Colorado has four via ferratas: Telluride, Idaho Springs, Buena Vista & Colorado Springs

Are you ready for a challenging adventure? Colorado now has four via ferratas.

"Via ferrata is an Italian word, it means iron way or iron road," explained Chris Obert, the outdoor attractions manager at Cave of the Winds.

Obert said via ferratas originated in the Italian Dolomites during World War I. The iron bars were drilled into the mountainside to move troops.

For the via ferrata at Cave of the Winds, crews started working last October.

"We had to start with cleaning all the cliff faces," Obert said. "There was a bunch of loose rocks all over the place. We went back there with crowbars, hammers, and stuff like that to clear all of the loose debris."

The work took about six months, then crews started installing rungs, bolts and a cable systems for guests.

"Our via ferrata, we designed and built it for inexperienced climber," Obert said. "So that they could come out and get an idea of what rock climbing is all about. Get used to the gear and being up at heights."

AVA Rafting & Zipline built a via ferrata in Idaho Springs last year. They added a second one in Buena Vista this summer.

"Everything is built into our topography," said Jocelyn Criswell, marketing manager at AVA rafting and zipline. "You're just completely interacting with geography."

"People come to Colorado, they want to push their limits, but not everyone can do the Telluride Via Ferrata," Criswell said. "They don't have gear, they don't know safety precautions, we remove all of the concerns."

While the via ferratas in Colorado Springs, Idaho Springs and Buena Vista are commercial enterprises, the via ferrata in Telluride is not. It's open to the public and maintained by the Telluride Mountain Club. However, several guiding services in Telluride do offer guided tours of the Telluride Via Ferrata.

Prices for via ferrata tours start at $45 at Cave of the Winds, to $149 with AVA Rafting and Ziplines, to $160-$329 per person in Telluride depending on the size of your group.

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