STAUSEE, BLATTENS, VALAIS
VIA FERRATA (AD) K3
PHYSICAL RATING: 1
VERTIGO RATING: 2
TECHNICAL RATING: 3
SUMMIT RATING: 1
Departure Altitude: 1327m
Arrival Altitude: 1480m
Climb (or descent): 153m
Time: 3.5 hours
Monkey Bridge: 2
Zip Line: 1
Open: June to October
By car, you can park at the start of the course by the Stauss Gibidum lake. It the end of the road up from Blatten b. Naters, so it is easy to find.
By train, take train to Brig train station, then take the 624 bus up to Blatten b. Naters Luftseilbahn station. From there, the Via Ferrata is about a 20-30 min walk from there, through a pleasant forest, follow signs for Stausee. The start of the Via Ferrata is in the car park near to the dam. There is a big info board in the car park so you will know if you are in the right place!
Please not the Via Ferrata should be completed in a clockwise direction.
NB. You could also go up to Belalp, and then take the path down, to join at the half way stage.
WHAT TO KNOW!
The Aletsch Via Ferrata is a long technical course that circumnavigates the Stausee reservoir above the village of Blatten b. Naters. Actually, it holds the record of being the longest Via Ferrata course in either Switzerland or France (Murren is number 2). It is a course of 2 halves, 1.5 km up the left hand side of the lake, 1.5km down the right hand side of the lake. It is a good via ferrata course for practising a number of skills - particularly horizontal positioning, reclipping, balance, bridges and wire work. The first half of the course starts with a ladder to bring you down nearer to the lake side, and then it is a very simple horizontal route down to the end of the lake. Nothing in this first half should trouble you, and it is a nice part of the course with some monkey bridges, beams and a few sections very close to the water.
The half way point of the Via Ferrata is the highlight. An 80m suspension bridge that crosses the end of the lake. This is a thrilling part of the course and really enjoyable for wobbly bridge lovers!
The 2nd half of the course is a bit more challenging, and you will need to be able to cope with a few tougher sideways passages that require a bit of technical skill, and some arm strength. There is a good vertical section after the bridge to get you in the mood and then the course is varied across its length. A 10-15m long beam near the end is great, followed by a bit of a tough transition.
You finish the course above the other side of the dam, and you get to cross back to carpark to enjoy the view of this beautiful lake.
Overall, this course is a bit of a long slog to be honest. It is very long, and there are a lot of sections that are pretty repetitive. There are load of sections to rest and relax along the route so physically, even though it is long, it won't challenge you. The few moments of challenge are real highlights, and we recommend this course to people who want to perfect their VF skills, without necessarily having a total thrill ride at the same time.