/ Via Ferrata Equipment

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MGT - on 14 May 2018

My daughter and I are doing a bit of via ferrata in a few weeks time. We have harnesses, helmets, VF kits, rope and belay devices. Other than that I'd read somewhere its a good idea to carry a few slings and biners, good for resting etc. 

What length slings are the most useful and best sort of biners?

Many Thanks

d_b on 14 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

You almost certainly know this but I'm going to say it anyway: If your daughter is light then you need a VF kit designed for her weight range.

Most modern VF kits will have a loop between the lanyards where you can add a krab for resting so no need to carry a static sling.  If you don't have one then remember to be religious about avoidance of shock loading and only using it for resting. 

For length you just want the end to be within arms length so you can clip it fully extended.  I used to use a 120 but now just clip in to the vf device.

Jenny C on 14 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

I use a 60cm for resting  but tbh very rarely actually use it. As said above most modern lanyards have a point you can clip to for resting, which certainly for your daughter simplifies the system so no risk of her misusing the static sling when she should be on her vf lanyards.


proandras - on 14 May 2018
In reply to Jenny C:

I do not like a big extra biner fiddling around and weighing down the VF kit, so that I prefer an independent sling for resting. A 90 or 120cm sling divided by knots gives more length options too.

MGT - on 14 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

Thanks for the replies, my daughter is in the weight thresholds for the VF kits but thank you for highlighting it. 

I think the 120cm with knots is a great idea Jenny C (simple but effective!) thank you we will do that.

proandras - on 15 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

Just do not choose dyneema slings.

beardy mike - on 15 May 2018
In reply to proandras:

Quite honestly, if you fall off from any height onto any static sling, dyneema or not, it's going to hurt. If you want to be halfway sensible about it, use a length of rope with knots tied in either end. At least there's SOME dynamic capability.

And MGT, d_b is right - even if your kid is within the absorber specifications, it's worth taking a length of rope and somethiung to belay with. Stack it in a stuffsack which you carry either on your harness or in the top of your sack so that you can belay her up difficult sections. VF falls are about as nasty as you can get, and the extra security provided by a rope is worthwhile. It means she will be able to concentrate on climbing, not on faffing with her absorber biners.

Post edited at 09:49
Martin Bennett - on 15 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

Better, but more expensive, than a knotted nylon sling is "personal anchor system" which is trade-speak for a type of daisy chain where each loop is complete of itself - i.e. no danger of stitching ripping as with a conventional daisy chain.

There are several on the market e.g. Metolius PAS and Grivel Daisy Chain but I use the Sterling Ropes Chain Reactor because it's made of nylon not dyneema.

I endorse the notion of a security rope and belay device - I don't go on via ferrate with my wife and/or family without one.

proandras - on 15 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

I worry about low melting temperature of the dyneema, which might be reached in a suddenly tightening knot in case of little fall and the sling breaks.

(Now, I admit I am sound a little paranoid with this.)

Jenny C on 15 May 2018
In reply to proandras:

The sling is not there to take falls, that is the job of the energy absorbing vf lanyards. 

MGT - on 15 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

We have energy absorbing VF lanyards, the slings are purely a mental security thing if we want to rest or for any reason, 1000% not used for moving along the VF. She's very sensible, I wouldn't be doing it with her unless I trusted her. She climbs in a club so shes aware of safety, double, triple checking things etc.

We have a 30m 8mm rope plus reverso and biners for any situation she (or I for that matter) want her more secure. Its a two way thing if I feel happier to belay then thats want happens regardless if shes happy or not, I can simply give her enough slack so she feels in control of what shes doing. Also if I have any issues it might help me too! We both come home safe its as simple as that

Thanks Martin I'll look at the "personal anchor system".


Trangia on 15 May 2018

"biners"? Are you Americans?


Rob Exile Ward on 15 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

I don't think you say how old your daughter is or how experienced. I've taken my kids on quite a few VF and using a rope through pigtail anchors has been just great - it's been all the difference between a relaxing day out and a nail biting stressfest. And with pigtails there is no time penalty, you probably save as much time making quicker transfers than it takes to handle a rope.

andrew roach - on 15 May 2018
In reply to MGT:

We use a 60cm sling attached directly to the main harness loop with the karabiner clipped to a gear loop so it is ready to go. You will need a HMS karabiner so it can be clipped directly to stemples, anchors, foot pegs, ladders etc, this way you know there will only be a static load on the sling. Don't get into the habit of clipping the cable with this sling unless on level ground. I also carry a 120cm sling, find this useful for taking photos on steeper routes as it lets you hang out more. A short sling is also a good back up to have on Nepalese or "monkey" bridges.

If you decide to do more ambitious routes you may wish to consider taking a quickdraw which can be used as a "cheat" on routes with steep or overhanging traverses.

Try and get some rock climbing in before your Ferrata trip and take a confidence rope as back up just in case you need it.

MGT - on 16 May 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

She is 13 and boulders and lead climbs indoors (appreciate that isn't the same as outdoors but she isn't a first timer with very little strength).

The route we are doing has pigtails, one bridge and one ladder ascent.

MGT - on 16 May 2018
In reply to andrew roach:

Yes we have HMS karabiners, quickdraws makes a lot of sense too we will take a couple of them too.



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