Hike and Climb the Via Ferrata de la Tour D'Ai

Tour D'ai, Switzerland

Hike to the Via Ferrata and Climb to the top of the Tour D'Ai, where you will have the most amazing 360 degree view of the Lake Geneva, the Swiss Alps and the Mont Blanc.

A Via Ferrata is a protected climbing road created in the Alps made of steel. With a climber’s kit, you secure yourself to cables periodically attached to the mountain, and climb up with the help of steel pegs fixed into the mountain.

The Via Ferrata of the Tour D’Ai is located in Leysin, and is one of the few that enable you to climb to the top of a mountain instead of following a path across a mountain. Although you do not need any background in climbing to take on the challenge, a basic understanding is useful.

Your day will start at the bottom of the gondola in Leysin. You can rent the gear at any local sports shop and usually costs about 20-30 CHF for the day. It will include a helmet and harness. No ropes are necessary, as you simply continuously clip on to the cable fixed to the mountain.

Park your car at the bottom of the gondola. You can chose to take the gondola up, which will save you about 1h30 both ways, and start at the top of the gondola, or you can hike up from the very bottom. You can also chose to take the gondola only one way and either hike up or down. For both ways, the gondola is about 15CHF. You can also rent a bike and leave it at the top of the gondola, using it to bike down after your climb.

Once at the gondola, follow the path indicated “Via Ferrata Tour D’Ai.” The initial hike to the base of the climb is about 1h30, straight down, then straight back up, totally approx.. 1.5 miles. The hike itself is relatively steep and will require good shoes.

Once at the start of the climb, clip on and begin to ascend. The climb is about half a miles with an assent of approx. 500 feet. The initial phase is always the hardest. If you can get passed it, you will have no problems with the rest of the climb, although you are suspended over 5000 feet up. The Via takes between one to two hours. Do not try this if you have fear of heights.

When you arrive at the top, take the time to walk all around. You will have incredible views of Lake Geneva, the Alps and Mont Blanc.

You do not need to climb back down, you will simply follow the hiking trail that leads you back to the gondolas. Count another hour or two to hike back down, totaling approx. 2miles.

This is an incredible adventure; it physically demanding but worth every second of the time. Good luck!

Helpful Links:


Via Ferrata

Pack List

  • Pack some water. There is source on the trail, although you can fill up at the gondola. Pack enough water for a full day. 
  • Bring a picnic or food, although there is a restaurant at the top of the gondola, you won’t have access to any during the hiking and climbing. 
  • You can rent all the necessary gear for the climb in Leysin. 
  • Pack extra warm clothes in case it gets a little chili. 
  • Don’t forget a sturdy backpack you can clip on the front, so that you won’t be holding it secure as you climb. 
  • Sturdy shoes will help your hike up and down, but the climb itself can be done in running shoes. 
  • And last but not least, don’t forget a camera.  
Show More
RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Advanced
Season Summer
Trail Type Loop
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Picnic Area


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Overall rating: 

so rewarding

amazing climb without needing to be a climber.

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