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Are you ready to take your summer adventures to the next level? What about 300 feet off the ground? Good news: AVA Rafting & Zipline‘s Via Ferrata experiences offer a heart-pumping, adrenaline-filled climbing adventure that’ll have you hanging on the edge of cliffs, crossing suspension bridges, ziplining, and rappelling—an adventure beyond anything you’ve done before.

So, what is a Via Ferrata? The term “via ferrata” is an Italian term, meaning “iron road”. Via Ferratas were first used during World War I to scale rock faces as an alternative to traditional climbing. The routes are typically a combination of hiking along cliffs and ridges and traversing cliff sides along iron rungs mounted into the cliffs. 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.

When you’re ready to head out on your first via ferrata experience, AVA Rafting & Zipline offers two awesome courses—Mount Evans Via Ferrata in Idaho Springs, Colorado and the Granite Via Ferrata in Buena Vista, Colorado—both close enough to the Front Range so that you can make a day trip out of your climbing adventure.

AVA Via Ferrata - Photo courtesy of AVA
A Via Ferrata course will require you to traverse along cliffs, hike, and climb ladders and suspension bridges. Photo courtesy of AVA.

Tell me about the Mount Evans and Granite Via Ferratas.

Mount Evans Via Ferrata

The Mount Evans Via Ferrata is located over Idaho Springs and Chicago Creek, making for an incredibly scenic adventure. On this three-hour guided adventure, you’ll climb ladders and traverse iron rungs, rails, cables, and bridges to move across and up a cliff face, a route that takes you more than 300 feet above the ground. You’ll be required to clip in and out of the safety cable throughout the route, though the internal locking system makes it so you’re never completely unclipped from the cables. This is one of AVA’s newer extreme adventures, so be ready for a 50-foot free-fall and a 70-foot rappel in addition to the challenging features along the route.

Granite Via Ferrata

AVA’s newest adventure in Buena Vista, the Granite Via Ferrata, is the more exposed, more challenging version of their Mount Evans course. Two ziplines will take you to the start of this three-hour excursion at the base of the 14,000-foot Collegiate Peaks. You’ll rappel down a rock face, ascend crags, cross suspension bridges, and jump down a 65-foot free fall from the Via Ferrata to the ground. This is an active adventure, so be ready for some challenging terrain and an awesome good time.

For more information about AVA’s Via Ferrata adventures and to book your adventure today, visit coloradorafting.net/colorados-via-ferratas.

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