Via ferratas – Italian for “iron route” – are a fun mix between hiking and climbing. During World War many were built in the Dolomite mountain region of Italy to aid the movement of troops. Now, used for recreation, they enable hikers to traverse mountain terrain that is too steep or exposed for unprotected scrambling. Ferratas consists of steel cables, to which ferrata climbers can secure themselves, as well as other climbing aids such as iron pegs, ladders, bridges and carved steps in the rock.
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Logistics: we flew to Venice and took a bus to Cortina, which served as a base for several multi-day ferrata treks. The Dolomite region is dotted with mountain huts, which serve up great food and beer and provide a place to sleep. We used On Top Mountaineering for guide service (great for convenience – they take care of reservations, transportation, routes – and safety). September is a wonderful time to go.