30 Jul 2017
Hi, I am Julie Calder from the Marketing team at Jackson Hole Resort Lodging. As a continuation of our series showcasing activities to do while on vacation in Jackson Hole, I would like to introduce the Via Ferrata. This is a brand new activity at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Via Ferrata means “iron way” in Italian and provides assisted climbing with a knowledgeable guide at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Ths Via Ferrata is one of only 3 in the USA and the only Via Ferrata on public US lands. The owners of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort had an incredible vision to bring this to us. It is a great way to be on the mountain and experience climbing in a new way.
We used our day on the Via Ferrata as an opportunity to get to know the activity as well as work as a team! Natalie Raines, General Manager, led the way. She was followed by Jenny Klamer, Operations Manager, then I was third and our Sales and Reservations Manager Neal Partrick came last. Neal had been once before our day, so he was designated cheerleader and photographer!
The Via Ferrata offers assisted climbing with cables, steel hand and foot holds, iron ladders and suspended bridges on routes located adjacent to the top of the Bridger Gondola. Climbers secure themselves to the cable via a harness and carabiners before ascending exposed areas. While less experience climbers can use all of the hand and foot holds, the more experienced can use the rock and ascend the same routes. This is a guided experience and the guides are great at helping each participant choose the right routes and pace for their adventure.
Our guide, Shannon Schiner, doubles as a Ski Instructor in the winter. Shannon is one of the most knowledgeable and positive people I know. She is an incredible teacher and coach. She loves Jackson Hole and you will also feel this energy and pride as you climb with her. She met us at the base to go over the plan for the day. After a short introduction, we ascended the gondola to the Rendezvous Lodge where we obtained our approach shoes (a sneaker like shoe with sticky rubber soles better for climbing) and strapped on our harnesses and helmets (bring a visor for extra shade under your helmet). We grabbed some water and headed down a short trail to the practice route for an in-depth safety talk and explanation of what to expect.
The Via Ferrata was originally built in the Alps during World War 1 to assist troops moving around the Dolomites. The concept of ascending routes to reach alpine heights has now translated to a unique and satisfying mountain experience for anyone to enjoy. There are courses all over Europe and it is a relatively new activity in the USA. I was surprised as I headed up the first route how much I liked the process of climbing up the metal rungs. It was a beautiful day and we learned quickly how to move around the rock.
After another short walk we arrived at the main climb, “Ridgeline,” a longer intermediate route. Our team started up the route and we all climbed at our own pace and rhythm. The views were stunning and I loved every section we passed. When we got to the “top” we arrived at the famous Shot 12 Bridge suspended above Casper Bowl. I talked about the bridge the whole way up and how excited I was to cross it. When I got there I was still excited and crossing it was just as thrilling as I imagined!
At the end of our climb, we walked down the Casper trail which was a great way to finish off a wonderful morning. We returned to Teton Village for a celebratory lunch and shared our excitement with each other!
You can find more information at www.jacksonhole.com including details, costs and how to make reservations.