The Tahoe Via Ferrata is owned and operated by Alpenglow Expeditions.

What activity combines all the best parts of climbing, hiking, and scrambling? PLUS allows you to ascend an 800-foot vertical cliff AND doesn’t require any specialized climbing skills? Enter Palisades Tahoe’s most exciting outdoor activity, the Tahoe Via Ferrata!  On the Via, participants can explore the previously inaccessible terrain of Tram Face, high above Olympic Valley’s floor. 


squaw valley, family activity, climbing, summit


How does it work?

Think of Tahoe Via Ferrata as an assisted climbing activity. It transforms once 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 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 options?

Choose a 2-hour, 3 hour or a 4-hour tour. There are options to climb in your own private group of 1-6 people or join an open-enrollment group, and we’ll build a group of 6 people for you. If you have a group of 13+, check out our group options HERE. 


2-Hour Tour

The 2-Hour tour is a great place to start for younger kids and those that are unsure of their comfort with heights. It will usually climb the “Great Escape” route, which combines parts of the “Loophole” and “Skyline Traverse” to create a loop that goes about 1/3 of the way up the Tram Face, and back to the pickup point.

It includes a small cable bridge, short sections of vertical climbing, and fun traverses-  all in about an hour of climbing. The trip is  2 hours total with gear-up, safety briefing, and drives up and down the mountain in “The Beast”.


3-Hour Tour

The 3-Hour Tour will typically climb the “Loophole” route, which is an engaging loop that climbs about 2/3 of the way up the Tram Face to the incredible Olympic Valley Overlook, and then back down to the pickup point. Some favorites on the “Loophole” include fun moves up a deep groove in the rock, steep climbing on the approach to the “ski tree”, and exposed traverses with great photo opportunites.

The 3-hour tour contains about 2 hours of climbing, and an hour to gear up, go over safety, and drive up and down from Olympic Village.

4-Hour Tour

The 4-Hour Tour will typically climb either the “Sundial Arête” or the “Skyline Traverse” to the top of the Tram Face- finishing at Tram Tower 1 and completing a short hike along the ridge and back down the the road for pick-up.

The “Sundial Arête” weaves in and out of granite towers, and gives perfect opportunities to wave hello to the Palisades Tahoe Tram as it passes overhead. Scrambling and steep climbing leads to the “Island in the Sky”, a rocky bluff with beautiful views of the valley.

The “Skyline Traverse” ventures up a series of slabs and ledges, followed by a narrow chimney and playful climbing on exposed ladders rungs. Two cable bridges are crossed on this route, the “Monkey in the Middle” and 50ft long  “Super Monkey Bridge,” and the route also finishes at the “Island in the Sky.”

The 4 hours includes about 2.5 hours of climbing, a half hour of scenic hiking, and 1 hour of gearing up, driving up & down, and briefing on safety.

For more detailed descriptions of each route, visit our ROUTES PAGE!


looking down on the tahoe Via Ferrata in Squaw Valley

Who can climb the Tahoe Via?

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 10 years old and 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, we can often make accommodations for climbers in private groups.


VIA Ferrata Guides

Each group (private and open enrollment), is led by a professional 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. (link Read more about our guide team.)  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 Lead 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.)