New Via Ferrata Assisted Climbing Adventure
Starting in summer 2017, you can experience the amazing beauty of the Jackson, Wyo., area on the new Via Ferrata at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Accompanied by a guide, you’ll secure yourself with cables and move across a mountain face by way of metal ladders, rope walkways and ledges. Going on the Via Ferrata (which translates as “iron road” in Italian) is a rare opportunity for visitors of all abilities, says David Johnson, profit center coordinator for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
“We’ve got a plethora of granite here in the Teton range that is pretty notorious for climbing and it’s a bit different than a lot of the climbing elsewhere in the United States,” says Johnson.
But, he adds, the Via Ferrata is a great way for visitors to experience the breathtaking views of the area without having to be a climber.
What is the Via Ferrata?
After a one-hour practice route, you’ll be ready for the rest of the Via Ferrata. Visitors can choose between a full-day climb (5 hours) with lunch included or a partial-day climbs (3 hours), which allows visitors do some of the ferrata routes without the lunch.
And the best news? The Via Ferrata is easily accessible. You'll take a gondola ride to the top of Bridger Gondola and then it’s a short hike to the Via Ferrata. You'll discover the stunning terrain for which the Tetons are known. But the Via Ferrata offers an entirely new experience.
“We will have suspended bridges, the classic iron cables and the rungs but it’ll be a different experience being high above the valley of Jackson Hole,” says Johnson.
Plus, you'll get a bit of a workout, hauling yourself up tiny ladders and inching across rope bridges, while being safe-and-sound using carabiners and ropes. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with excellent views into the Grand Teton National Forest.
While you'll probably spot rock climbers and mountaineers while in the Jackson area, it isn’t just the pros who get to have all of the fun up high, thanks to the Via Ferrata. If you're visiting the Jackson Hole area, it's a fantastic way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Other Via Ferratas: National and International
Unlike the expert climbing routes, the Via Ferrata makes mountain climbing accessible for families, groups and individuals looking for adventure. In the past, ferratas have typically been an experience pursued in Europe among the mountains in Italy (Dolomites), Switzerland and Austria.
“(Ferratas) are pretty sparse in America,” says Johnson. “There are less than a dozen.”
The first via ferrata built in the United States was in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Circleville, West Va., followed suit, then Mount Ogden, Utah, Telluride, Colo., and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village., Wyo.
There are only a few companies in the U.S. that actually make via ferratas, seeing how hard it is to get up to these spots to put in the work.
“Adventure Partners are the ones who built it,” says Johnson. “They’ve done a number of [projects] in Utah and Colorado.”
More info: www.jacksonhole.com/via-ferrata.html
Jackson Hole Aerial Tram
All members of the family will love the famous, 100-passenger Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, which goes from Teton Village at 6,311 feet to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain at 10,450 feet.
This unforgettable journey whisks visitors an amazing 4,139 vertical feet for unbeatable views of the Tetons and surrounding Grand Teton National Park below. Passengers soar over diverse forests and often catch a glimpse of local wildlife, including bears, moose, eagles, mule deer, and more. The summit provides various trails that allow hikers to explore Rendezvous Mountain and join the 39-mile Teton Crest Trail that leads into Grand Teton National Park.
The tram is a year round outpost with incredible skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
In the summer, try out the Marion Lake trail, a 12.5 mile round-trip hike that starts with a tram ride to Rendezvous Mountain, hiking higher into the mountains from there. Hikers and visitors can also enjoy mouthwatering waffles with Nutella, sugar and/or bacon at “Corbet’s Cabin” at the top of the aerial tram, 10,450ft in elevation.
For those looking for more of an adrenaline rush, tandem paragliding flights launch from the tram summit and give riders sweeping valley views, as well as the largest vertical drop in America.
The base for the tram in Teton Village is the gateway to the adventure park, and offers fun family activities, world-class restaurants, and hotels. Riding the Aerial Tram is a must-do for any Grand Teton National Park visitor, and is the ultimate way to experience the grandeur of the mountains.
The resort's aerial adventure course is a network of zip lines, balance beams, cargo nets and other challenges - all suspended 25 feet above the ground. The course offers a range of features with varying levels of difficulty to allow you to stretch your limits, both physically and mentally, while harnessed up and safely on belay. No experience necessary, the Aerial Adventure Course is great for kids and adults alike.
For more information:
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Alex Teufel is a writer for National Park Trips Media who studied Journalism at University of Colorado Boulder. He is an avid snowboarder and lover of the outdoors.