6 Things You Should Know About Colorado’s Newest Via Ferrata
AVA Rafting & Zipline's newest via ferrata, the Granite Via Ferrata in Buena Vista, Colorado. Photo courtesy of AVA Rafting & Zipline.
If hanging off the edges of cliffs, crossing suspension bridges, climbing crags, and zip-lining sounds to you like an awesome way to spend a morning, then you should head to Buena Vista to check out Colorado’s newest heart-pumping adventure, AVA Rafting and Zipline’s Granite Via Ferrata. Situated at the base of the Collegiate Peaks, this adventure will undoubtedly leave you with an adrenaline rush, a sense of accomplishment, and memories of some amazing views.
1. What is a Via Ferrata?
The term “via ferrata” is Italian for “iron road”. Via Ferratas were first used during World War I to scale rock faces as an alternative to traditional climbing. AVA’s via ferratas integrate man-made structures into the natural environment so that instead of feeling like you’re climbing on a jungle gym, you’re actually scaling cliff faces and routes. If this sounds intense, it’s meant to because the specialized construction is designed to give climbers an extreme mountaineering experience. AVA’s professionally trained guides, however, differentiate AVA Via Ferratas from other routes around the United States. The guides facilitate the whole via ferrata experience by helping climbers learn how to use the safety equipment, including harnesses and helmets, providing instruction for the proper technique for clipping in and out of the thick wires that run the length of the route, and guiding the traverse of the route’s many features.
2. Colorado’s newest Via Ferrata is situated at the base of the Collegiate Peaks.
AVA Rafting & Zipline’s newest via ferrata, the Granite Via Ferrata, is located in Buena Vista, Colorado. The Arkansas River Valley, home to Buena Vista and ringed by the mighty 14,000-foot Collegiate Peaks, is typically known for its whitewater rafting and stunning scenery. You’ll find this new via ferrata adventure beneath the summits of the Collegiates and at the end of two ziplines that will take you to a course that runs high above the Arkansas River Valley.
AVA will start taking guided trips out on their newest heart-pumping adventure beginning on June 14, 2018.
3. This via ferrata takes climbing to the next level.
Traditionally, via ferratas are a combination of hiking along ridges and traversing cliffsides along iron rungs mounted into the cliffs. AVA Rafting & Zipline, however, brings their via ferrata experience to the next level. What starts with two ziplines soon turns into suspension bridges, crag climbs, rappels, and a 65-foot free fall. There’s a reason that AVA calls this their ‘edgiest’ excursion. This three-hour adventure is physically demanding, so climbers should be ready to exert themselves throughout the guided trip.
4. Get ready for a 65-foot free fall.
This is exactly what it sounds like. But don’t worry, you are clipped into a harness, you are wearing a helmet, and you are still on a guided trip! For the free fall, you’ll walk out on to a bridge, and once you reach the edge, you’ll leap into the air, falling while your auto-belay catches you on the way down. The adrenaline rush is incomparable.
5. Plan for a half-day excursion.
The via ferrata guided trip is three hours in length, so it’s the perfect way to spend a half-day adventuring in the outdoors. If you’re looking for even more adventure, you can combine your via ferrata excursion with a rafting trip down the Arkansas River. The Arkansas River is one of North America’s premier whitewater rafting destinations, so you can choose from mild and scenic river floats, or you can choose to have a full day of adrenaline rushes by heading out on some of the most raucous commercially-rafted whitewater in the country.
6. The via ferrata is an awesome experience for families with teenagers.
The minimum age for the Granite Via Ferrata is 12 years old, so if you’ve got teenagers, this could be the perfect family adventure. The professionally trained and certified guides will make sure that you’re properly introduced to the via ferrata equipment, properly prepared for the experience, and they’ll accompany you on the whole route, so that you can be sure that you’re safe while also challenging yourselves to a true mountaineering-style adventure.