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Via ferrata de la Videmanette on Le Rubli

Published by Stijn , 24 September 2013, 17h42.

Region: World » Switzerland » Vaud » Waadtländer Alpen
Date of the hike:21 September 2013
Via ferrata grading: D
Geo-Tags: CH-VD 

A beautiful weather forecast for the first weekend of autumn; a perfect opportunity to tick of some more via ferratas, I thought. However, finding companions turned out to be rather difficult. My existing contacts all had something else on already, and the channels of and CouchSurfing didn't seem to generate any response either. Until on Friday afternoon Debi wrote to me on Kletterportal. With some indoor climbing experience, but no via ferrata experience, she asked if we could do something suitable for a beginner. After some research I suggested the via ferratas of La Videmanette, on the mountain of Le Rubli (Rüebli) near Rougemont in canton Vaud. Three short routes of different difficulties make it a great place to test your via ferrata skills as a newcomer. It's quite a drive, but Debi kindly said that she didn't mind. She picked me up at Lenzburg railway station and from there we drove west; my first venture across the Röstigraben (though only by a couple of kilometers).

Under a perfectly blue sky we ascended to the col of Videmanette by cable car. From here it's a mere 160 meters of ascent to the summit of Le Rubli. There are three routes. The easy voie 1 is mostly used as a descent route. It is secured all along, but only the least confident or those with children will want to be attached to the cable all the way. There are a few short K2 sections where it's advisable to use the via ferrata set, but otherwise it's rather a (proverbial) walk in the park.

Voie 2 is a little more interesting, and was our choice for our first ascent. It is the same as voie 1 for quite a while, until it splits of to the left. (The first junction is actually not voie 2 but just a variation of voie 1. The point where voie 2 really splits off is clearly marked.) It goes up a vertical wall, giving a short taste of K3-level via ferrata'ing. But before you get into the rhythm, the route tops out already. A short, almost flat walk leads to the summit of Le Rubli, where you have a spectacular panorama of the whole region.

Debi enjoyed voie 2 and was clearly ready for more, so we went down voie 1 and to the start of voie 3. Voie 3 starts a little lower down than the start of the other two routes. This extra ascent, combined with the fact that voie 3 is almost non-stop via ferrata, with just one section of walking near the beginning, makes voie 3 a considerably longer route than the other two. Voie 3 goes up a much steeper side of Le Rubli than voie 1 and 2. In some descriptions it's rated as K5, but I wouldn't grade it above K4. There are no real technical difficulties; it's well protected and there are always plenty of iron rungs. However, you certainly need a head for heights, as the drop underneath your feet is quite daunting! A little bit of strength in the arms is also required on a few short sections with a slight overhang. If you tick those boxes, then voie 3 is a highly enjoyable route. It tops out at the same spot as voie 2, and again you can use voie 1 to go down again.

We had originally planned to walk back down to Rougemont. However Debi's hiking boots were not properly broken in yet, causing here feet to ache. Thus we took the cable car back down, making it a relatively short day on the mountain, especially compared to the long drive there. But the via ferratas were enjoyed by both of us. The weather was perfect, but still there were relatively few other people on the via ferratas, an extra bonus. My hunch to go to Rougemont for a "via ferrata taster day" had certainly worked out well.

Hike partners: Stijn


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