Extreme Climbing: The Hardest Via Ferratas in the World

A via ferrata is a protected path in a mountainous area supported with wire ropes and other climbing aides. Via ferrata is Italian for “iron path”, and has its historical origins in the Alps centuries ago. Initially, the predecessors to via ferratas were used by shepherds to reach their higher pastures. In recent decades, via ferratas have gained in popularity with the climbing community and are today primarily used for sport and recreation. Although via ferratas have been developed in other countries around the world, the hardest and most extreme routes are still within the European Union. We’ve found 12 of them – Watch them all being climbed here!

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“Stairway to Heaven”, Donnerkogel, Austria

This via ferrata has a difficulty level of “C/D” on the Schall scale, which ranges from A to F. But don’t let the medium difficulty fool you – the gigantic ladder crossing over a 700 meter abyss, that is part of this route, … Read full text

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“Stairway to Heaven”, Donnerkogel, Austria

This via ferrata has a difficulty level of “C/D” on the Schall scale, which ranges from A to F. But don’t let the medium difficulty fool you – the gigantic ladder crossing over a 700 meter abyss, that is part of this route, is not for the weak… The official name for this via ferrata is Intersport Klettersteig.

Via Ferrata Extraplomix, Gran Canaria, Spain

This is the only via ferrata in the world that has “broken” the Schall scale and been awarded with the difficulty level “G” by the German website Bergsteigen.com. Thus making this Canarias route the world’s most difficult vi… Read full text

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Via Ferrata Extraplomix, Gran Canaria, Spain

This is the only via ferrata in the world that has “broken” the Schall scale and been awarded with the difficulty level “G” by the German website Bergsteigen.com. Thus making this Canarias route the world’s most difficult via ferrata. It features an enormous overhang right at the start. You will also use a pendulum, and climb through a cave via its ceiling. Extraplomix is only recommended for those who master technical alpine climbing.

Gosauschmied Hammer Klettersteig, Austria

This is the most difficult via ferrata in the Alps, rated “F” for difficulty, and starts with a massive overhang. Only suitable for the most experienced climbers.

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Gosauschmied Hammer Klettersteig, Austria

This is the most difficult via ferrata in the Alps, rated “F” for difficulty, and starts with a massive overhang. Only suitable for the most experienced climbers.

Via Ferrata Jules Carret, France

This route includes a cave and several “bridges”. It’s rated “E/F” for difficulty, and is one of the most demanding via ferratas of the French Alps.

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Via Ferrata Jules Carret, France

This route includes a cave and several “bridges”. It’s rated “E/F” for difficulty, and is one of the most demanding via ferratas of the French Alps.

Karolasteig, Germany

This is the most difficult via ferrata (or Klettersteig, as it’s called in German) in Germany. Almost the whole route is up a big wall with a slight overhang. It has an “F” rating for difficulty.

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Karolasteig, Germany

This is the most difficult via ferrata (or Klettersteig, as it’s called in German) in Germany. Almost the whole route is up a big wall with a slight overhang. It has an “F” rating for difficulty.

Via Ferrata de la Roche du Mont, France

This is France’s hardest via ferrata, with an “E/F” rating. Note: there’s an  “extremely difficult variant” of the Via ferrata de la Rocer du Mont, which is much harder to climb than the normal one.

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Via Ferrata de la Roche du Mont, France

This is France’s hardest via ferrata, with an “E/F” rating. Note: there’s an  “extremely difficult variant” of the Via ferrata de la Rocer du Mont, which is much harder to climb than the normal one.

Via Ferrata Feliz Navidad, Spain

This is one of the most extreme via ferratas in the world with some difficult “surprises” at the very end. It’s rated “E/F”.

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Via Ferrata Feliz Navidad, Spain

This is one of the most extreme via ferratas in the world with some difficult “surprises” at the very end. It’s rated “E/F”.

Via Ferrata Vidourle, France

This route is situated above a river, and includes a zip line (over the water). It’s rated “E” and is extremely difficult. One of the climbers in this video dislocated his shoulder while climbing.

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Via Ferrata Vidourle, France

This route is situated above a river, and includes a zip line (over the water). It’s rated “E” and is extremely difficult. One of the climbers in this video dislocated his shoulder while climbing.

Klettersteig Dopamin, Austria

A very steep via ferrata that starts with a narrow wire bridge over the foaming creek Galitzenbach. Mid-route you can choose the “masochist” extension with a couple of overhangs, if you think the normal route is too easy… Ra… Read full text

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Klettersteig Dopamin, Austria

A very steep via ferrata that starts with a narrow wire bridge over the foaming creek Galitzenbach. Mid-route you can choose the “masochist” extension with a couple of overhangs, if you think the normal route is too easy… Rated “E/F”·

Via Ferrata Delle Aquile, Italy

Delle Aquile in Italy is absolutely not for the faint of heart, as some parts of this via ferrata features some very exposed passages over deep abysses (with amazing views of Lake Garda and Trento) . You’ll also walk over tw… Read full text

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Via Ferrata Delle Aquile, Italy

Delle Aquile in Italy is absolutely not for the faint of heart, as some parts of this via ferrata features some very exposed passages over deep abysses (with amazing views of Lake Garda and Trento) . You’ll also walk over two wire bridges, use a pendulum and climb the “DNA ladder” if you opt for the extreme variant. This via ferrata is rated “C/D”, with some parts marked “E”. Jump to 4:28 in the video if you wanna go straight to the via ferrata climb.

Wilde Gams Klettersteig, Austria

This via ferrata requires a lot of strength in your forearms, as it practically goes straight up a big wall . It also features an overhang and a difficult edge at the exit, so you need your muscle power all the way till the end. R… Read full text

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Wilde Gams Klettersteig, Austria

This via ferrata requires a lot of strength in your forearms, as it practically goes straight up a big wall . It also features an overhang and a difficult edge at the exit, so you need your muscle power all the way till the end. Rated “E/F”.

Via Ferrata La Roche à l'Agathe, France

Another almost straight up big wall climb, rated “E/F”, with stunning views of the small town Thônes below. You’ll also experience a bridge and (optionally) an extreme exit with an overhang.

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Via Ferrata La Roche à l'Agathe, France

Another almost straight up big wall climb, rated “E/F”, with stunning views of the small town Thônes below. You’ll also experience a bridge and (optionally) an extreme exit with an overhang.

Please note

The via ferratas in this list are only suitable for those who have experience of demanding alpine climbing. As a less experienced climber, you should have a guide with you on the tour.

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