A new high-alpine thrill is coming to Colorado this month.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is set to debut its main attraction in a new suite of summer activities: a via ferrata that the Summit County destination claims is the highest in North America. The via ferrata, translating to “iron way,” rises above 12,900 feet on the East Wall, the granite landmark lending to A-Basin’s reputation as “The Legend.”

As at other routes that have emerged across the state in recent years — the Royal Gorge and Ouray’s box canyon are among newer sites — visitors will be harnessed and clipped into a cable along the iron hand- and foot-holds.

“This will be a dramatic and very challenging type of visit to A-Basin,” the ski area’s CEO, Alan Henceroth, wrote in his blog during construction last year. “Not for the faint of heart, there is a certain kind of person that is totally going to love this.”

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Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's new via ferrata is set to open later this month. (Photo credit Ian Zinner, Arapahoe Basin)

The person will have to pay up. Half-day guided trips will cost $175 per person, while full-day tours are priced at $225 per person.

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Starting June 25, three half-day and two full-day journeys are slated to take off every morning through Sept. 6. Guests will ride a chairlift to 11,500 feet, where they’ll take another shuttle to a gear demonstration area. From there, they’ll hike about a half-mile to the start of the ascent.

Over an estimated four hours, the half-day trip includes 900 feet of climbing to a historic mine shaft, while the full-day trip is listed as two hours longer and 300 feet higher toward the 13,000-foot summit. Due to chances of afternoon storms, destinations are not guaranteed. Refunds will be given based on the length of the tour, according to A-Basin’s website.

A-Basin has stated its aim to “provide a gateway to the mountain climbing experience.” The level of protection and convenience of iron rungs are different, but the vertical rock and exposure offer thrills similar to the classic sport.

The via ferrata highlights what will be A-Basin’s first summer of daily operations. The ski area has also expanded its ropes course and hiking and mountain biking trails.

For more information and to make a reservation, go to arapahoebasin.com.

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