Behind our house is a challenge that is not for the faint hearted. All Alpine Action Adventures followers should be aware of the Elephant Head (pictured below), Le Tete de L’Elephant in French, but you may not know that it is home to a significant climbing wall and a knee-shaking Via Ferrata course.
The via Ferrata (Italian for “iron way”) is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, and other fixed anchors, for example wooden walkways and suspended bridges. Made famous in the Dolomites as a means of transporting the Army across the mountains during world war 1. They are graded in difficulty from Easy through to Extremely Difficult and we are lucky enough to have a red route – Le Tete De l’Elephant, which is difficult, and a black route – L’oeil De l’Elephant which is extremely difficult
. Full details on the climbs can be found here .
Many of our guests have braved the wall and have rated it as one of the best activities in the area as it comes with an enormous sense of personal achievement. Via Ferrata enables those of us with little to no experience climbing to scale a sheer cliff face with the ease of climbing a ladder.
The biggest barrier to completing the climb is fear. I have now topped the head on the red route a handful of times and can confirm it is absolutely possible without being ultra-fit and with little to no upper body strength. The Black route is another matter, with overhanging sections from the start; I have not plucked up the courage to try this one out yet!
The first time on the wall will be challenging for most people – fear of heights is a natural human response and the route is HIGH and EXPOSED and sometimes you have no handholds other than the rock. The most exciting/terrifying section on the red route is the wooden plank bridge – and most people have an ‘I can’t do this’ auto response when it comes into sight; but what a feeling when you have crossed it! I cannot recommend the experience more, and when the sky is clear, you are rewarded with a view of Mont Blanc at the top!
Kit for the Via Ferrata is available for hire locally and we can organise you a guide if you feel better following a professional up a 213 meter ladder!
I have decided to keep a ‘Wall of Fame’ folder on our Facebook page to show off all our AAA heroes that have braved the Elephant! Please drop us an email
or a message on Facebook
with your best pics and let me know if you would like help adding Via Ferrata to your activity list when you are with us.