French Alps 2018 paddling trip Via ferrata at Château-Queyras by Michael O’Rourke and Trevor Strain

French Alps 2018 paddling trip

Day 6 Via ferrata at Château-Queyras by Michael O’Rourke and Trevor Strain

We turned up after our mornings paddle and had a walk to do a recce of Chateau-Queyras gorge at Via ferrata. After seeing the raging running torrent through the gorge five of us decided we really wanted to do some climbing for instead. Mike, Hannah, Dom, Ciaran and Trevor parted with 5 euros to hire some Via Ferrata harnesses and headed up to the gorge.

Lead by Dom we slowly traversed through the gorge, clipping and unclipping on the safety wire. There was a variety of rock holds, metal fixings and a tight rope to navigate. Two thirds of the way through, Mike, Hannah and Trevor decided it was time for a refreshing drink while hardened climbers Dom and Ciaran saw the traverse through to the end. Hannah and Trevor made up for not finishing the traverse by running up a really steep hill to a medieval hut, Hannah impressed us all by running all the way without stopping.

After kayaking a section of the Guil with the Liverpool canoe club five intrepid kayakers went to explore the via ferrata at Château Queyras. First of all we went to the rafting Centre to hire our safety harnesses. Each included two lanyards each with a carabiner to ensure that when traversing the via ferrata each person is always connected to the safety line with at least one lanyard when moving past the anchor punts on the safety line.

Dom led the way on to the via ferrata with more than one of the group thinking whose idea was this ? After the first 50 metres working along the cliff face the group started to relax a little. Our white knuckles started to change colour, that was until we came to a section with a three-metre steel cable tightrope which also included steel cable hand rails on each side. Each member of the group traversed the tightrope in turn. As we started to gain confidence we came to the first get out ladder. I seriously considered this as an option but decided to continue. The next difficult section was a curved route followed by a ten-metre tightrope walk which was a little shaky. We came to the next get out ladder where we all left the ferrata, but after discussions two of the group decided to complete the whole course which included a section of overhanging cliff face which they found quite tough. But exhilarating and all gained a sense of achievement for their efforts. All returned safely to the cafe bar for refreshments.

More photographs……….