Arapahoe Basin Via Ferrata
Sep 21, 2023
Sep 22, 2023
Sep 23, 2023
Climb the highest via ferrata in North America
A via ferrata ("iron way") is a climbing route that follows iron rungs (or handholds) that have been fixed permanently to the rock. Arapahoe Basin is home to North America’s highest-elevation via ferrata on the East Wall, one of the area’s most striking, prominent geographical features.
A-Basin's via ferrata is a guided-only experience with two options to choose from. The full-day tour ascends 1,200 feet to a 13,000’ summit with stunning, 360-degree views. Or, choose a shorter adventure with the goal of reaching an old mine shaft where you can learn more about the history of the area. Our via ferrata is entirely above treeline and you will be immersed in Colorado's unique high-alpine environment.
Harnesses, ropes, and helmets are provided but previous rock-climbing experience is not needed. We hope the via ferrata provides a gateway to the mountain climbing experience. For some, this will be the greatest high-alpine experience of their lives. For others, it might be the start of a new passion for mountaineering or rock climbing.
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Wedding and large-group discounts available.
* We accept reservations until 3 pm the day before you want to come.
Guided Via Ferrata Tours
Reservations are required for this incredible adventure. Public access is not allowed. Please read and understand the information on this page before proceeding to the booking site.
There are two tour options
A half-day to an abandoned mine (does not reach the summit). 900 feet of total elevation gain.
A full-day to reach the ridgeline right at 13,000 feet. 1,200 feet of total elevation gain (800 vertical feet of climbing on the wall).
*Please note that because your experience will be tailored by the guide to meet the needs of the group, and because weather can be a factor, we cannot guarantee you will reach a specific destination.
To improve your chances of summiting, we recommend reserving all 5 spots for a single timeslot with friends and/or family members so that you know the abilities of the other people you are climbing with. If you have fewer than 5 people in your group you may be paired with other parties.
How your day will go
Your adventure begins with picking up climbing equipment and coffee in our base area, then enjoying a scenic chairlift ride on Black Mountain Express to 11,500 feet. From there, an OHV will drive you to the base of the East Wall. Hike 0.5 miles up to "School House Rock," our training area where the guide will demonstrate your safety equipment and give you an opportunity to practice. You will then complete the hike to the start the climbing part of your adventure!
Once you reach your climbing destination, or wherever the group wants to turn around, you will down-climb a different route and retrace the rest of your steps (you are not rapelling down). Depending on whether you book the full- or half-day tour, you should be back in Mountain Goat Plaza by 3:00-4:00 p.m.
We recommend celebrating your accomplishment with a delicious meal and a drink on the deck of our beautiful 6th Alley Bar & Grill, located at the base of the lift and open until 5:00 p.m.
Each tour package includes the following: scenic lift ride, transportation to the base of the route, all necessary equipment and training. The full-day tour also receives a gourmet picnic lunch prepared by our main restaurant.
2023 Tour Pricing + Booking
Reservations will open mid-May, 2023
VIA FERRATA FULL-DAY TOUR
Time: 6 hours (estimated)
Group size: Up to 5 people
$250$200 / person and includes lunch
- **Starting September 8th Pricing will be $200 a day
Departure times: We offer 5 time slots between 7:30 AM and 9:00 AM
Minimum age: 12 years old
VIA FERRATA HALF-DAY TOUR
Time: 4 hours (estimated)
Group size: Up to 5 people
- **Starting September 8th pricing will be $150 for a half day
Departure times: 9:10 and 9:30 AM
Minimum age: 12 years old
2023-24 A-Basin Passholders: Get 15% off for yourself (the passholder) when you book. Must sign into your account on our store to get the discount. Does not apply to people in your group who are not 23-24 A-Basin passholders.
2023-24 Ikon Pass holders: Get 10% off for yourself. Our system cannot process your pass so please pay full-price when you book, then show us your 23-24 Ikon Pass when you arrive and we'll refund you 10%. Does not apply to people in your group who are not 23-24 Ikon Pass holders.
Groups of 10 or more: When you make a reservation for 10 or more people, you will automatically save 20%.
Wedding Parties & Guests: Your A-Basin wedding coordinator can provide you a discount code.
What to Expect: FAQ + Important Info
Can I climb the via ferrata on my own with my own equipment?
No. For everyone's safety, this via ferrata is only accessible with a reservation and a guide employed by Arapahoe Basin.
What are the fitness requirements?
This is a very strenuous activity. While you don't need to be a rock climber, this is a climbing experience at a very high elevation (beginning around 12,000 feet) and there is a half-mile hike required before and after the climb. You should be an active person. Those concerned about their fitness should choose the half-day option. This is not something you want to do the day after you get off the plane from a sea-level location. Your guide will help tailor the experience to the needs and abilities of the group.
To ensure your success at altitude, get a lot of sleep, drink much more water than you think you need, and bring water with you to keep drinking throughout the day. Hydration is key!
The via ferrata is not suitable for anyone with a pre-existing medical condition that could be aggravated by participating in the activity, including, but not limited to, being at high elevations of up to 13,000 feet. If you are pregnant or have an extreme fear of heights, this activity is not for you.
Are there weight requirements?
Yes. The climbing harnesses have weight ratings and outside of those, their effectiveness is diminished. For your safety, there are strict weight limitations. Guests must weigh between 88 and 264 pounds. Not being honest about this could put you at risk of severe injury or death.
If you do not meet this criterion, you can still climb. To do so, you must notify guest services at least 7 days in advance of the trip, climb with a full body harness plus a personal guide, and will be on belay for the duration of the climb. Because of the additional staff person, that will incur an additional cost of $125.
What's for lunch? (Full-day tours, only)
Expect a high-quality, antipasto-style picnic in a reusable container that you will return to help us minimize waste. Sample lunch may include: salami with smoked provolone; fresh baguette; tomatoes; mixed olives; grilled vegetables; almonds; a cookie; and a gluten-free, organic energy bar.
We apologize but we do not have a full-vegetarian or any vegan lunch options at this time. We will refund you the cost of the lunch (est. ~$13) if you have dietary restrictions and choose to bring your own lunch.
What should I bring?
Start with a backpack that you can secure to yourself, such as one with a chest strap. Bring leather gloves, water, warm layers, a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, and any additional snacks you may want.
Wear sturdy, close-toed shoes. Approach shoes are ideal. NO SANDALS of any kind will be allowed, not even "hiking" sandals. We suggest you do not wear tight jeans or short shorts as they could be uncomfortable.
Remember, you will be very far from your vehicle for several hours and the half-day tour does not include lunch. Even in the summer, it is quite chilly at these elevations and could be breezy. The sun is very intense in our thin mountain air. Please note what the people are wearing in the slideshow photos above.
Selfie sticks and helmet-mounted cameras are not permitted.
Can you guarantee I will reach my intended destination?
Because your experience will be tailored by the guide to meet the needs and abilities of the group, we cannot guarantee you will reach any specific destination. If you know you want to reach the summit (or the mine), we recommend reserving all 5 spots for a single timeslot with friends and/or family so that you know the abilities of the other people you are climbing with.
What grade is the A-Basin via ferrata?
The The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) prefers the Italian scale in which the A-Basin via ferrata would rank as a Level D: "Via ferrata with a medium-long length, requiring a good physical condition and technical competency. Often, the itinerary is vertical and over-hangs may be present. Equipped with metallic ropes, chains, pegs, and stairs." Click here for more info.
How early do I arrive and where do I go?
Please arrive with enough time to use the restroom, check in, and collect your climbing equipment. If you are late we will try to accommodate you as best as possible but your trip may be cancelled and you will not get a refund.
Check in is located in our small retail shop attached to the Kids Center building. It is easy to find with the door facing our base area.
What if the weather is bad?
Afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon in the Rocky Mountains during the summer and being in the high alpine during a storm can be very dangerous. The supervisor on duty will make the call for all groups to descend in the event of a storm and pro-rated refunds will be given based on how far the tour made it.
What if I get hurt?
All guides are trained in basic CPR/First Aid and high-angle rescue techniques. A-Basin Mountain Patrol is on-site every day and will also respond in the event of an emergency.
- No refunds will be given if you cancel within 7 days of your reservation.
- If your tour is cancelled prior to starting the climb due to inclement weather, we may re-book or refund the tour at our discretion.
- No refunds will be given for not reaching the objective for the day due to group issues.
- Partial refunds may be given if tour ends early due to weather.