Via ferrata Tichodrome + Les Tablettes

Published by Stijn , 10 November 2014, 20h08.

Region: World » Switzerland » Neuchâtel
Date of the hike: 8 November 2014
Hiking grading: T1 - Valley hike
Via ferrata grading: AD
Geo-Tags: CH-NE 
Time: 4:00
Height gain: 600 m 1968 ft.
Height loss: 200 m 656 ft.

The Tichodrome via ferrata is closed each year from the start of January until the end of July to protect the birds nesting in the rock face. On the other hand, the route does remain open until the end of the year. The route follows a band in the wall that is exposed to the sun and well sheltered from snowfall. Hence it even remains passable (obviously with extra care) in hardcore winter conditions, as the photo on the cover of the most recent SAC Uto member's magazine proves: a mountaineer on the via ferrata, surrounded by snow-covered trees and gigantic icicles hanging from the rocks. I'd very much like to come back to experience the route in such conditions. This time, however, Ale and myself did not have to cope with any snow. Instead we were blessed with beautiful autumn sunshine.


From the Noiraigue railway station we follow the empty but well-signposted path to the start of the Tichodrome via ferrata. The relatively short via ferrata follows a natural gallery that cuts across a vertical crag in a slightly ascending line. Often, the roof of the gallery is rather low, so wear a helmet if you don't want to hit your head. The cable is rather loose, so hanging outwards to traverse across the more constrained sections is not really a reassuring option. Instead, the best technique seems to be some sort of tug-of-war grip on the cable to pull yourself forward while your weight hangs backwards. The crux of the route comes in the second half, where the gallery is briefly interrupted and iron steps and handholds enable you to move across a very exposed and slightly overhanging wall (briefly K4-). Since the rest of the route is considerably easier, I'd still call this via ferrata suitable for beginners as well.

Rather than returning to Noiraigue after the via ferrata, we follow the Jura Höhenweg over the crest of the hills of Solmont and Tablettes. There are only few views between the trees, until at Tablettes a fantastic panorama suddenly opens up, with the Lac de Neuchâtel in de foreground, and the western Alps from Titlis to Mont Blanc stretching across the background. This panorama can be enjoyed from a meadow just west of the hiking path junction at Tablettes, as well as from a viewpoint on a rocky outcrop two minutes to the north-east of this junction.

We finish our hike 15 minutes later at the Col de La Tourne, where there is a bar and a bus stop (one bus every two hours).

Hike partners: Stijn

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