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A group cheers at the top of the Tahoe Via Ferrata

The Tahoe Via Ferrata is Alpenglow Expeditions’ newest outdoor adventure. Tahoe’s Via Ferrata is located on the iconic Tram Face and serves as an epic Squaw Valley summer activity. The name Via Ferrata comes from Italian, meaning “Iron Road” and represents the path of permanent steel anchors and cables along a protected climbing route.


Origins in WWI

Via Ferrata originated in twentieth century Europe and were originally developed to transport soldiers over vast mountain ranges during war. After the wars, the cables and ladder rungs were still left installed in the rock and people began climbing on them for sport. Eventually, they began to encourage tourism and developed into a fun, outdoor activity. Europe has been known for having Via Ferratas all throughout the continent, but the concept didn’t move to the United States until years later.


A New Concept in Recreation

Via Ferratas are a new concept to most Americans, which makes it hard to understand what it really is, or how to say it. Since the Tahoe Via Ferrata is so new to Squaw Valley and the United States, the name and pronunciation is still a bit unknown. Over our first year of operations, our team here at Alpenglow Expeditions have heard plenty of blunders and different interpretations of the “Via Ferrata”.


Via Ferrata: /ˌviːə fəˈrɑːtə/

With so many clients unsure of how to pronounce the Via Ferrata, we figured we would expose the misinterpretations that we have heard all summer. Even better, we are ranking our top five most used blunders. So, if you have pronounced it wrong, just know you are not alone!



1.    Via Frittata
Nope, the Tahoe via has nothing to do with delicious eggy breakfasts, BUT this number 1 blunder has us thinking of some REALLY fun ideas. Anyone want to come out for a sunrise via climb and eat a “via frittata” on top of Tram Face!? I know whenever I hear this one, I get a little hungry!


2.    Grand Ferrata
The Via Ferrata sure is grand, but also not the same thing! If we break it down, that name ends up being pretty silly. Ferrata means “iron” in Italian so saying this basically just means grand iron! Now what the heck is a grand iron? I don’t know what it has to do with the Via Ferrata, but being associated with grandness is never a bad thing.


3.    Via…Um?
Now the first time I saw the word Via Ferrata, I didn’t even want to TRY and pronounce it. This is the one of the ways our clients deal with not knowing how to go about pronouncing an Italian word, they just don’t say it! However, don’t worry guys we still know what you’re talking about. We’ll even jump in and say it for you if need be!


4.    The Rock Climbing Thing
Now, this may be the most confusing one for us in the office. Yes, the Via Ferrata is an awesome way to get the exposure of climbing, without the inherent risk. However, Alpenglow Expeditions also conducts several other climbing excursions around Lake Tahoe. Alpenglow Expeditions takes people to climb in Donner, Lover’s Leap, and the Via Ferrata. We do anything from introduction to rock climbing to learning to multi-pitch and trad climb. So, it’s best to be specific! Either way, we will be able to get you climbing whatever you desire.


5.    Verfrata
Sometimes people just like to mash it all up into one word. Maybe they heard the word in a coffee shop and forgot how to pronounce it. Maybe they’ve just never seen the word written down. But, that’s OKAY. We’re here for you. It’s definitely not something you hear every day, which is why we have professionally trained guides to help YOU say it correctly and sound like a well-equipped climber.


Even if you can’t pronounce it, we’re sure you can climb the Via Ferrata. Tahoe’s Via is family friendly and welcomes people of all skill levels and ages. We encourage you to come climb with us and learn the proper way to pronounce the Via Ferrata.


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Alpenglow Expeditions' guide Dave Nettle climbing the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

Private 2-Hour Tour

A female climber on the Tahoe Via Ferrata overlooking Palisades Tahoe and Olympic Valley, CA. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

2-Hour Tour

Two climbers on the Tahoe Via Ferrata waving to the camera during sunrise. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

Private 3-Hour Tour

A couple climbing the Tahoe Via Ferrata underneath the Tram at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

3-Hour Tour

Adrian Ballinger on a suspension bridge on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

Private 4-Hour Tour

A group of climbers crossing a monkey bridge on the Tahoe Via Ferrata at Palisades Tahoe in Olympic Valley. One of the best Lake Tahoe adventures!

4-Hour Tour