A via souterrata is a very new concept that started off in the Alpes Maritime in 2010. In 2017, the second of it's kind was created in the Hautes Alpes department.
It combines the two sports of via ferrata and caving and is essentially an underground via ferrata.
Via ferratas were invented by the Italian army to get their troops across inaccessible steep mountain cliffs safely and efficiently.
A via souterrata does exactly the same thing in the otherwise relatively inaccessible underground caving environment!
Metal ladders, hand holds and wire bridges are fixed into the rock to make a route and a safety cable is fixed for people to attach themselves to. For a via souterrata you wear a caving suit, caving helmet and lamp and wear a via ferrtata harness with cows tails which you attach to the safety cable. A rope is also used as back up security between clients.
This new sport gives access to the caves and grottes that are otherwise too difficult to get to and adds another dimension to classic caving!
If you like the idea of exploring the mysterious world of underground labyrinths and would like to experience a via ferrata at the same time then you will love via souterrata.