/ Via Ferrata Switzerland: guidebook corrections

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Sash - on 17 Sep 2013
We used the Via Ferrata Switzerland book (a Rother guide) as the basis for a warm-up/acclimatisation week in August before heading off to higher/snowier parts of Switzerland. We camped in the Les Diablerets area, which has a good range of longer and/or higher grade via ferratae.
I would draw peoples' attention to the following:
1) The Tete aux Chamois VF on the Diablerets range is totally shut due to recent rockfall and the risk of more to come. As is the path up to the Diablerets hut. So its an (expensive) cable car if you want to get up there (or down).
2) the Pierredar VF has been totally changed to reflect recent glacier shrinkage: don't even bother looking at the old route, because the new one (renamed the Dames Anglaises) is utterly different. However, the new one is brilliant: it takes a line from above the Pierredar hut (absolutely lovely to stay in) directly up a long and fairly exposed ridge to the Col du Pillon.
3) No changes to the Tour D'Ai VF above Leysin: highly recommended.
4) Frankly the whole via ferrata grading system is still fairly subjective at the higher ends, and should be treated with a pinch of salt. We bottled out first time around on the Cascades VF, despite it apparently being several grades lower than the Tour D'Ai; conditions really affect the climbing, as does the proportion of the route accounted for by potentially slippery wire rope bridges and/or rungs etc. Worth being very careful the morning after heavy rain!

Overall, VFs are going up all over this corner of Switzerland, and the Rother guide already looks a bit out of date. There is lots of information on new VFs in the Tourist Information offices. We found these all to be both highly enjoyable and great practice for bigger mountains where we needed to move roped together.
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tallsteve - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to Sash:
Have edited by guide. Thanks for that. Luckily campsites have wifi, and we spotted the closure of the Tete aux Chamois before going.

The Cascades VF was v strenuous, but then roadside VFs described a "hard short sport" routes generally make you dangle from your arms much like climbing walls do to create interest. After heavy rain the Cascade was amazing. I recommend it after a spell of bad weather, and later in the day as it can be busy.

The Grindelwald area is good, with a number of good days out. Do the Rotstock and you can tell everyone you've been on the North Face of the Eiger ;). Don't do the Murren VF above Lauterbrunnen valley (not in the guide). Its 100m of pure adrenalin dangling on loose cable over a 600m undercut drop, followed by a fairly dull walk in the woods.


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