Via ferrata with a child
Many parents think they can bring their children on via ferrata routes without any particular technical rope skills. However, when doing via ferrata with children, belaying with a rope is mandatory.
- Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
- Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
- We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.
Why use a rope with children on a via ferrata?
- A child can lack focus and/or tire more quickly than an adult. A child could accidentally unclip his/her lanyard from the cable while on the route.
- The SCORPIO lanyard is designed for users from 40 to 120 kg: most children weigh less than 40 kg.
It is therefore essential to belay the child with a dynamic rope. The techniques for belaying with a rope presented below are very similar to those used in multi-pitch climbing and mountaineering. So it is essential to become competent in these techniques if you want to take a child on a via ferrata. Otherwise, hire a professional.
Below, we give recommendations on possible techniques for taking a child on via ferrata. Consult a professional in the activity on possible techniques and routes in your area: certain course elements may not be suitable for children (tyroleans, monkey bridges)
Progression on a steep vertical section
In this case, we recommend belaying from a suitable anchor with a dynamic single rope.
To avoid using the lanyard and to facilitate the child's progression, you can attach the two lanyard ends to the child's harness.
A lanyard can be used by the child for educational purposes.
Be sure to add intermediate protection points between you and the child if the belay is not vertically aligned with the child.
WARNING: the rope must always be taut. In case of a fall, the fall must be stopped by the rope and not by the lanyard, if it is used.
Progression when traversing
In this case, use simultaneous progression.
Short roping (3 to 6 m). Be sure to always have a protection point (pigtail or quickdraw ) between you and the child.
Belaying with the rope running through pigtails. If there are no pigtails, place a quickdraw before every anchor.
- Using a lanyard is essential to avoid a pendulum in case of a fall.
WARNING: the child must always remain below the cable.
Specific warnings related to the use of a SCORPIO lanyard with a child of less than 40 kg
Apart from technique, pay attention to the child's emotional state: fear, vertigo... Ideally, another adult would follow behind the child for help and reassurance if necessary.