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!
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.
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.
WHO CAN CLIMB THE TAHOE VIA FERRATA?
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.
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.)
ABOUT ALPENGLOW EXPEDITIONS
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.