Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Thrilling via ferrata coming soon to Colorado Springs

By: Spencer McKee, OutThere Colorado
April 22, 2018 Updated: April 23, 2018 at 7:49 am
0
photo - Via ferrata routes often use a special harness system that has two clips, ensuring that a climber is always attached to something. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin, OutThere Colorado.
Via ferrata routes often use a special harness system that has two clips, ensuring that a climber is always attached to something. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin, OutThere Colorado. 

With one hand grasped tight around a metal rung, I leaned back, allowing my full weight to pull against the redundant cable attaching my body to the side of a cliff. Glancing down at my feet, I could see the ground beneath my foothold, a scatter of scree approximately 30 feet below. There was no belay-system attaching my harness to a higher point and there was no life-saving crash pad for me to land on in the event of a fall. I relied on my harness’ connection to a waist-height safety line – and that was it.

“Think of it like an Intro to Rock Climbing, but it’s something someone at any skill level can enjoy.” said Alex Hesler, one of the people responsible for the installation of Colorado’s newest adventure-travel attraction – a via ferrata at the Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs.

The Italian term for “iron path,” a “via ferrata” typically consists of metal rungs across a sheer rock face, allowing for a trail-like experience where steep terrain would otherwise make building a protected route impossible.

A via ferrata uses a harness that utilizes two safety clips to ensure that one clip is always connected. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin, OutThere Colorado. 

By using a harness system with multiple clip-in carabiners, participants on a via ferrata are able to traverse difficult climbing grades safely, utilizing man-made footholds and handholds to fill in gaps that would otherwise require technical climbing experience. While it’s an artificial route, a via ferrata often maintains a natural feel, rugged and exposed – sure to appeal to the adventurous soul.

Upon completion, the Via Ferrata at Cave of the Winds will be roughly a half-mile long, consisting of metal rungs and rock grabs that lead participants across an exposed rock face above a canyon. The route consists of a traverse, as well as a vertical stretch that means climbing an overhang. While the constructed nature of the experience standardizes the route, several technical spots allow for creativity for those with climbing experience under their belt.

Other features of the “via ferrata experience” will include a balance beam crossing point and a cargo net bridge suspended over open air – and that’s not all. This via ferrata is especially unique because it ends with two ziplines that lead participants back to the starting point – one that’s approximately 400 feet and another that’s estimated at 1,000 feet.

This photo shows the metal rungs typically used on via ferrata routes, allowing a safe step almost anywhere on a rock face. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin, OutThere Colorado. 

Why the interest in adding a via ferrata to Cave of the Winds’ already action-packed line-up of attractions? Multiple factors went into the decision, from the budding interest in this type of route among American outdoor recreation enthusiasts to the fact that this type of attraction has a very low environmental footprint. Consisting of small metal holds attached to rock, routes like this tend to go unnoticed to the untrained eye, requiring no motors or fuel source to operate. As far as attractions go at the typical adventure park, a via ferrata is one of the least intrusive to the landscape.

The age limit for participation at the Cave of the Winds’ via ferrata will likely be set at 12 and up, with groups as large as eight at a time (accompanied by two guides) able to tackle the route. Pricing is estimated to land at $85 per trip, which includes a climb up the via ferrata and the trip down two high-flying ziplines. While the construction is still underway, the crew is aiming to have the attraction open around Memorial Day weekend or shortly after. Other features may include a quick drop tower at the end, as well as a food truck and an outfitting center.

The current Cave of the Winds line-up includes the famous Terror-Dactyl canyon swing, a high ropes course, and of course, cave tours – among other things. 

Read this at OutThereColorado.com.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.