Via Intro (2.5 hrs)

2.5 Hrs in Squaw Valley Resort / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$99

About this trip

The 2.5hr Intro to Via Ferrata climb is perfect for those interested in Via Ferrata but not ready to commit to a half-day adventure. This adventure lasts two and a half hours round trip and includes about one hour of climbing.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    2.5 Hrs

Spend two and a half hours climbing the lower half of Squaw Valley’s iconic Tram Face!

What is it? Owned and operated by Alpenglow Expeditions, the “Tahoe Via Ferrata” is a fixed climbing route on the Tram Face in Squaw Valley, CA. A Via Ferrata, which means “Iron Road” in Italian, is a protected hiking and climbing experience. Using permanent steel anchors and cables, participants are safely attached to the rock throughout the duration of the experience. Professional guides lead participants on the routes. Each participant will have a harness, helmet, and safety lanyard provided by Alpenglow Expeditions. Participants are secured to the rock by the specialized equipment they will wear, which attaches to the steel cable.

Your adventure will entail climbing the following route:

Approach to Binky Buttress

After meeting your guide and getting outfitted for your adventure at the Alpenglow Expeditions office in The Village at Squaw Valley, guests will climb inside a 4WD van for a quick ride up the mountain to the base of the routes. This ride passes through the heart of the summertime ski area, boasting fantastic views of forests, cliffs, and creeks. After about ten minutes, it will be time to start climbing. A quick walk takes you to the steep start of the Tahoe Via Ferrata. This introductory route is called the Binky Buttress, where clients get their first taste of what via ferrata is all about. To aid adventurers up this section and others above, we’ve installed steel rungs at key locations. Once atop this first steep section, a beautiful traversing trail leads across granite ledges to the start of the main routes.

The Skyline Traverse to Great Escape

The Skyline Traverse ventures up and leftwards, towards a series of slabs and ledges. After navigating the lower slabs, guests will encounter a narrow “chimney”, where you must work your way up using your hands and feet in opposing directions, allowing you to elevate your body. Once through the chimney section, the route traverses towards the west and clients will head towards The Great Escape. The Great Escape travels down a steep slab, navigating back down to the top of The Binky Buttress where the group will descend back to the vehicle via an approach trail. Once you’ve completed your descent, you will hop back in the van for a quick ride back to the village.

 

Preparation

  • Prior Experience

    No prior experience necessary. Both routes were built to accommodate all skill and experience levels.

  • Fitness Level

    Participants should be able to go on a hike for an hour. Nearly anyone can participate!

  • What to Bring

    Participants should dress appropriately for the days weather. All climbers must wear closed-toe shoes, and bring along a small backpack with water, snacks and sunscreen.

    • Who can participate?

      The Tahoe Via Ferrata is for everyone! No prior experience is necessary and nearly all ages can participate from 10 and up. Due to the manufactures limitations, participants who weigh less than 88 lbs or more than 250 lbs must notify the office. This will not impact your ability to participate!

    • What can I compare it to?

      The Tahoe Via is like nothing most people have experienced before, unless you have been rock climbing outdoors. Imagine a beautiful hike in rocky terrain in which sometimes you use your hands to get over an obstacle. Some might compare it to the cables hike on Yosemite Valley’s Half Dome, but the difference with the Via is that participants are guided by a professional mountain guide and they are connected to the route throughout the climb.

    • What happens if I fall?

      Your lanyards, attached to the steel cable adjacent to the climbing route, will arrest the fall. The Lake Tahoe Via Ferrata is designed with a Continuous Lifeline System, ensuring each climber is attached to the safety cable 100% of the time.

    • What equipment is needed?

      All technical equipment (harness, helmet, gloves and lanyards) are provided by Alpenglow and included in the pricing. Participants are encouraged to wear clothes similar to what you would wear hiking. Light pants or shorts, and either a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt. A backpack to carry water, snacks, sunscreen and other items will also be useful. On colder weather days a jacket will come in handy. Closed toe shoes are required, and hiking shoes with sticky rubber are recommended (available for rental from Alpenglow Expeditions).

    • What time does the adventure start?

      There are morning and afternoon time slots every day of the week!

    • Do you have large group options?

      Yes! We can accommodate up to 120 people per day. Please call the office for more information: 877-873-5376

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 100 in the USA) and more than 10 summits of 8,000 meter peaks (14 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for fifteen years and has led over 100 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu, the 8th tallest mountain in the world, from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has led expeditions where more than 100 clients have successfully summited Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Alaska, and of course closer to “home” in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Petzl, Kaenon, Goal Zero, Hypoxico, Alpenglow Sports and High Altitude Fitness.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Ray Hughes

Ray’s passion for the mountains ignited while growing up in Northern California, exploring the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, followed by years honing his mountain skills in Colorado and Switzerland. The lure of bigger objectives led him to travel throughout Western Canada, Iceland, and the European Alps. Sharing experiences, culture, and beautiful places with others blurs the line between work and play.

Ray is an AMGA Certified Ski and Alpine Guide, an AIARE Avalanche Course Leader and an American Avalanche Association professional member. He is an Ambassador for Backcountry Access, as well as a snow safety consultant for professional winter sport athletes and photographers.

He was a 4 x All American in Track and Field and the 250th American to ever run the Mile under 4:00, but now enjoys being an average trail jogger.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

director of operations / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan keeps things running smoothly as the director of operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is a fully certified AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Sam Kieckhefer

Via Ferrata Manager

Born and raised in Northern California, Sam began exploring the Sierra and developed a love for the mountains at a young age. A Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows passholder for more than 20 years, Sam is excited to share his passion for Olympic Valley with clients on the new Tahoe Via Ferrata. In the summer, Sam jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn for pre-work waterskiing on Lake Tahoe and in the winter, he’s searching for fresh turns in the West Shore backcountry. Sam is always down for a new adventure, which lately has been rock climbing.

Will Sperry

After Will’s first ever outdoor rock climb in Slovenia, he was hooked and knew he wanted to pursue a profession in the Mountains. In the subsequent years he worked on honing his craft on rock and enjoyed the places and adventures climbing brought him. Will has traveled to many mountains all around the world since his first taste of climbing, but always seems to call the Sierra his favorite place on earth… so far.

Will has seen the transformative power of the mountains first hand and works to provide experiences to his clients that will challenge their comfort zone and their perception of possibility. Whether this comfort zone is going for a long hike, or spending 5 nights on the side of a mountain, the power of stepping out is undeniable and in Will’s point of view essential for a well lived life.

Will spends his summers guiding on Mt. Shasta, Tahoe, and the Sierra and when winter comes around you can find Will on his splitboard practicing shinrin-yoku in the trees and alpine zones of Lake tahoe and Japan. Will also considers himself a nerd for snow science and will be happy to explain temperature gradients and avalanche problem types to those ready to learn.

Will is currently pursuing his IFMGA certification and is an Apprentice Rock Guide and will be an Apprentice Ski Guide January 2019.

Scott Matthews

Scott, originally from the land of Oz came to the U.S after stints of skiing and climbing throughout Europe, New Zealand and Japan seeking the original mountain man lifestyle and fell in love with Squaw Valley at first sight.

Scott has been a pro patroller at Squaw Valley & Falls Creek (Victoria, Australia) for 10 years. He is a certified avalanche control route leader, assistant patrol dog handler, California licensed blaster, an AMGA SPI and an AIARE Instructor.

After 10 years of seeking out continuous winters he decided to get back in the climbing game and has been enjoying the sun on his back all summer while showing guests his love of Squaw and the Tram Face.

When not enjoying everything Squaw has to offer you can find him on the golf course or a skin track with his wife Hannah and their fur baby, a rescue German Shepherd named Dingo.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid 90’s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started leaning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has recently spent the last 8 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine and skiing as well as becoming an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, an AMGA certified ski guide and AIARE level 1 course leader. He lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele and sweet daughter Manu. 

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Braden Mayfield

Braden was born in Yosemite Valley and raised by a community of “rock stars,” including his father the Chief Guide of the Yosemite Mountaineering School in the ’80’s. His first toys were carabiners and he began climbing rocks before he could walk.

He retired from competitive sport climbing at age 11 to pursue a skateboarding career. Quickly frustrated by a lack of smooth concrete in the valley, he returned to his roots in traditional climbing and summited most all of Yosemite’s large formations (including a handful of El Cap ascents) before his teenage years were over. Also developed a passion for rigging and walking slacklines between high peaks in the Sierra.

As an adult, Braden has put his rope skills to work as an entertainment rigger, spending the past 15 years installing complex systems to fly cameras and aerial performers/ stuntmen for movies, television and live performances.  Holds multiple Emmy awards for his contributions.

Between jobs he has travelled the world in search of unique experiences on and off the rock (mostly on.) He has built himself a house on a limestone island in Thailand. Spent many summers living in a camper-van traveling crag to crag in Europe, including Czech sandstone towers, big walls in the Dolomites, and the sea cliffs of Mallorca.

He has recently settled in the Truckee area with his Spanish wife and their two young children.

Braden’s true passions are: connecting with nature, moving over stone, and sharing these experiences with others.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Dave Nettle

Dave’s love for outdoor challenge, adventure and fun began early on by surviving his youth growing up in the Pacific Northwest climbing trees, running around the woods shooting BB guns and learning to “Be Prepared” the hard way on numerous Boy Scout backpacking trips into the rainy heart of the North Cascades.

In 1972 he started his lifelong pursuit and joy of rock climbing with his very first climb deep in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, which remains his favorite mountain range to share and enjoy.

In 1975, at age 17, he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo from Mexico to Canada and the following year hiked the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico, sealing his passion  for grand adventure and the desire to accomplish what he sets out to do.

His underlying philosophy of living life fully and approaching the world of adventure travel and alpinism with “confident uncertainty” has led him to the mountain ranges of the world where his climbing accomplishments are just a part of what he values: at the heart and soul of it all is the experience of interacting with and learning from the people, places and cultures along the way and sharing the challenge and beauty of wilderness with friends.

In addition to five decades of rock and alpine climbing which have included new routes and significant ascents throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Dave is an accomplished ski mountaineer who hangs up his climbing shoes each winter in favor of backcountry alpine ski touring and hut to hut tours in the European Alps.

Dave brings 15 years of technical Rope Access and Rescue Training experience to the team. He has helped pioneer the use of Rope Access methods in place of traditional techniques to improve the safety and efficiency of ski lift, gondola, high angle and crevasse rescue procedures.  He is a certified level 3 SPRAT and IRATA supervisor and evaluator.

His blend of outdoor skills, professionalism and sense of humor make for memorable trips, not to mention epic slide show presentations which he loves to share with others.  Dave is the founder of a free community slideshow event in the Tahoe area that has been ongoing for over 25 years and continues to inform, entertain and inspire everyone to seek out and accomplish their dreams and goals. You can learn more about the Alpenglow Winter Film Series here.

Guide Certifications
  • IRATA

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is a fully certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

TAILER SPINNEY

Tailer is a young aspiring mountain guide, with her focus on becoming one of the first few certified female splitboard guides. Tailer started as an intern with Alpenglow Expeditions during the 2017-18 winter and is on the path of AMGA education. She has “tailed” many groups with the Alpenglow team, and also helped out around various aspects of the business. During spring and early summer, she guides on Mount Shasta, teaching clients mountaineering skills. She loves sharing the outdoors with others through snow sports as well as rock climbing. Nothing charges up her spirit more than showing people how much fun you can have in the mountains; all while maintaining safety and incorporating leave no trace ethics.

Jules Hanna

If you are looking for a split boarding mountain guide, Jules is your man. He has been guiding for 10 years and spends his winters in Tahoe and summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

He is one of only a few splitboarders who has become certified with the AMGA as a ski guide. Whether it’s a ski day or time to board, Jules enjoys the rewards that the backcountry experience provides. He is an AIARE 1 course leader and has logged many adventures in mountains up and down the west coast learning about the avalanche phenomena. Jules is also an Ambassador Guide for Jones Snowboards.

In addition to guiding, Jules has worked as a climbing ranger at Mt Rainer and a mountaineer for the US Antarctic Program and has many stories to tell from his time on Search and Rescue in those locales.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Pete Fasoldt

Pete Fasoldt is a certified AMGA Rock Guide who is thrilled to call Donner Summit his “home crag”. Originally hailing from Maine, Pete has worked as a ski patroller, as the owner of a rock guiding outfit in Acadia National Park, and as a first mate on sail boats, traveling thousands of offshore miles, including a recent attempt at transiting the famed Northwest Passage. Pete has completed several ascents of El Capitan, including a one-day solo. He has established first ascents in several countries across the globe and has a particular love of hard to reach alpine granite objectives. In 2004 and 2006 Pete became certified as a Wilderness First Responder and an Outdoor Emergency Care technician, respectively. Pete has guided people of all different climbing abilities, all over the country, and brings patience, humor, and a deep love of the sport to each course he leads.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Glen Poulsen

A member of Squaw Valley’s pioneering founding family, Glen first ventured into the side and backcountry terrain surrounding Squaw Valley at the age of ten and has never looked back.  His forays into more remote parts of the Sierra Nevada led to numerous first descents and pioneering ski traverses throughout the range. After exploring mountains from Antarctica to the North Pole, Greenland and Spitsbergen,  Africa,  to the Andes , The Alps to Scandinavia,  Russia and China, The Himalaya, Central Asia and Oceania, Glen always returns with a greater appreciation for his home in  the “Range of Light”.  Whether its descents on skis or climbing alpine rock Glen has an intimate knowledge of the entire range. Whether its a local side country jaunt, a Sierra East side adventure, a hut tour in the alps or exploring new first descents in Greenland or Antarctica, Africa or the Andes, he can take you there. Glen has been trained by the American Mountain Guides Association and by the Canadian Ski Guide Association as a ski guide and ski mountaineering guide. He has an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche and Nols Wilderness First Responder certifications and has been an active Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team member.

Nolan Van Herk

Nolan embodies the spirit, history, and progression of climbing, crimping and jamming his way through over a decade of experience on the rocks. Whether he’s scaling Sierra spires, wiggling up walls or cramming his crack-addicted (and never taped) hands into Tahoe splitters, Nolan’s enthusiasm and knowledge is contagious. Cutting his teeth on the rough granite monzonite of Joshua Tree and the polished proving grounds of Tahquitz, Nolan’s climbing developed amidst the proud ethics and traditions established by the Stonemasters. Ascents of the Rainbow Wall in Red Rock, Sierra gems such as Bastille Buttress, the Incredible Hulk, and Mt. Whitney as well as numerous Needles classics solidify Nolan’s traditional climbing resume and hint at his passion for big adventure. Nolan’s love for the mountains and appreciation for wild places cannot be contained solely by climbing; his backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering resume includes a descent from the third highest mountain in North America, Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, as well as numerous corn-cruising missions on Mt. Shasta. Nolan is no stranger to those huge, soul-feeding days in the alpine and enjoys sharing outdoor experiences large and small with those around him. Nolan currently holds the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder certification.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Sean Kristl

Director of Sales & Marketing

Starting at a young age, Sean has always had a desire to share the thrill of adventure with friends and family. Starting in the mid 2000’s Sean had a short but fun filled guiding career based in San Francisco, California where he led clients up to the high alpine areas of Tuolumne Meadows for weekend long backpacking excursions. If you ever get the chance, ask him about the time he was hired to search for pirate treasure on Bunny Wailer’s property in Jamaica. True story.

More recently he spent 7 years working at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. First as a ticket sales employee skiing every day, before moving up the ranks and working in the marketing department for 5 years. Sean brings his knowledge of outdoor industry marketing as well as his easy going personality to the world of sales.

In November of 2017 he was able to join an Alpenglow Rapid Ascent team that climbed Cotopaxi in Ecuador. This was his first summit above 14,000′ and even his first time in crampons! Give him a call sometime, he’d love to hear from you.

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