This beautiful, but extremely challenging via ferrata stretches from the Thermal Park in Le Fayet up to the village of Saint-Gervais.
The Via Ferrata du Parc Thermal takes you along the cliffs of the Gorges du Bonnant, offering breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience.
However, be aware that this via ferrata is considered very difficult, therefore it is mandatory to have a very good physical condition in order to complete this route.
The Via Ferrata du Parc Thermal is located in Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc, 20 km or 12 mi from Chamonix. This means around 25 minutes of driving distance from Chamonix to Saint-Gervais. Moreover, you can also take the picturesque Mont-Blanc Express, which takes you from Chamonix directly to Saint-Gervais-Le-Fayet in 45 minutes.
The Via Ferrata Course
The French use a 6-grade system to rate the via ferrata routes, in terms of difficulty: F (facile), PD (little difficult), AD (quite difficult), D (difficult), TD (very difficult) & ED (extremely difficult).
The Via Ferrata Thermal Park is divided into three different sections of increasing difficulty:
Section n ° 1 / Lower part
- Difficulty: AD+ (Quite difficult / Intermediate);
- Duration: 1 hour;
- Escape n ° 1 Mick Bozon at the footbridge of the Baths at the end of this section. After this exit, rating D + (Difficult +).
Section n ° 2 / Intermediate part
- Difficulty: D+ (Difficult +);
- Duration: 1h 30m;
- Escape n ° 2 Maurice Lenoir.
- Escape n ° 3 Thierry Broisat. After this exit, TD + rating (Very Difficult +).
Section n ° 3 / Final part
- Difficulty: TD+ (Very Difficult);
- Climbing skills and extremely good physical conditions are required;
- Duration: 1 hour;
- Final outing under the ruins of Châtelet.
Via Ferrata Thermal Park Useful Information:
- Minimum height: 1.50m or 4ft 11";
- Inexperienced adults and unaccompanied minors are not allowed;
- Professional guidance is highly recommended;
- The course has a part that is graded as Very Difficult. Climbing skills and extremely good physical conditions are mandatory, especially for the third section, but not only;
- Do not enter the Via Ferrata in stormy weather or at night;
- Before engaging in this via ferrata, it is essential to have the specific equipment and to fully understand who to use it;
- In Via Ferrata, a fall is extremely violent, and no climbing equipment that does not have shock absorber can withstand it;
- In addition to classic equipment (ladders, etc.), this via ferrata is equipped with six structures: 3 Nepalese walkways, a log walkway, a beam and a monkey bridge;
- Self-belaying / confirmed climber: using the belaying equipment by a single person while rock climbing or mountaineering;
- 1 single person between two anchors;
- Free access.
- 1 harness;
- Good walking shoes;
- Carabiner for short rest lanyard;
- Lanyards with energy absorber;
- 2 wide-opened auto-locking-gate karabiners;
- 1 helmet;
The Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc organizes supervised outings with guides to introduce you to this activity, guide you and make you discover this exceptional itinerary in the Pays du Mont-Blanc:
- 1st section: 50 euros per person, 6 people maximum;
- 2nd section: 80 euros per person, 4 people maximum;
- The full via ferrata: 150 euros per person, 2 people maximum.
- Altitude of Departure: 620 m or 2,034 ft;
- Altitude of Arrival: 750 m or 2,460 ft;
- Section no. 1 Duration: 1 h;
- Section no. 2 Duration: 1h30min;
- Section no. 3 Duration: 1h;
- Total Duration of the Via Ferrata: 3h30min.
If you are driving, you should park your car in the parking lot of the Bettex gondola lift in Saint-Gervais. From there, the Thermal Park can be reached via the path from the Chatelet ruins. This way, you can easily reach your car from the final exit or from the loophole no. 2. The walk also constitutes a good warm-up before entering the via ferrata.
It is also possible to start from the Thermes Footbridge, and skip the first section.