Via Ferrata Madness in Quebec: Walking on the Iron Road

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Via Ferrata Madness in Quebec: Walking on the Iron Road

So, let’s talk about via ferrata.

How many of you have done it or even heard of it? The first time I got to know this foreign concept was while translating Sabah Tourism’s website from English to Korean back in 2014. The tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, Kinabalu Mountain is one of the only places in Asia where you can experience the thrill of Via Ferrata.

So, what is via ferrata?

Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road”. The history of via ferrata goes back to the First World War when several routes were built in the Dolomite mountain region of Italy to aid the movement of troops. As popularity has grown and the tourism benefits have been recognized, many more trails have been developed in recent years, especially in Europe and Canada.

The modern via ferrata is a steel cable that runs along the route and is periodically fixed to the rock, which prevents climbers from falling. Additional climbing aids are also used, such as iron rungs, steps, ladders, and bridges. The advantage of via ferrata is that it allows relatively inexperienced climbers to experience climbing extreme routes or peaks that would otherwise be impossible. But good understanding of equipment, basic technique, and a good head for heights are required.

The challenge

Height

First and foremost; the height. If you are afraid of heights, via ferrata can be challenging. As this is a climbing activity, you have to be comfortable with hanging on the side of a rock cliff, crossing a narrow wooden bridge, and ‘death bridge’ or sky bridge. If you’re trying a via ferrata with a fear of heights, try breathing deep three times and remember that you’re safe. Concentrate on your route, where you step, and you’ll be able to enjoy the dramatic vista in no time!

Getting used to the technique is also very important, since it’s directly connected to your safety. The harness comes with one or two carabiners which you’ll clip to the guiding cable at all time.

Trusting the gear

How can this small clip hold my weight? How can I hang from the side of a rock cliff with this cable? It’s natural to question, but trust your gear and trust your guides. If you’re careful and follow the basic rules, via ferrata is a safe sport.

Trusting yourself

We are far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. That’s what adventure travel is all about. Pushing the boundary, discovering yourself, and achieve something unimaginable. Imagine how awesome it would be to see the view from the top of this rock cliff!

Via ferrata through Quebec

Who knew, Canada, including Quebec is the world’s leading via ferrata destination? During my recent trip to Quebec, I experienced four via ferrata trails (just learned plural of via ferrata is vie ferrate or via ferrets). We could have done more if we had time; if there’s a rock wall, there is a via ferrata. It became a running joke between our group since we saw via ferrata trails wherever we went.

Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay (Saguenay Fjord National Park)

sepaqSeeing the fjord from sky! There are three circuits that provide incredible views of the ever-changing Saguenay Fjord’s bay by the tides. Trails here are equipped with iron rungs, steps, and ladders the whole way. My favorite part was hanging on the sky bridge while looking at the dramatic vista.

The park also provides various activities such as cruising, fishing, camping, sailing, hiking, biking, sea kayaking, show shoeing, and more.

browserParc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay website

Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay

Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay

Via Ferrata Palissades de Charlevoix

Palissades“The most spectacular in Canada” is at Palissades de Charlevoix. Indeed. It was my favorite adventure day in Quebec with a via ferrata, sky bridge, and rappelling in one sweep. This trail is a bit different than the one in the Saguenay Fjord National Park. Made by the charismatic owner and professional mountain climber François-Guy Thivierge, this trail allows visitors to get closer to the natural rock surface. The trail was created with minimal installations of iron rungs and steps. It would be a great place to train for rock climbing.

An author of a bestselling book and professional mountain climber, François brings much energy to this park. He’s climbed the Seven Summits (the highest mountains of each of the seven continents) of the world and completed expeditions to both poles. His passion made me so happy. Passionate people inspire me!

browserPalissades de Charlevoix website

The

Via Ferrata Palissades de Charlevoix

Via Ferrata at Les Palissades de Charlevoix

With Francois

Canyon Sainte-Anne

CanyonWith the impressive 74m waterfall as a backdrop, Canyon Sainte-Anne offer various activities including via ferrata operated by Project Vertical. Only 25 minutes away from Quebec City, Canyon makes a great place for a short day trip. The via ferrata here brings you close to the waterfalls, allowing you a breathtaking view.

browserCanyon Sainte-Anne website

Canyon Sainte-Anne

So, the world is a small place indeed. I mentioned that I got to know via ferrata from Kinabalu Mountain, right? Well, funny thing; while I was visiting Parc de la caverne du Trou de la Fée in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean for zip-lining (with a short via ferrata) and rafting, I met the people who installed the via ferrata trail in Kinabalu Mountain. I’m amazed about this world every day.

Take a look at Via Ferrata Quebec’s website to see where you can walk on the iron road in Quebec.

What do you think? Would you do it?

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

10 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    Wow! Your photos make me want to definitely go here someday. It looks crazy frightening and totally safe at the same time!

  2. Sil M says:

    What a thrill, Juno! That picture with the death bridge? (the shot with your shoes) literally took my breath away, I remember when I climbed Mt. Kinabalu they had this option to climb via Ferrata and immediately I said no as this would require more preparation for my trip and plus, I was sure that I would not manage. Now you have done the Quebec one, would you actually do the Kinabalu ferrata? 😀

  3. saania ali says:

    Wow, what a lovely experience you people had, that is really so adventurous.
    It looks quite thrilling, will surely plan for such a kind of adventure activity.
    Keep Posting
    Cheers. 🙂

  4. […] interesting conversation about having a recurrent nightmare about via ferrata after our intensive via ferrata expedition in Quebec. A few friends in the group said they had nightmares about whether their carabiners were clipped to […]

  5. Stephen says:

    Did you know that all of Canada’s national parks will be free next summer to mark some anniversary of the system? I’m really thinking about heading up there for a month or two, it looks really fantastically beautiful!

  6. Andrew says:

    that bridge is not for me!

  7. Oh My God! What a wonderful experience! I really wish to try. But I am very scared about it. How you have done guys. Hats off to you. I enjoyed reading this post.

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