Via ferrata Tour d’Aï in Leysin was our target that day. Since there was quite a few violent and sudden thunderstorms lately I was quite ‘so la la’ (as the German speaker would say) about our via ferrata day. Spoiler: it was sunny and perfect.
Packed one backpack with all the via ferrata gear and we hopped into our car and after around 1 hour we were in Leysin. Pretty village. Left our car and headed to the cable-car. Took our Magic Pass with and quickly we were on 2 045 m – station Berneuse. From there on you head towards Tour d’Aï, it is quite well marked, but if you happen not to see the sign you will see a chairlift and you want to find yourself even more up from it. The walk is quite easy, first descending to 1 905 m and then up to around 2 190 m where the via ferrata starts. It is circa 2 km long and takes around 40 minutes to find yourself next to the starting point.
It was time to gear up and start the fun. There’s series of ledges running diagonally upwards, then some traverse (not my favourite spot), pretty chimney and vertical and a bit (not much) overhanging wall. It was fun, but the fun didn’t last long since we finished the via ferrata after 35 minutes… I was craving for more!
We got to the summit (2 331 m) and took a little break to take photos and just chill a moment before walking down.
Before starting the via ferrata, there’s a sign ‘alpine way’ which as we found out concerns the descent. It’s sometimes very exposed, not hard, but exposed. Might not be for all. It takes 6 km down to get to Leysin and it took us less than 2 hours with a ‘beer’ stop in a nice ‘Refuge de Mayen’ that offers not only drinks but a stunning view.
Starting point: Berneuse station (2045 m)
Target: Tour d’Aï (2331 m)
Altitude change: via ferrata is only 140 m, going all the way from Tour d’Aï to Leysin: 941 m
Time: via ferrata took us 35 minutes. On the info boards it says you should calculate 1-2 hours but I guess they counted it with a little picknick and playing cards in between.
Tip: It’s short but very pretty, so enjoy it! When on the summit look up and if you’re lucky enough as we were, you will spot the vultures that are not so common!
Text: Agnieszka Wajs