The Via Ferrata in Ogden
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the new Via Ferrata (Iron Way) routes that have been built in Waterfall Canyon. The routes are part of the newly formed Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park, LLC. As a long-time resident of Ogden, I’ve hiked the waterfall canyon trail hundreds of times, but I’ve never had quite this much fun doing it. Continue reading for more information about Ogden’s newest attraction.
I met my guides (Jeff Lowe, and Chris Petersen) and a couple of reporters from the Standard Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune for a quick introduction and training session.
I signed a waiver, put on a helmet and a climbing harness equipped with a special shock-absorbing lanyard designed especially for Via Ferrata Routes. Jeff Lowe instructed us on how to use the Via Ferrata, and we all took turns climbing the small instructional wall.
Easy going! You simply climb the ladders, moving your lanyard one end at a time up the wall with you. If you get tired, you just clip in to the ladders, lean back, and take a break.
From the training wall, and another 20 minute hike, you can reach the start of the Via Ferrata Routes. The view of the Waterfall from the new trail is spectacular, and gets even better as you begin to climb the Via Ferrata.
The route starts out on a moderate slope (not straight up) and artfully winds up the north facing cliffs with a rewarding view of the partially frozen 350ft Waterfall. The routes were much longer than I had expected, it took us about 45 minutes to climb the route. The views of the city while hanging from a cliff face offered an excellent advertisement for Ogden. The existing routes gain 250 - 350 ft of elevation and offered plenty of vertical exhilaration. While the routes are designed for non-climbers, I’d venture to say that even climbers could have a good time on the vertical “trails” as Lowe described them.
Once you reach the top of the routes the Great Salt Lake comes into view and the view remains splendid. We reached the top just before sunset. From the top of the routes there’s a short scramble down the ridge and the trail meets back up where we started. With a few more hours, you could loop back down and ascend the other routes.
All in all, the Via Ferrata routes will offer a new attraction for Ogden, and something new to do on your weekend adventure. The trail to Waterfall Canyon remains open, but you’ll never quite think of it the same after you’ve seen the Waterfall from the Via Ferrata. If you are a climber, the Via Ferrata is the perfect place to introduce your non-climber friends to the sport. If you just want to have a new and memorable experience in Ogden’s magnificent Waterfall Canyon, you should try the Via Ferrata.
It’s one more excellent recreational opportunity for Ogden.
How to make a reservation
Reservations can be made which include an instructional class at the training wall by calling 801-550-1761 .
How to get there
The new climbing park and Via Ferrata routes can be accessed from the 29th street trail head. Park in the lot, then start on the trail towards Waterfall Canyon. After hiking about 1 mile, you will encounter the footbridge that crosses the stream. The Via Ferrata training wall is just across the bridge.
About the park
Chris Petersen, the owner of the the land where the climbing park resides has worked with Jeff Lowe, an Ogden native, and highly-regarded climber and designer to develop the overall plan for the climbing park. The Via Ferrata routes, 3 of which are complete, are part of a larger plan that will include additional Via Ferrata routes, some of which will ascend over 600 ft of vertical rock, and include a cable bridge across the top of the canyon’s Waterfall.
Ice farming on a section of the north-facing cliffs during the winter months will create terrain for local and visiting ice climbers. Traditional rock climbing and sport climbing activities are being planned as well as guided climbs by the Jeff Lowe School of Mountaineering.
What equipment is required?
- Via-Ferrata Shock Absorbing Lanyard
- Belay for Children Climbers under 90lbs
What does it cost?
While the trails, sport climbing and ice-climbing remain free attractions on Petersen’s land, The Via Ferrata is not a free. A small fee (by comparison with other Via Ferrata attractions in the country) and equipment rental are required for usage.
|Via Ferrata Usage Through 2005||Price|
|Introductory Special (for the rest of 2005) Includes instruction, and gear rental||$ 25|
|Training Wall Instruction Only||$10|
|Via Ferrata Day Pass - must have own equipment||$20|
|Via Ferrata Equipment Rental - helmet, harness, vf lanyard||$15|
|Via Ferrata 2005 Unlimited Pass - must have own equipment||$50|
A Guide service, while not necessary, will be available for those who want to experience all that Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park has to offer.
|Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park Guide Service||Price|
|Half Day - (1 client, belay for child under 90lbs)||$75|
|Half Day - (2 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$85|
|Half Day - (3 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$95|
|Half Day - (4 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$105|
|Full Day - (1 client, belay for child under 90lbs)||$150|
|Full Day - (2 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$165|
|Full Day - (3 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$180|
|Full Day - (4 clients, belay for child under 90lbs)||$195|
More about the Via Ferrata
The Via Ferrata routes are designed for non-climbers and climbers alike who would enjoy the exhilaration of climbing steep cliffs, without all the dangers associated with traditional climbing. The routes consist of pre-placed anchors, cables, and ladder rungs in steeper places.
Climbers ascend the routes and is attached to the cables at all times with a harness and a shock-absorbing lanyard which protects against potential falls.
More information about Via Ferrata can be found at the following links:
The Standard Examiner also wrote a short article on the new Via Ferrata Routes.
Another article from the SLC Tribune
1 Article by John Dilworth, a local graphic designer, outdoor enthusiast, and publisher of this website.
If you’ve been up the Via Ferrata Routes, or if you’re just interested in trying it out, please tell us what you think!
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