I tested for you: via ferrata, in summer after-work mode
July 2020, Croix de Chamrousse, via ferrata, solo
"A perfect combo between thrills and nature"
Sylvain, happy, healthy and peaceful sportsman
Evening adventure20 July 2020, it's summertime, the days are long and the weather is nice, a perfect day for a (mini) sporting adventure after work. Yes, no curfew at that time, but that was before. And also, because, I should specify that I am lucky to be already on the resort, it is one of the advantages of working in Chamrousse. It is 4.45pm, I go to La Croix gondola – Chamrousse 1650 (Recoin). My objective is the 3 Fontaines via ferrata in afterwork mode.
I do a small material and security check before catching the gondola for an express ascent to 2250 metre high, the highest point on the resort. I check that I have not forgotten anything: climbing harness, climbing helmet, lanyard, warm clothing, water, a snack in case of, sunglasses, camera… and, of course, my summer pass and the covid-mask.
Beep, 4.55pm, I just validated my pass at the terminal. It seems that I am the last of the day. Once up there, the gondola will stop for the day, hence the importance of forgetting nothing.
Here we go, to conquer the mountains for a sportive session, with the stunning panoramic views and point of view on the resort, the mountain domain, the surrounding massifs and of course, Grenoble valley.
Reaching the topThe first step is to walk to the starting point of the via ferrata, which is called "approach phase". I check the web page dedicated to the via ferrata on the resort website, so as not to get lost and avoid spending time. The paper version of the via ferrata leaflet is also available at the tourist office.
On tjhe spot, there is also a sign indicating the direction and the path can be guessed on the ground, in the footsteps of previous explorers. And for those who are used to hiking, there are also the famous lines of yellow paint on the stones. Below, we can see the famous Achard lake. And beyond, we even see the Laffrey lakes on the Matheysine plateau as well as Mount Aiguille. Of course, that is only if it is like today: nice weather, cloudless skies…
After 10 minutes of walking, it is time to get equipped and above all, it is time for a quick phone call. Being alone, I warn of my departure. Always warn a relative when practicing an independent practice in the mountains.
- "Hello, darling, I’m coming soon begin the via ferrata. No, I’m not with a colleague…Otherwise, I would not have called. Besides, I would rather have been with you.
- You know I am afraid of heights.
- I agree, it’s not for you. I’ll call you later, once I finished. Love."
For information the 3 Fontaines via ferrata is the higher in the Isere department. The start is at an altitude of 2,200 meters with a view on the high mountain. And the finish is at 2,240 meters, so, there is not a lot of height difference, but there is the void below. A word to the wise…
In my point of view, this via ferrata is not too difficult, not really physical either and, in addition to this, it's particularly fun.
There is also a lot of rock contact (= you have to find a grip on the cliff and not a bar) as in climbing. Fortunately, there is no shortage of grips, with only two or three passages a little bit more technical. I am fine, I am used to red level in tree climbing, no problem for the technical and physical level.
But if you have doubts and as any via ferrata started must be completed, do not hesitate to be accompanied by a mountain guide.
The itinerary includes two loopholes if ever, however it is high, very high but it is so great with such a view!
There is the crossing of the monkey bridge in crab mode, facing the void, quite impressive and the super Nepalese bridge (with suspended beams), to cross from the front with the hands on each side. With the little extra, benches to rest and admire the panorama on the massifs and the Achard lake.
Moreover, in the evening, the via ferrata is in the shade and you can enjoy a perfect light on the mountains. It is the best activity during a heat wave in the valley. I am in shorts and a t-shirt and I got a little thought for my love in Grenoble (and the plants on my balcony).
By the way, it's break time, I make a little panoramic video. I do not tell you more, I will let you discover by yourself.
Back to the resort in wildlife hiking modeOnce the crossing of the via ferrata is completed, I'm enjoying the view on the Robert lakes, clearly visible in summer with 3 small lakes and directly below, its pointed massifs. Then, I send the expected message to warn that I'm still alive: "Well arrived, still alive. It was great. Love" and share my little panoramic video.
It is time for me to start the descent in hiking mode (the gondola is closed after 5pm), the advantage of this adventure.
At this time, it's sunset, I know that it is possible to see animals. So, I keep quiet, no phone, no music, minimum noise (= no hiking poles). Maybe I would have the chance to see wild animals.
Not disturbing animals by noise is the best way to have the chance to see them. About grazing animals, I am not worried, they will be there. So, head for the resort by the paths, camera in hand. And the luck was with me: I could see a deer, a groundhog, a fox on the "loup et jardins" piste, and next to the sheepfold, the sheeps and the "Moooo" (sorry, the cows).
As a conclusion, we can say that was a perfect evening from the beginning to the end, thanks to the weather, no material forgetting and some great encounters... Moreover, I am in time for enjoying the ultimate reward, a beer on a restaurant terrace. What more can we ask!
This excursion reminded me the importance of a preserved and respected nature, like this moment in Chamrousse, I have the chance to experience these magical moments. That is also what the sustainable mountain tourism is. I fully intend to continue working on a tourism where economic profitability can be in accordance with flora and fauna.
In my own little way, with modesty and resolve, I still believe that mountain and these early experiences can be live while preserving the environment.
Sylvain – Tourist office.
More information concerning Chamrousse via ferratas including the 3 Fontaines via ferrata but also the Roberts lakes via ferrata, open from mid-June to mid-September.
Via ferrata map to download, via ferrata equipment rental shops information and supervision by a guide for this exciting activity.