Spend a half-day climbing the iconic Tram Face at Squaw Valley Resort!
What is it? Owned and operated by Alpenglow Expeditions, the “Lake Tahoe Via Ferrata” is located on the Tram Face in Squaw Valley, CA. A Via Ferrata, which means “Iron Road” in Italian, is a protected hiking and climbing experience. Our adventures scale the iconic rock face that towers above the base village of Squaw Valley Ski Resort. 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 different 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 half-day adventure will entail climbing one of two routes:
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 aboard a 4WD truck 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 Sundial Arête
Perched high up on the mountain, the start of The Sundial Arête climbs up through steepening terrain, slowly gaining exposure. After a short, steep section, the route weaves back and forth among granite towers along a sensational ridge. The exposure is increasingly thrilling as you progress up the route. Climbers will get to see people inside the Squaw Valley Tram, which passes by on the right hand side. Nearing the top of the Tram Face, guests will find themselves once again scrambling along a wild, narrow ridge. To top off the climb, you must cross a final airy span, which ends on a tiny cliff dubbed the “Island in the Sky”.
The Skyline Traverse
Starting next to The Sundial Arête, 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 travels across a section of vivid pink granite, around a corner, and to the edge of a large precipice. Here you must cross the 50’ “Monkey Bridge”, using only a cable for your feet and a cable for your hands. This is sure to be the highlight of your day! After crossing, the route takes on a different vibe. Winding up a steep wall, you will find yourself on an exposed, narrow ridge that meanders all the way to the top of Tram Face. The route joins The Sundial Arête at a final airy span, which ends on a tiny cliff dubbed the “Island in the Sky”.
Final Ridge/ Descent
From the Island in the Sky, you will work your way across the towering “Gendarmes” that guard the route to the finish. This ridge traverse brings you across the upper reaches of “Tram Chute”. Soon you will arrive at the conclusion of the Via Ferrata climbing, directly beneath Tram Tower 1. From here, you will travel along the ridge on a wide path, offering stunning views of both Shirley Canyon to the north as well as KT-22 and other peaks to the south. This descent brings you back down close to where you started. Once you’ve completed your descent, you will hop back in the truck for a quick ride back to the village.