This goes way back.. a couple years ago, I was showed videos and photos of “Via Ferrata” adventures on You Tube and I would wince at the sight, let alone the thought of scaling vertical surfaces hundreds of feet in the air. So, when asked whether we would partake in the Via Ferrata offered at the Bugaboo Lodge, I thought ” I don’t want to do this, but I’m here and if I’m going to do it, this is the place….” and signed up half-heartedly.
For those who wonder what Via Ferrata is, think about the most extreme rock climbing routes but add a series of iron bars stapled into the side of the mountain like a ladder making it accessible to me and you. On the morning of, the guides came around the breakfast table to reconfirm that I wanted to go ahead with this, but having said “yes” previously I wasn’t caffeinated enough to think intelligently about it, kept my mouth shut and painted a smile on my face, probably a greater sign of fear than excitement.
We were taken on the helicopter for a short ride to the base of the mountain where the guides, Mike and Bob, meticulously checked our gear and demonstrated the various features of the equipment and the manner on how you would apply it. This is when caffeine and fear started to kick in while my pride prevented me from backing out. I hesitantly clipped in and committed myself to the point of no return. I knew the only way to get through this was to rationalise the situation; I have the best equipment, best guides and hey, it’ll be an amazing story to tell once I complete it. Eventually, with each step (and encouragement from the awesome guides) each bit of anxiety and fear were replaced by exhilaration and excitement. Three quarters of the way, I was over it and was able to finally savour the moment , take a big breath and consume the surroundings. We completed the ascent of Mount Trundle in 2 hours and 45 minutes and were rewarded with a magical view of the Bugaboo spires.
I came into the trip thinking that heli-hiking is hiking with elements of extreme with via ferrata being the extreme. Reflecting on this, I realize that both heli-hiking and via ferrata while sound and look extreme are actually safe, easy and very accessible; the extremes are beauty, adventure and FUN! : )