/ via ferrata grades
Is there any crossover grading between Trad UK rock routes/ UK scrambling grades and Via ferrata grades?
I don't think so, though I could be wrong. To be honest, we did tons of via ferrata a couple of years ago and as far as the grades I think it only really applies to stamina. Some of the highest grade ones in France (extremement dificle) were only graded that way as it was overhanging/exposed/small foot holds and sometimes it was either rock or wire to grab.
In terms of the climbing difficulty, I don't think any really pushed VS. Just need some arm strength, or take a sling and krab for rests!
This is of course just a personal opinion, and others may disagree.
I remember one guidebook describing the hardest VFs in the Dolomites as "make similar demands to a Severe", which is probably about right.
As to the French ones, less danger, but more strenuous. I've managed to get a bit pumped on a couple of occasions
I have only led a few Vdiffs outdoors, and have been known to struggle seconding Severes, but I have done Cesare Piazzetta - the hardest VF in the high Dolomites according to the Cicerone guidebook - in good time without asking for beta, spotting, or a top rope. Having a great big obvious handhold always available makes it a bit more like indoor climbing at grade 5/5+ where it can be steep but routefinding skill is not required.
However I know others who struggle more on VFs. Someone who gets a bit gibbery from extreme exposure may have a miserable, exhausting time clinging tight to the cable on an overhang because they can't commit to laying back off the cable and powering up. Also, stamina is an issue.
I would say that VFs are necessarily technically easier that all rock climbs by virtue of having a bloody great cable to haul ones self up. Given that they are all easier in walking boots than they would be in rockboots, the technical grade is essentially nil. However, they can be strenuous, especially if you have no rock climbing technique and ignore footholds.
So, no, there is simply no cross-over between grades since the difficulty of easy rock climbs is never because of strenuosity, always 'technicality' (i.e. not having massive jugs, maybe cracks or unpositive holds instead). Whereas the converse is true for VF - which makes them absolutely brilliant fun for the non-climber with a head for heights and some strength in the arms.
In answer to your question, no. The grade also varies greatly depending on whether you use rock boots, trainers, or walking boots, haul on the VF cable, use the stemples, or just use the natural features, and use the cable for protection.
In general though, if you've got some climbing or scrambling experience, and / or a head for heights. There is a lot of cross over of the skills you use to scramble / climb / keep yourslef safe.
> In answer to your question, no. The grade also varies greatly depending on whether you use rock boots, trainers, or walking boots, haul on the VF cable, use the stemples, or just use the natural features, and use the cable for protection.
As lots of people have said - no. I started doing VFs before climbing and could manage a grade 5 without too much grief in the Dolomites. However, I did get massively pumped on one route due to inexperience and a queue.
Having done some since, most VFs seem much easier now. The strenuousness can be countered by a bit of rock climbing knowledge although the sporty French ones seem to be designed to knacker/scare/intimidate.
> I would say that VFs are necessarily technically easier that all rock climbs by virtue of having a bloody great cable to haul ones self up. Given that they are all easier in walking boots than they would be in rockboots, the technical grade is essentially nil. However, they can be strenuous, especially if you have no rock climbing technique and ignore footholds.
Agree with all this. If you know how to move on steep ground (I.e. have basic climbing skills), they don't seem to get very technically challenging. If you're a hiker who doesn't climb at all, you might struggle. I was stuck behind a bunch of German people on VF Ski Club 18, which is a moderately hard "sport" VF, and some of the were obviously finding it tough going. I was waiting around until they'd gone on some distance and then repeatedly catching them up, powering through the stuff they'd found difficult simply because they didn't know how to lay back.
I find them absolutely brilliant fun as a climber, to be honest. If you're expecting a free-climbing experience, you probably won't get much enjoyment out of it, but a good workout on seriously high walls in fantastic terrain at speeds you could only dream about if you were doing it as a pitched climb? What's not to like?
"Sort of" in the Dolomites if you decide (as we did) to avoid "cable hauling". The Dolomite VFs are mostly scrambles with a cable, and the odd pin/staple at the clip through for safety. Climbing by avoiding cable hauling on the higher grades was at about VD to Severe, with the odd VS bit - usually where the cable line forced you away from the obvious climbing line.
The ones I have done in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland are often "over engineered" with masses of pins and staples. They can feel like you can climb without touching rock, so a rock grade would be pointless. That said though, they're still fun!
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