Kendal Wall owners said the indoor via ferrata is a first for Europe

Kendal Wall owners said the indoor via ferrata is a first for Europe

A Cumbrian climbing centre will open what it claims to be a European first: an indoor via ferrata.

The Kendal Wall site will launch the route tomorrow, featuring a combination of rungs, ladders and bridges more commonly found in the Italian Dolomites.

Vie ferrate were installed initially in northern Italy to allow troops to access mountain areas without technical climbing ability. The ‘iron routes’ are now used by mountain-goers who can have the thrill of mountaineering without a climber’s skills.

A Kendal Wall spokesperson said its new course has been designed to give thrill seekers the opportunity to explore and pit themselves against a testing route. It contains a twisting vertical tunnel, challenging main climbing walls, balance traverses and a serious swing across a blank slab.

The course finishes with a final flourish, the Jump of Doom, where climbers perch on a small platform on the edge of a 20-metre drop before making a leap of faith into the void below.

Would-be via ferrata climbers will be provided with the equipment needed and all climbers are fully trained with initial practice challenges on ladders and rock features. The course is suitable for adults and children aged 10 years and over, with sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes.

Via ferrata manager Stephanie Kerek said: “In the words of JFK, we chose to do this not because it is easy but because it is hard. However, we think this adventure will be a highly memorable experience for all who dare try it.’’

Jeremy Wilson, Lakeland Climbing Centre chairman, said: “We are very proud with what we are achieving in Kendal.

“This centre is special on a national scale. Seeing the delighted faces of children and adults alike make all the hard work and investment worthwhile. Our staff numbers continue to grow and it’s down to their commitment that our success is possible.”

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s head of operations, said: “The all new via ferrata experience at the Lakeland Climbing Centre is the first of its type in Europe.

“The centre has a long history of innovation and the new indoor via ferrata is a great all-weather attraction for our visitors to enjoy, which will no doubt appeal to both new and existing audiences.”

More details are on the Kendal Wall website.

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