Three big moments, the inverted ladder of the cave, the hanging bridge, and the footbridge. A rare density of vertical fantasies.
A second section (at a higher level of difficulty) follows along the first via ferrata.
You have to pay. Tickets are sold at the Tourism Office and at the welcome chalet on the via ferrata parking lot (during the summer).
ViaFerrata Tips and Tricks
You are in a mountain environment: make sure you have proper hiking shoes, good sunglasses, sunscreen, a waterproof jacket that will keep you warm if it rains, and something to munch on if you get hungry. Go only if the weather is favorable.
You can take a sling to rest your arms when you are in the tough and multiple overhanging sections.
|Strength||between 2 and 4 (depending the via)|
|Evaluation||Difficult to Extreme|
Length and Altitudes
Start : 1745 meters
Finish : 2246 meters
Length : 1600 meters
Elevation gain : 501 meters
Time of Year
April to October
Access: 1 hour
ViaFerrata : between 4 and 6 heures but there are 4 possible escape routes.
Way back : 1 hour
From Nice, La Colmiane-Val Delbore, through the Tinée valley (this is easier than going through Vésubie), about 70km, so a full hour of driving either on D2205 or D2565.
Go up to the level of the lifts so you can buy an entrance ticket for the via ferrata. Then take the road that goes up to the left from where you bought your ticket.
Follow the "Livraison" sign which goes off to the right and then go for 3km on an unpaved road. This will lead you to the start of the via ferrata.
Check with the S.N.C.F .
From the Saint-Martin pass go towards "l'Ecole des Neiges" (snow school) and you will find a road that is half paved (where you arrive at the via ferrata parking lot).
The Colmiane has numerous route options and there are escape routes before all the tough parts.
The different sections :
1) Le Pas du Chamois
2) Les Aiguillettes : vertical climb with a 40m footbridge, vertiginous
3) Le Miéjou : climbing, vertical, a short overhang
4) La Grotte : very vertiginous especially when you exit the cave to get to the ladder. A big and demanding overhang at the end.
5) Les Calanques : with a hanging bridge, it's possible to avoid it
6) Le Pilier du Soleil : oops.
If we follow the recommended direction of travel, the festivities start off with a thrilling and swaying 30cm footbridge that swings at the mercy of your feet 20m above the ground and connects two rocky projections 40m apart.
You'll get a second shiver once you leave this area and set your feet on the bars of the final monolith, the void is ever present under your feet.
Further along, thrills are provided by the overhanging section above the cave. You will have to manage a grueling rotation in order to climb a ladder that is facing the void. It's actually just a ladder inversely inclined. Then a small hanging bridge for the road...
The new section starts from the cave and starts off with a swinging bridge. You go up on the piller to the left of the cave and meet back up with the via ferrata route a bit further up. This section is very demanding as there are 5 consecutive overhangs over a distance of 50 meters. It is thus reserved only for the strongest, so if you're out of energy don't go.
Very steep and not so great for the knees. Bring some trekking poles for the way down.
Where to Spend the Night
Check with the Tourism Office. There is a campground nearby.
par Daniel Mihalcea, Youtube