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Climbing the Iron Way, Jackson Hole’s Via Ferrata

Epic views and overcoming fears provide the ultimate sense of accomplishment and memory on Jackson Hole’s via ferrata.

By: Chris Engelsman + Save to a List

This past week while I was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I had the chance to experience Jackson Hole’s via ferrata. What’s a via ferrata you may ask? In Italian, it translates as “iron way.” During World War I, Italian soldiers in the Dolomites secured steel cables to mountain walls to safely traverse mountain passes. Since then, they have spread across Europe as a fun summertime activity. One year, Jackson Hole’s owner Connie Kemmerer was in Europe and experienced their via ferratas. Upon returning to Jackson, she decided Casper Bowl would be the perfect place for people within the US to experience a via ferrata. So, back in the fall of 2017 they opened their first route, and have since created six routes from introductory to more exposed. The guides at Jackson Hole’s via ferrata have all the gear you’ll need - harness, approach shoes, and helmet. So, there is no worry about not having the right equipment. 

Jackson Hole is in the Teton’s, and you’ll be at 9,000 feet so the weather can change quickly in the summer. It’s always good to bring an extra layer. The experience begins at the Bridger Activity Center located at the base of the resort. You’ll meet your guide and then ride the Bridger Gondola to the top where you’ll hike over to Casper Bowl to begin your via ferrata route/s. 

I’m no rock climber, but with their guidance and safety protocols, I was able to gain confidence and climb some steep, exposed faces quickly. Halfway through the via ferrata experience, we crossed a suspended bridge which is only 12 inches wide-spanning 120 feet and about 100 feet off the ground! You are connected with two carabiners, so it’s completely safe, but still a bit unnerving. 

After two hours, we were at the top and filled with a sense of accomplishment. People of all ages, from as young as 10 years old up to their late 70's have all experienced the via ferrata. So, there is something for everyone! 

To experience Jackson Hole’s via ferrata’s, you’ll need to hire one of their guides. The rate for a group (max of 5 people) is $135 per person for a 1.5 – 2-hour experience with two start times at 10 AM and 12:30 PM. If anyone is visiting Jackson, I’d recommend Jackson Hole’s via ferrata. You won’t regret it!

Photos: Chris Engelsman and Falcon Productions.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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