A via ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. It is a climbing route that employs steel cables, rungs or ladders, fixed to the rock to which the climbers affix a harness with two leashes, which allows the climbers to secure themselves to the metal fixture and limit any fall. The cable and other fixtures, such as iron rungs (stemples), pegs, carved steps, and ladders and bridges, provide both footings and handholds, as well. This allows climbing on otherwise dangerous routes without the risks of unprotected scrambling and climbing or the need for technical climbing equipment.
Several via ferratas can be found also in the Czech Republic. One of them, called Ferrata Hluboká, is located in the picturesque Vltava valley near the town of Hluboká nad Vltavou. You can check the exact location of the via ferrata here (via mapy.cz).
Ferrata Hluboká is not accessible by car, nor public transport. To get to it, you need to walk a bit. You can either park your car at (or travel by public transport to) Hluboká nad Vltavou town and walk by the river for 8,5 kilometres (see the map here) or you can park your car at the village of Purkarec and walk 4 kilometres (see the map here).
In total, Ferrata Hluboká has 720 meters of horizontal climbing and tens of meters of vertical climbing. It is the longest Czech via ferrata above the river. Ferrata Hluboká offers its visitors three routes/parts:
- part A – length: 150m, difficulty: B
- part B – length: 400m, difficulty: C/D
- part C – length: 170m, difficulty: B
Part A & B of Ferrata Hluboká is located on the rocks in the area called Karvanice between the town of Hluboká nad Vltavou and the village of Purkarec. Ferrata is accessible from the bike path along a marked path, or directly from the water thanks to the pier, where you can anchor a boat or paddleboard. Part C of Ferrata Hluboká is located on the route Hluboká – Poněšice (on the right bank of the Vltava River).
You don’t have to be a climber to overcome the via ferrata. But to be able to overcome it, a special safety harness, the so-called ferrata set and helmet, is required. Sturdy shoes and protective gloves are recommended. More information about the rental options is available on the official website of the Hluboká nad Vltavou town.