An exceptional panorama of the Ossau Valley, from Laruns to the Aubisque Pass
The via ferrata of Siala is located in Ossau valleyin the Atlantic Pyrenees. With a difference in altitude of 150m to 180m and a length of 250m to 300m of cableThis itinerary allows you to rise little by little, rung by rung, to enjoy a exceptional panorama of the valley. The view plunges down to the Gave du Valentin, which is crossed by monkey bridges and extends to Laruns and the Aubisque pass !
A short history of the via ferrata
The via ferrata is an aerial course that is climbed with the help ofladders planted in the rock and secured by a cable to which one is connected by suitable lanyards.
Historically the first generation of via ferrata appeared in Austria in 1843. Then the "vie ferrate" appeared in the Italian Dolomites for military purposes around 1914. It was not until 1989 that this sport and leisure activity was developed in France in the Hautes Alpes.
The via ferrata of Siala in the Ossau valley in detail
A departure just a stone's throw from the ski resort of Gourette
The start of the walk is about 3km below the Gourette ski resort. Equipped with a helmet, a harness and energy absorbing lanyards, you are ready for a beautiful vertical adventure. The downhill path winds through beech and boxwood trees. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to reach the two possible departures one by one Nepalese bridge (one foot rope, two hand ropes) which leads to the rock face above the Valentin river. The second option is to start a little lower and walk through the beautiful Siala canyon gorge. The start is made on a first monkey bridge which joins the left bank of the Gave by passing over theturquoise and transparent water. From there we go around a rocky bulge that hides the 3 foot rungs and requires a strong pull on the hand cable. A Nepalese bridge brings us back to the right bank and to the first start with the beautiful waterfall which licks the bars when the snow melts.
Several levels of difficulty for this via ferrata
The actual climb then begins with a succession of metal bars fixed in the wall. At the beginning, the cliff is gently sloping (60m), then it gradually rises and offers us a increasingly open landscape as we progressed. It is not uncommon to observe griffon vultures taking the ascents and turning overhead before shooting a long straight line to the next thermal. A few flat spots allow for a photo break or to quench a little thirst. At two thirds of the way through, you have to choose between the difficult option with a possible escape route just before the overhangs or the very difficult route, which is both aerial, vertiginous and overhanging, and therefore puts a strain on the arms.
An easier via ferrata course accessible to all!
If you turn left, you can enjoy a a little easier but a little longerwith great sensations in the final section: the rock is more than verticalA traverse leads to a small dihedral overhang, another traverse with flat feet and finally a short but intense overhang! You will reach the top of the cliff in about 2 to 2.5 hours!
A more challenging section for the more adventurous
For the more adventurous with the right indicator, you start with a slightly sloping section (20m) which leads to a 10m long traverse. This is where the physical effort begins: the rock bulges and spills over 12m. A respite on 3 rungs and you go on to the second large slope by 13m. Sensations guaranteed! Especially if you dare to look over your shoulder... You finish the climb in the forest, in the middle of blueberry bushes (shhh!).
The return journey is on foot along a path that climbs to the top of the cliff (red arrows) and then descends to the road in 10 minutes. There is still a quarter of an hour to get back to the vehicles at the start car park.
You too can come discover this via ferrata course Half-day excursions from May to October with our qualified instructors!
Candice Piechaud, Nature Spirita counsellor at the Bureau Aventure Chlorophylle.