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About The Tahoe Via Ferrata

Adrian Ballinger on a suspension bridge on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!
olympic valley, california • 7,500 FT

Via Ferrata may be new to Tahoe, but its origins are actually quite old! Via Ferrata, Italian for “iron way,” originated during the first and second World Wars. In order to aid troops in crossing the high peaks and passes of the Alps, the rock was retrofitted with steel ladder rungs and cables. The steel “aids” made the challenging terrain accessible to soldiers with no prior climbing experience. After the wars, nobody bothered to remove the leftover hardware from the rock and eventually recreationists began climbing the old routes for fun. Just like that, a new sport was born!

No experience required
No prior climbing experience necessary. All routes were built to accommodate all skill levels and abilities.
Recommended fitness level
Participants on the Tahoe Via Ferrata should be prepared for the same exertion level as hiking for a couple of hours. Nearly anyone can participate in this activity.
height & weight requirements
The Tahoe Via Ferrata is for everyone (as long as they are taller than 3’11”)! Due to the manufacturer’s limitations, participants who weigh less than 88 lbs or more than 250 lbs must be booked in a private group. The guide will add a second rope to the participant that is outside the weight limitations in the steeper, more vertical sections. This will not impact your ability to participate!

How Do Via Ferratas Work?

Think of Tahoe Via Ferrata as an assisted climbing activity. It transforms complex and impassable terrain into a fun and accessible course. We’ve equipped the rock with ladder rungs, steel steps, and suspension bridges to allow climbers to move through challenging terrain. Each Via Ferrata route also has a steel cable anchored into the rock which runs up the entire route from start to finish. Each participant is issued a harness with a specialized lanyard that attaches to the cable. This system achieves two goals. First of all, it ensures that participants are connected to the rock 100% of the time. Secondly, it makes climbing a big cliff accessible to people with no prior climbing experience.

A young girl climbing the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!
A group of climbers on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe during sunrise. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

What are the Via Ferrata routes?

Choose a 2-hour, 3-hour or a 4-hour tour on the Tahoe Via Ferrata. Depending on the comfort level and ability of your group, the 2-hour tours usually climb “The Great Escape” route. The 3-hour typically climbs “The Loophole”, and  the 4-hour tour is typically enough time to attempt the “Skyline” or “Sundial” routes to the summit of Tram Face. Learn more about the routes here.

There are options to climb in your own private group, or join an open-enrollment tour and we’ll build a group for you. If you have a group of 13+, check out our group options HERE. If you are interested in a full day excursion or adding on rock climbing at Donner Summit, please contact the office.


The Tahoe Via Ferrata is appropriate for all skill levels from first-time climbers to experienced alpinists. We welcome families, groups, and individuals. Although the experience doesn’t require specialized mountaineering skills, it’s important to have general physical fitness before joining us for a climb. You should be able to hike continuously for one or more hours, depending on the length of your climbing session.

PLEASE NOTE: due to safety requirements, climbers must be at least 3’11” to climb. Our safety equipment is rated for climbers 88lbs to 264lbs. Please check with the office if you or someone in your group is outside the requirements. Climbers can still climb if they meet the height minimum, but must be in a private group if they are under 88 lbs.

A female guide pointing at footholds while guiding a group of children on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!
Alpenglow Expeditions' Chief guide, Logan Talbott, talking to two kids while leading a Via Ferrata tour on the Tahoe Via in Lake Tahoe, CA. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

WHO IS MY Via Ferrata GUIDE?

Each group (private and open enrollment), is led by a professional rock guide. Your guide will teach you how to use the specialized lanyard system, show you the way, and assist you through any challenging sections of the route. All Via Ferrata guides have completed professional training through the American Mountain Guide Association, and have attended extensive in-house training led by Alpenglow Expeditions Chief Guide Logan Talbott, AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide. Alpenglow Expeditions was built around the importance of professional training and certification. (Please note, there is no independent climbing allowed on the Tahoe Via Ferrata.)


The Tahoe Via Ferrata is owned and operated by Alpenglow Expeditions, a professional mountain guiding service that leads expeditions both in Lake Tahoe and around the world. Since Alpenglow’s founding in 2004 by professional mountain guide Adrian Ballinger, the company has expanded into disciplines including mountaineering, skiing, ski mountaineering, rock climbing and now via ferrata.

Today, Alpenglow operates over 30 international expeditions and hundreds of domestic programs each year. On every trip, no matter how big or small, Alpenglow is committed to providing a unique experience for each client who desires to explore mountains across the world. Explore our website or call 877-873-5376 for more information.


Alpenglow Expeditions
Guide Isaac Laredo guiding a group on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!