« La Tour du Jalouvre » in le Grand-Bornand
The Tour du Jalouvre is a 1,000-metre-long course categorised as difficult. It should be understood that the difficulty lies mainly in the length of the course (about 6 hours), in the commitment necessary and the return which can be tricky at the beginning of the season as there can still be traces of snow. You can spend a whole day on this course and enjoy the magnificent views over the village of le Chinaillon, the unmissable summit of Mont-Blanc and the Massif des Aravis.
Located about twenty minutes from the car park, the first part of the course is an ascending left-handed traverse. You will find a succession of ledges leading to the Arche du Bouquetin just before reaching the key part of the course: the slope of the « Cul Tourné ». The latter, comprising a gentle incline to be crossed in small stages requires a grasp of correct rock-climbing moves. You then head for the Tour or you can break your journey at the « Sortie à Fred » (the time for the course will then be 2 to 3 hours if you stop here).
For the more courageous who carry on, the Tour is reached firstly by the very aerial Gypaète footbridge which measures more than 16m in length. The latter is dominated by « le pilier des courants d’air » (the column of air courants) and you will certainly find it exciting to cross! A large ridge then leads to the summit of the Tour.
To return, you make a long traverse on the face of le Jalouvre which takes you to a steep couloir with cables to reach the Combe du Rasoir.
« Yves Pollet-Villard » in la Clusaz
The easiest of the three via ferrata routes in the Aravis: a traverse on the Borderan cliff just above the Col des Aravis! the best way to try this activity in complete peace of mind and without frightening yourself.
On arriving in one of the two car parks on the way up to the Col des Aravis, the path on the left will take you to the cliff in the rock climbing area then to the first projection on the via ferrata route.
The first stage is « la traversée du bon pied », an ascending traverse followed by a succession of rocky traverses and small projections which will take you to the « Donjon des deux niches ». You will then cross a grassy section as far as the « Mur du Bon Geste » which will take you to the footbridge. There follows the « bonheur des dames » a rocky section which will take you to «la dalle du lapiaz » and the « jardiniers » traverse. A final climb awaits you at the end of which you will have the choice between carrying on or leaving by the Aravis exit.
It is a fairly long course on an ascending traverse. You will not encounter any vertical climbs and you will cross numerous grassy sections.
« La roche à l’Agathe » in Thônes
This is the most difficult course in the region, not to be missed by the most experienced.
« La Roche à l’Agathe » is a course close to housing in the town of Thônes, very aerial and more than 600m long. It takes 2 to 3 hours to get up and back down.
The first part is the longest of the three with a crossing on a monkey bridge and several vertical walls. The second part is the most technical and is aimed at the more experienced. You will come to a ledge where you have three options: take the way out on the right, take the inverted ladder facing the void and the town of Thônes, or take the « surplomb de l’Ermite » classified extremely difficult.
Precautions to take before setting off
Before setting off on any via ferrata, it is very important to find out about snow conditions from the Tourist Office. Opening dates for the courses are generally from mid-May to mid-November.