The forecast on Bleu Savoie indicated that the morning would be good with increasing cloud from the west.? It then stated that there would be heavy, thundery showers with strong gusts of wind.? Forewarned is forearmed!
We drove alongside Lac d’Annecy and then took the turning to Thones passing through the village of Bluffy.? A quick stop at the boulangerie for bread and a second breakfast pain au chocolat!? 5 minutes later we were parked a the foot of the via ferrata on a cliff above the village of Thones.? Back in Reblochon country.
We geared up by the boot and set off for the short walk to the foot of the route.? This via ferrata has a rather different ambiance above the town.? You can see people swimming in the pool and the market stalls around the church in the centre of Thones.? Arriving at the start of the via ferrata time for a quick reminder on safety and a double-check of harnesses, etc.
The route starts as it means to go on and soon you are traversing across 2 wires facing out over the impressive drop over the town.? At the end of this a steep wall reminds you that you are in a vertical environment.? The route continues with steep walls and traverses.? There’s an “escape” route around 2/3 of the way if time, inclination or weather indicates.? The weather was still good but there was an increasing amount of dark cloud forming in the direction of the Parmelan.
The finale of this via ferrata is a very overhanging section which is arguably the hardest via ferrata in France.? For those who are not sure of the strength in their arms and ability to reclip their slings at each rebelay there’s a ladder!? Before we took this option we watched a youngish man tackle the overhang wearing rock boots and a chalk bag!? His female companion attempted to follow but was rebuffed by the overhang unable to make the reach and “lock off” required to continue on the impending headwall.? She managed to reverse back down but took a short fall on to her kit – unhurt; but it demonstrated that via ferrata should be taken seriously.
After the ladder a short section climbing on limestone “rigoles” to the top.? With the increasingly black sky we chose to head for the descent rather than eat our picnic at the top.? The descent is protected by cables and takes quite some time.? We had got off the cable in the heavily wooded lower slopes when huge gusts of wind hit the trees.? Soon this was joined by heavy rain.? A quick scramble for our jackets and then a rapid descent to the vehicle.