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Via Ferrata, Telluride

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

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Via Ferrata, Telluride

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  • The Via Ferrata spans roughly 2 miles.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • The eastern access point to the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • The eastern access point to the Via Ferrata is found via a brief ascent alongside Ingram Creek.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • The view from the Via Ferrata toward Telluride.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Views from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Views from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Views from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Views from the Via Ferrata toward Bridal Veil Falls.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Bolted wiring along the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • The Via Ferrata's eastern end.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Bolted wiring and stemples along the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Bolted wiring along the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Views from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Telluride in the distance from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Bridal Veil Falls from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Telluride from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Much of the Via Ferrata traverses a narrow path cut along a cliff face.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Narrow portions of the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • The Main Event and Bridal Veil Falls from the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Bolted wiring along the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • Edging along the Main Event on the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • A stemple along the Via Ferrata.- Via Ferrata, Telluride
  • - Via Ferrata, Telluride
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Thrilling climb. Big views. Easy access. Close to town.
Cons: 
Busy.
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Region:
San Juan Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Recommended Equipment:
Harness / rope / anchors, Additional ice tools, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade IV
Net Elevation Gain: 
-1,198.00 ft (-365.15 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.96 mi (4.76 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,072.00 ft (3,069.95 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Italian for “iron way,” the via ferrata is an aided climbing route consisting of a cable and stemples or footpegs. Originating in the Alps during World War I, the via ferrata makes few appearances in the American outdoors, with a few notable exceptions. The Via Ferrata in Telluride is one of them, and a classic.

Spanning roughly 2 miles of the northern face of the box canyon above Telluride, the Via Ferrata is an accessible and thrilling climb with incredible views of Ingram Peak, Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, and the valley floor. Significant portions of the route are less of a climb and more of a hike, but most of this skirts a narrow trail at the edge of a cliff, and thrill-seekers will find their blood pumping a little faster while navigating sections of trail no wider than a couple of feet. Not enough? Traversing several hundred feet, the so-called “Main Event” shuffles along a bolted cable and stemples thousands of feet above the canyon floor.

Traversing the Via Ferrata requires a harness, slings, and a helmet, but without a belay, it’s a somewhat unique climbing experience. Sport climbers who have cleaned fixed anchors will understand what it’s like to be off-belay a few hundred feet off the ground affixed to the wall by a personal and protection and that’s it. The Main Event creates a similar effect when climbers pause their shuffling to lean back on their slings and look down.

The Via Ferrata is well protected throughout its course. Be prepared to plan around the weather, which typically brings rain in the afternoon. Also be prepared for crowds, as the Via Ferrata is no longer the underground secret of yore. Most importantly, note that the Via Ferrata can be approached from the west or the east. Congestion at the Main Event will force one party to yield the right of way, so check for other climbers before this section to avoid jams. During the high season when the route is busy, use an east-to-west route. 

Those with four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles can park right at the eastern access point, but note that parking is limited to fewer than five vehicles.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(32 within a 30 mile radius)

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