la-Bessée and when you reach la Bâtie des Vigneaux, turn left following the signs for ‘Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance’.

Paid entrance when the site is open. For more information visit the Roc Aventure (private managers of the site) website.

DURANCE GORGES GREEN VIA FERRATA

This via ferrata is ideal as an introduction for children (from age 6) and adults, and is well suited for discovering the activity.

You will go over the Durance, 2 escape routes make it possible to quickly exit the route if necessary.

It takes roughly 15 minutes to walk back to the car park.

To get to the site from Vallouise, head towards l’Argentière-la-Bessée and when you reach la Bâtie des Vigneaux, turn left following the signs for ‘Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance’.

Paid entrance when the site is open. For more information visit the Roc Aventure (private managers of the site) website.

 

DURANCE GORGES RED VIA FERRATA

This route progresses along an exceptionally shaped rock face in the narrowest part of the gorges and is very popular among via ferrata enthusiasts.

It is a fairly short route, but is intense and physical. Allow 1 hour

To get to the site from Vallouise, head towards l’Argentière-la-Bessée and when you reach la Bâtie des Vigneaux, turn left following the signs for ‘Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance’.

It takes roughly 10 minutes to walk back to the car park.

Paid entrance when the site is open. For more information visit the Roc Aventure (private managers of the site) website.

 

DURANCE GORGES BLACK VIA FERRATA

This via ferrata is only for those with experience of via ferrata.

It takes three hours to cover the extremely varied route that has 5 footbridges between 20 m and 55 m and it is quite physical.

It is one of the most difficult routes in the Briançon area.

To get to the site from Vallouise, head towards l’Argentière-la-Bessée and when you reach la Bâtie des Vigneaux, turn left following the signs for ‘Via Ferrata des Gorges de la Durance’.

It takes roughly 15 minutes to walk back to the car park.

Paid entrance when the site is open. For more information visit the Roc Aventure (private managers of the site) website.

L’HORLOGE VIA FERRATA IN L’ARGENTIÈRE-LA-BESSÉE

This via ferrata is quite short and therefore quite quick to complete. It measures 150 m.
It can be followed from age 10 and has a lovely view of l’Argentière l Bessée.

To reach the start of this route from Vallouise, head to l’Argentière. Just before the bandstand, turn right towards Rue des Collets, cross the railway track and continue to the Collets cliff to the left.

 

FREISSINIÈRES VIA FERRATA

The mountains are within everyone’s reach with the Freissinières via ferrata. It overlooks an unspoilt, almost secret valley. It was France’s first via ferrata in 1988.

The route is aerial, and there is a lot of contact with the rock. The 200 m drop takes place in the heart of the cliffs and is 1000 m long.

The first part of the route is not very difficult and is ideal for families. An escape route in the cliff makes it possible to rapidly return to the car park. For more athletic participants, the second part of the circuit is more aerial.

To get to the start of this via ferrata from Vallouise, go to l’Argentière-la-Bessée then follow the signs to ‘Freissinières’. When you arrive in Freissinières, head to Le Col d’Anon. Park next to the sign in the bend to the left and go to the footpath.

It takes roughly an hour to walk back to the car park.

SUPERVISION AND EQUIPMENT FOR VIA FERRATA

SUPERVISION

This activity can be done alone provided the participants have suitable equipment and safety conditions are respected.

In La Vallouise, you can also enlist the help of the Bureau des Guides, ‘Des pieds et des Mains’ or ‘Verticalité’.

EQUIPMENT FOR VIA FERRATA

You can hire or buy the necessary equipment to safely progress on the via ferrata in the sports shops across the Pays des Écrins.