Places to visit

Via Ferrata Ofarim of May 20, 2023


Journeying through the Ofarim Via Ferrata is a remarkable adventure, both challenging and rewarding. This path, characterised by its steep ascents and rocky terrains, presents a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and thrill of Israel's great outdoors. Starting with a swift climb, you quickly gain height, navigating overhangs with the support of a fixed cable and using precise footwork. A notable feature is crossing dual lines – one underfoot and the other overhead – an exhilarating experience that contrasts with the sharp rocks and constant balancing. The final third of the route eases slightly, offering inclined sections and restful ledges. Conquering the Ofarim Via Ferrata is a test of endurance, resilience, and technical skill, all set against the stunning backdrop of Israel's diverse landscape.

Author & Co-authors
Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
2.69 km
2h 32 m
Places with media
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Via Ferrata, derived from the Italian meaning "iron path", is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and other mountainous regions. Understanding the complexity of a Via Ferrata route is essential, as it not only influences your preparedness but also determines your safety.

As of May 2023, Israel boasts three Via Ferrata, each varying in difficulty level. The one I am visiting is ranked third in terms of complexity. Its challenge primarily lies in the intense upper-body strain it imposes on climbers. Hence, a shorter carabiner is typically used, which merely requires holding on when the climber stands upright. This technique provides the arms with a much-needed respite. However, it requires skill and practice to master.

An instructor is on hand to guide climbers through the process, explaining how to navigate the route effectively and quickly pick up the necessary techniques. Their guidance is invaluable in not only ensuring a safe climb but also enhancing the overall experience, allowing climbers to fully appreciate the exhilarating challenge and stunning views offered by the Via Ferrata.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

As we cross the roads and begin our ascent to the start of the Via Ferrata, we find ourselves near the Arab village of Abud, a place steeped in history and tradition.

Abud, nestled amidst ancient settlements established nearly 3000 years ago, exudes serene tranquillity. Its remoteness, far removed from bustling central thoroughfares, has preserved its distinctive traditions. Poised on the western slopes of the central highlands, it offers breathtaking views and mesmerising sunsets.

This land, steeped in antiquity, was once home to civilisations worshipping the pagan gods Baal and Astarte. Vestiges of these practices endure in a modest structure constructed from uncut stones. This elevated "stage" stands as a historical testament, where offerings were once made to the gods.

Abud holds a special place in both local and Christian traditions. It's believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Obadiah (Abdias), and Christian lore heralds the village as one of the earliest settlements of ancient Judea, whose inhabitants were said to have been baptised by Jesus Christ.

As of 2010, Abud boasted a population of approximately 2200 residents, with around 900 identifying as Christians. Among its community landmarks is a Catholic school attended by Christian and Muslim children. Established in 1913, this educational institution continues to serve as a beacon of learning and cultural exchange, reflecting this enchanting village's uniqueness.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Embarking on this route, one is immediately struck by the sharp and swift ascent of the Via Ferrata. With lightning speed, we gain altitude, the landscape falling away beneath us, revealing sweeping views of the surrounding terrain. More than half of the journey takes us along a vertical where strength, balance, and technique are vital.

The initial climb is challenging, requiring a short carabiner to maintain grip and balance. With legs bent and feet firmly planted against the rock face, climbers must move methodically in what is known as "step kicking." This demanding technique necessitates both physical exertion and mental acuity, mainly as we are in a constant vertical motion.

This Via Ferrata, the third most challenging in Israel as of May 2023, should not be attempted lightly. Its steep inclines and technically demanding traverses require considerable climbing experience. For safety reasons and to ensure a rewarding climbing experience, it is highly recommended to embark on this journey accompanied by highly experienced instructors. Their expertise will be invaluable in navigating the challenges of the route, from providing advice on the best techniques to ensuring climbers maintain the right balance and pace. This unique adventure offers a test of endurance and courage and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

After about an hour and a half into our journey, one of the members of our group fell off the cliff. The safety belts of the Via Ferrata system worked flawlessly, and he was safe, but getting back onto the Via Ferrata turned out to be no easy task. The absence of foot support made any attempts to pull himself up using his hands unsuccessful.

Our very experienced instructor managed to descend below the climber, who was in a difficult situation, using ropes and bypass clamps to provide a foothold. A second instructor and another group member assisted him back onto the ledge. From this ledge, our companion was lowered by rope through an aperture to a lower cliff ledge. Here he was met by the second instructor, and they were able to return safely to the base.

The entire rescue operation took about an hour and a half. This incident underscores the importance of the experience of the instructors and the effectiveness of the Via Ferrata system in ensuring the safety of climbers. The adventure, despite its moment of tension, ended safely for everyone involved, serving as a powerful reminder of the inherent risks of rock climbing and the necessary precautions that should be taken.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The continuation of the journey was challenging for me. Being perched on the ledge for one and a half hours had drained my strength. I hadn't adequately prepared for the hike; my arms were uncovered up to the elbows, and my legs up to the knees. The sun made its presence felt relatively quickly, and the exposed parts of my body ended up sunburnt. Furthermore, the sharp rocks left scrapes on my arms and legs. It's crucial to never set out on a route with unprotected arms and legs. That lesson is one I've learned for a lifetime.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The most fascinating part of the journey is navigating two ropes; one at the bottom for stepping on and another at the top to grip with our hands. It's not as daunting as it might appear, and it's even enjoyable compared to the sharp rocks and the constant demand of balancing with your legs.

Leg fatigue is a reality, and it's essential to keep them straight whenever possible. Any opportunity to stand fully upright is a blessing, even if it means balancing between two ropes — one beneath your feet and the other above your head.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The remaining third of the journey is somewhat easier than the first two parts. Here, you're not constantly grappling with sheer cliffs – there are inclined sections where you can shift your body weight onto your legs, and there are ledges for resting. You even have the opportunity to sit down occasionally. This segment offers a welcome reprieve, allowing you to catch your breath and regain some energy for the rest of the adventure. It's a testament to the varied challenges and rewards this unique Via Ferrata route offers its explorers.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Once the Via Ferrata route has been completed, there is a chance to rest and marvel at the surrounding mountains, soaking in the beauty while reflecting on some local histories. For instance, one can consider the name "Ofarim," a common Hebrew name translating to "fawns" or "young deer". This name is used across Israel for various locations, including community settlements, geographical features, and sites, reminding us of the vibrant Israeli culture.

The panoramic view also presents a glimpse of the Benjamin region, named after the Biblical tribe of Benjamin. This significant area was a part of the allocated territory of this tribe. The majestic Shomron mountains lay before us as a silent testimony to the historical and geographical significance of the area.

Our gaze might also fall upon the village of Abud, the home of the Church of St. Barbara. In the Byzantine era, Abud was the site of numerous churches and monasteries. Today, two churches dedicated to St. Barbara, one Orthodox and one Catholic, stand within its borders.

The Catholic church, founded on the remnants of the Byzantine Monastery of St. Simeon, guards an ancient mosaic, while the Orthodox Church is of particular significance, having been restored in 1030 AD following the destruction of the majority of Christian sanctuaries by Hakim, the Fatimid ruler of Egypt.

Taking a moment to rest and reflect on these historical narratives enhances the beauty of the landscape, adding depth and perspective to our journey. This region's historical significance, cultural richness, and natural beauty create a unique experience for the adventure-seeker, history enthusiast, and nature lover alike.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The sight of the Great Burdock, a plant known for its large leaves and spiky purple flowers, heralds the end of the swift and beautiful Israeli Spring. As the Summer commences, it ushers in a hotter, harsher climate, signalling that the end of May is the final window for undertaking challenging outdoor pursuits such as the one we've just completed. The subsequent months will bring temperatures that make such expeditions unwise and potentially unsafe. The Great Burdock, in all its majestic bloom, thus serves as a natural calendar, marking the transition of seasons and our adaptive response to them.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The relentless touch of the iron cable can exact a heavy toll on unprotected fingers. When gloves do not fully cover the fingers, the friction against the steel can lead to abrasion and discomfort, a frequent occurrence during our Via Ferrata climbing experience.

This situation, however, poses a tricky dilemma. On the one hand, gloves with fully enclosed fingers can offer better protection, saving your hands from rough interaction with the cable. On the other hand, such gloves can prove impractical when using a smartphone or a camera to capture the stunning views surrounding the trail. Removing gloves each time to take a photo can be challenging in such demanding conditions.

The knees aren't spared, either. The rocky terrain can lead to scrapes and cuts, particularly if you opt for shorts instead of full-length trousers. The roughness of the landscape warrants the use of pants for better protection. It's a harsh lesson learnt in the high-altitude classroom of Via Ferrata - the importance of appropriate gear cannot be overstated.

Despite these trials, the exhilaration of conquering the challenging Via Ferrata route cannot be underestimated. It's an experience that defies pain, discomfort, and fear. The sheer sense of accomplishment, the adrenaline rush, and the pride of having navigated one of the most challenging paths in Israel make all the scrapes, burns, and aches worth it.

It's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit - our ability to endure, challenge ourselves, and overcome obstacles that may seem impossible. The feeling of victory that washes over you as you reach the end of the path is unparalleled and priceless. It's not just about the journey or the destination but about the triumph over one's limitations. This feeling is, without a doubt, the most significant reward that a Via Ferrata adventure can offer.

Don't waste time for planning
Use detailed routes created by your friends and professionals.
Don't be afraid to get lost in new places!
Pinsteps - globe travel application. Travel pictures.
Don't waste time for planning
Open the world with experience of your friends and professionals without any fear.
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience