Via Ferrata: Climbing in the French Alps

From $870 pp

  • Duration

    5 days
  • Departure Date

    Jul 4, 2024
  • Trip Style

    Small Group
  • Country

    France
  • Physical Rating

    Strenuous

Overview

Embark on a thrilling four-day adventure in the southern French Alps, tackling a selection of exhilarating via ferrata climbing routes!

'Via ferrata' (literally: an iron path) refers to a specific type of alpine climbing in which steel infrastructure such as ladders, rungs, railings, and cables are securely integrated into rock faces to help safely assist climbers. Climbers can grab onto, or clip onto, the metal elements as they traverse a path.

A via ferrata experience is not only a traditional adventure in this part of France but also a unique way to enjoy nature and the outdoors in the Alps, especially during the snowless seasons.

Feel the excitement of climbing sheer cliffs, crossing wire bridges, and zipping down giant tyroleans as you immerse yourself in the stunning alpine terrain. 

Highlights

  • Escape on a long weekend adventure amongst the Alps' best via ferratas
  • Accomplish 7 spectacular via ferrata routes, and take 3 exhilarating zip lines
  • Climb on both limestone and granite rock faces
  • Soak in diverse landscapes: from deep gorges to towering cliffs
  • Enjoy a Small-Group experience with a maximum of 8 people per guide
  • Feel safe and secure, always in the presence of your qualified guide
  • Discover Gap, the scenic capital of the southern French Alps
  • Participate in ethical travel with a responsible company

Discover the thrill of via ferratas in the southern French Alps, home to France's highest concentration of these adventurous via ferrata routes! This exciting, 4-day short break includes scaling historic via ferratas like the first one built in France at Freissinières and the renowned Grande Fistoire, complete with giant tyrolean zip lines. 

You will be based in the charming town of Gap, the gateway to these diverse via ferrata experiences. Each day, your guide will pick you up, lead your alpine adventures and valley explorations, and then drop you off at your hotel. Lunches (not included in trip price) will be a mix of picnics and restaurant meals, with the day's best option chosen collectively based on the group's preference and the guide's advice.

The via ferratas vary in difficulty, allowing you to progressively build your skills and confidence. The routes offer flexibility to accommodate different skill levels within the group. 
Upon returning to Gap, expect lively evenings exploring local cafes and restaurants.  Gap enjoys a vibrant restaurant and bar scene, and our team is available to recommend and book the best local spots. Dinners are at your own cost.

Departure Dates

  • Jul 4, 2024 - Jul 8, 2024
  • Aug 22, 2024 - Aug 26, 2024
  • Sep 16, 2024 - Sep 20, 2024
  • Oct 18, 2024 - Oct 22, 2024

6 required for departure.

  • June 6th departure: Guaranteed Departure.

Seasonal Notes

The optimal period for a via ferrata trip in the French Alps is from May to October.

For a more tranquil experience, we advise visiting outside the French school holidays in July and August. Avoiding July and August will reward you with less crowded via ferrata routes and a more serene and enjoyable climbing experience.

Availability for this trip based on Mon Hotel Gap accommodation:

  • June 6: Guaranteed Departure.
  • July 4: 5 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • August 22: 4 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • September 19: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • October 18: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure

Availability for this trip based on Hotel les Olivades accommodation:

  • June 6: Guaranteed Departure.
  • July 4: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • August 22: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • September 19: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure
  • October 18: 6 more spots required to guarantee departure

Itinerary

Day 1 Gap [France] (Arrival Day)

Upon arrival in Gap, you can check into your hotel, with rooms ready from 16:00. If you arrive earlier, arrangements can be made for luggage storage, allowing you to freely explore the town. 

Gap, known for its Alpine charm and Provencal atmosphere, boasts a delightful pedestrianized area filled with bars, restaurants, and unique shops. 

We're here to assist in planning your journey and can offer expert advice. Let's gather at the hotel reception at 18:30 to meet fellow holiday participants before enjoying dinner in the town, where we're happy to recommend and book restaurants for you.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2 Via Ferratas in the Champsaur Valley

Your guide will pick you up at 8:30 to visit the Champsaur Valley, where two distinct via ferratas await. 

The Ancelle Via Ferrata offers a high-altitude adventure starting at 1600m, with a progressively challenging route and a wire bridge. 

For lunch, choose between a restaurant meal in Pont du Fosse or a picnic near Ancelle. 

The Arthouze Via Ferrata presents a dramatic three-part climb, featuring a 40m pillar, a natural tunnel, and an intense final ascent, culminating in a total of 500m length and 180m ascent.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Via Ferratas in the Dévoluy Massif

The Dévoluy region, known for its wild, unspoiled limestone landscape, is a habitat for wolves and various Alpine wildlife.

The Gorges d'Agnielles Via Ferrata features a 500m traverse across a cliff above the gorge. Its initial easy section is suitable for children, leading to an abseil (rappel) descent option. The more challenging second part includes a 50m vertical climb and scenic limestone strata, ending with a vertical exposed passage.

For lunch, options include dining in St Etienne or picnicking by the stream.

The Les Etroits Via Ferrata, spanning 1100m, offers a challenging journey through a deep gorge with caves and jammed boulders. It has an easier route with an exit before the more demanding athletic section.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Via Ferratas in the Ecrins Massif

Begin your day with a scenic drive along Serre Poncon Lake, heading towards the Ecrins Massif's eastern side, with a potential lakeside stop for a quick swim.

The day includes the historic La Falaise Via Ferrata in Freissinieres, the first of its kind in France, offering a blend of ease and challenge over its 1000m length. 

Enjoy lunch with options for a picnic or restaurant meal. 

The afternoon features the Gorges d'Ailefroide Via Ferrata, distinct for its granite rock. It presents a choice between an easier 300m section with monkey bridges and a more technical 350m route, ending with a descent along the path.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Via Ferrata Grand Finale; (departure day)

This morning, you'll check out of your hotel, but we can arrange for baggage storage if needed.

Today's grand finale takes you to La Grande Fistoire, arguably the best via ferrata in the French Alps! This half-day adventure includes a cliff face ascent, a wooden swing bridge, a challenging wire bridge, and a steep wall with a ladder to the summit.

After enjoying lunch and views at the summit, you'll descend via three thrilling tyrolean zip lines, each offering a unique and exhilarating experience!

Your return to Gap in the early afternoon will allow you time to catch your transportation home.

Meals: Breakfast

Customization

Contact us if you want to customize this itinerary or combine this trip with another French Alps adventure.

If you wish to extend your stay, booking an additional night in Gap is possible. We can also help you plan your journey to and from Gap, if needed.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • 4 nights' B&B accommodation in a 3* hotel

  • 4 days of guided via ferrata climbing with a UIAGM high mountain guide

  • All required via ferrata climbing and safety gear (helmet, harness, shock-absorbing cow's tails, ropes)

  • Transportation to and from via ferrata locations

  • A tree planted for carbon offsetting on your behalf

  • A personalized app with all holiday details for your smartphone.

  • Your personal travel arrangements to and from Gap

  • Lunches, which vary between picnics and restaurant meals depending on the day

  • Evening meals and drinks at restaurants in Gap

  • Tips for the guide, which are at your discretion

Pricing

Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

  • Deposit per person

    25% of the trip price

  • Group of 2 Travelers - price per person

    Accommodation at Mon Hotel Gap for the following departure dates: June 6: $920 pp July 4: $920 pp August 22: $920 pp September 19: $920 pp October 18: $870 pp

  • Group of 2 Travelers - price per person

    Accommodation at Hotel les Olivades for all departure dates: $995 pp

  • Single Supplement

    $165 pp

Sustainability

We are Travelife Certified and we plant a tree with our partner, Mossy Earth, for all our travelers as part of their rewilding program in Europe.

We operate a paperless office and all our communication with you and all your trip details will be given to you digitally via a smartphone app.

If you are traveling from Europe, we offer a 3% discount if you travel here by train rather than plane. To claim this please ask at booking. It is not accumulable with other discounts and the train journey needs to be international, eg Eurostar to France and then onward on local French TGV or trains.

Environmental Initiatives

This via ferrata tour in the French Alps is environmentally sustainable due to several key practices.

  • It is a low-carbon activity in itself.
  • We encourage you to bring your own re-fillable water bottle and reusable lunch boxes so that we can minimize single-use plastic.
  • We follow local guidelines to protect cliff-nesting birds during mating seasons and other fragile fauna and use local guides, who are passionate about the environment, ensuring a respectful approach to nature. 
  • To reduce transportation impact, the tour groups everyone into a single, modern, well-maintained minibus. 

These measures collectively contribute to minimizing the environmental footprint while supporting local ecosystems and communities.

Economic Initiatives

This tour boosts economic sustainability by primarily using local guides, ensuring that the money spent by tourists goes directly back into the local economy. It also avoids economic leakage by being managed by a local destination company. The tour supports local communities further by utilizing locally owned accommodation and actively recommending local restaurants. This approach ensures that the benefits of tourism are directly felt by the community and help in sustaining the local economy.

Sociocultural Initiatives

The socio-cultural sustainability of this tour is underscored by its respect for and promotion of local cultures and traditions. By employing local guides and recommending local eateries, the tour facilitates meaningful interactions between visitors and residents, fostering mutual understanding and respect. 

This tour also contributes to socio-cultural sustainability by including visits to a range of via ferratas, including the first one in the Alps. This aspect educates tourists about the cultural importance of via ferratas and their origins in Italy, which is just over the border from France and where they were invented. This historical and cultural education enhances the tour's value, promoting an understanding and appreciation of the regional heritage and the significant role of via ferratas in Alpine culture.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.

All our guides are fully qualified to European standards and use up-to-date and tested safety equipment for the via ferratas. We use an additional safety rope for all our group via ferrata trips, too.

The via ferratas themselves are maintained by the commune and we respect any maintenance closures or advice, meaning we may change the itinerary if there is a safety risk we need to consider. This also includes changing the itinerary if the weather is unfavorable. We reserve the right to change the itinerary and even cancel a day if we deem the conditions unsafe due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.

Please note that while we do everything we can to ensure your safety on this trip, this is an activity in the mountains where there are always risks, such as rock falls.

FAQs

What does the Physical rating of "Strenuous" mean?

For those who relish a vertical adventure, this trip is a thrill-seeker's dream! While no prior via ferrata experience is needed, a good head for heights is essential, and any climbing background is beneficial. A moderate to high level of fitness is required to handle full-day mountain climbs, but the emphasis is on fun rather than extreme endurance. Regular physical activities like gym workouts, hill walking, running, climbing, or football will prepare you well. This experience is as much about mental readiness and skill development as it is about physical capability.

The minimum age for participation is 14.

What are the accommodations like?

Mon Hotel in Gap incorporates several sustainability measures. It offers local products for breakfast, emphasizing support for local producers and reducing food miles. Additionally, guests may decline daily cleaning and linen changes, helping save water and energy. The hotel also provides a water refill station, encouraging the use of reusable bottles and reducing plastic waste. These initiatives collectively contribute to the hotel's environmentally conscious approach.

Inquire Now

Departure Dates

  • Jul 4, 2024 - Jul 8, 2024
  • Aug 22, 2024 - Aug 26, 2024
  • Sep 16, 2024 - Sep 20, 2024
  • Oct 18, 2024 - Oct 22, 2024

6 required for departure.

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