The Via Ferrata climbing route in Telluride, Colorado has been damaged after a rockfall occurred last weekend. The rockfall came off of Ajax Mountain on Saturday, and although the route has not been closed, it is recommended climbers wait until repairs have been made or at least use extreme caution.
Via Ferrata routes are located around the world, and are best described as steel cables that are bolted into the rock that hikers are attached to. Additional assistance such as rungs, pegs, steps, ladders, and bridges are sometimes part of these routes.
According to the Telluride Mountain Club, “Rockfall into the gully just west of the Hanging Forest has damaged a cable, bolt and possibly a rung, in addition to substantial terrain movement of large rocks and trees. Those most familiar to the area may notice large loose sections of natural terrain that are likely gone or dramatically altered.”
The club posted an update today that stated, “Where the cable is damaged, climbers should clip into the rungs instead. A few bolts were impacted by falling rocks but none are noticeably loose. After the cable, where the tree was taken out, the trail is a bit rough. There is now about 30 feet of climbing rope and a warning sign.”
These climbing routes vary in length depending on the location, with some taking as little as an hour to complete, to some that take more than eight hours in total. The origin of via ferratas goes back to the Alps, where villages were connected to their high pastures using this method.
To stay updated on the condition of the route, visit Telluride Mountain Club’s website.