All my mountaineering successes are dear to me, but the one I will write about today is my favorite. Ferata – this word has sounded so scary and unattainable for months, and yet so appealing. Ferata is a hiking trail secured with cables, wedges, ladders. Such roads are demanding, progress is made with the use of hands, and self-insurance equipment is mandatory.

Gradiška tour

When we finally set a date for the Gradiška tour, I spent days studying photos and videos. Everyone was telling me how she looks scarier in the photos than she actually is. When I came to the foothills, I was impressed. I look at the balcony and think how far it is. The path to the balcony is less demanding, and the balcony is followed by the so-called aerial part of the hiking trail. I’m figuring I’ll get to the balcony somehow, so if I don’t like it, I won’t move on. I’m not afraid of heights or the difficulty of the road, the only thing that worries me is that I won’t be able to do it physically.

The initial part

We get to the beginning of the ferrata and I start as hypnotized. I’m taking the first step on the rock and I’m thinking “this is it, no giving up”. I’m still impressed, but I’m going. At times I have no idea where to put my foot, some blades are not noticeable at first (or it’s just not noticeable to me). There are three of us, and I am the last and I am lagging behind. I yell at them that I have no idea where to put my foot and the decision is made to move to the middle in the first convenient place. Every now and then we look at where the balcony is and when we will see it. Suddenly we see him and he is not so far away from us anymore. We take a short break on the balcony. There is a smile on my face. I comment on how I thought it would be harder. I am no longer impressed and that little grain of fear is gone.

View from the balcony on the ferrata

The sequel is a bit harder, because we go out to the aerial part (in the first photo marked as “Part II”). I’d love to take photos all the way and I’m sorry I took the little camera. But every now and then I take it out of my backpack pocket and snap it. Suddenly I feel the wind, I’m in the air. I look down and think “so it’s not that scary at all”. It really looks a lot harder and scarier in the photos.

In the second part

Just when I am completely relaxed, I come to the narrower part between the rocks. My backpack got stuck to the rock on my left, and I put my right leg so silly that I blocked the strap with my knee that I tied to the cable and I can’t go back and forth. A moment of panic – I’ll be stuck like this! Luckily, just a moment, because the next time I manage to remove the strap below the knee and find a place for my leg, I pull up with my hands. Below me I hear the comment “you climb like a man”. I’ve heard before that women climb on technique and men on strength. I needed to do smaller steps and use minimal hand strength, and I did just the opposite.

View from the top

Just a little more and we are on top, the ferrata is over. There is no end to happiness. I would like to call the whole world as I sang my first ferrata, but I refrain and call only those closest to me. We comment on how great it was and how our time passed quickly. A smile never leaves my face, and I believe the pride I feel can also be seen.

Of course I had hand muscle inflammation the next day, but let it be. Every time I feel muscle pain, a smile appears on my face. My first ferrata …

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