Via Ferrata(s) Tetons, WY?


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Mountain climber
May 12, 2008 - 12:33am PT
Zip line from top of tram to top of gondola is also on the rumor table.

"The Village" is rather different from the wilderness of the teton park.

I'm with the guy stating the obvious... come on people, a via ferratta is far less impact than a lift network. Don't forget, it is one of the best lift networks in the lower 48. The tram access is so awesome.

So what if Connie Kemmerer wants to make the Village a little more like the alps. Hell yeah.

Trad climber
Jackson, WY
May 12, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Speaking of via ferratas, check this vid out!

May 12, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
Has anyone managed to find an official forest service site with information regarding this potential project? We really need to do this.
David Knopp

Trad climber
May 12, 2008 - 02:33pm PT
Just because a via ferrata is less of an impact than a ski resort doesn't mean you should let it in. What we should be doing is fighting off the installation of via ferratas on public land and rigorously scrutinizing ski resorts for compliance on all environmental issues.

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
May 12, 2008 - 02:40pm PT
Public lands, especially FS lands, get used for far more damaging purposes than a ski area. I'll take a via ferrata over a clear cut or strip mine. If one of these does not interfere with a climbing or otherwise sensitive area I don't see what the big deal is. Why not let the common man feel the thrill of being up in the heights?

Dingus Milktoast

May 12, 2008 - 03:10pm PT
Yes Via Ferratas are a Euro invention to facilitate the slaughter of one another.

with no American precedence whatsoever.


I don't think a few iron ways here and there are any big deal whatsoever.

I like the one on Half Dome personally. I liked Huell Howser's show about it too.


ralph town
May 12, 2008 - 03:11pm PT
Impact?? How about all the feces and toilet paper around mayhem cove currently, I highly doubt some hiker is responsible. All environmental concerns are considered and rules applied in situational fashion, much like all of you live your lives. David, I hope you follow the speed limit, recycle every item possible and find ways to reduce your impact. Turn your computer off, your television, your espresso maker. Does your company work in a pious and sensitive way, I doubt it. Even the enviro's are hypocritical in every way. I have yet to see an erosion management plan implemented and succeed in 15 yrs of business, and these are written up by the enviro's, then again these are the same people who work in the clouds and have little to no experience outside of what their college professor's expounded on them. In the real world things get impacted every turn, tell me what happened to all the debris and waste material from the twin towers? What of the turbidity of the street run into the east river and the hudson? The opacity created by the complete demo of the site? The fumes and smoke from the initial incident? There are no differences from this or the impact from a Via Ferrata or a ski lift installation.

Like I always try to inform all you city dwellers, people from sea level and office workers, stay where you belong stay in the city where you need to be and feel safe and secure.

Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
May 12, 2008 - 03:21pm PT
Casper Bowl will get
3 climbing routes.

By Michael Pearlman
Jackson Hole News&Guide

Adventurous hikers with a taste for exposure will have a new option at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort this summer if the U.S. Forest Service approves a plan to install a “via ferrata” on the upper mountain.
The Jackson via ferrata is expected to consist of simple iron rungs and safety lines placed in exposed rock, allowing hikers to ascend faces that would otherwise be too dangerous without climbing equipment. A practice route is planned for a rock wall directly above the top station of the Bridger Gondola, and Phase 1 of the resort’s system includes three additional routes on rock faces in Casper Bowl, uphill and north of the lift’s terminus.
Recreators would access the routes on a hiking trail scheduled to be built this summer. Phase 2 of the system would include routes on rock faces located above Pepi’s Ridge and the Cajun couloir, a massive rock wall that would link the system to the top of the tram.
“The via ferrata fit into what we want to pursue in the summer and allows us to expand the types of activities we offer,” said Jessica Milligan, chief of product, sales and service for the resort. “People who haven’t climbed before could get the experience without the risk.”
Italian for “iron way,” the via ferrata first came into existence during World War I in the Italian Dolomites and Austrian Tyrol. Troops needing a safe and efficient way to move through the mountains and defend their country’s borders affixed fixed cables, ladders and bridges to the rock, eliminating the need for full climbing equipment.
The systems are popular in a number of European countries but most common in the Dolomites.
To date, only five other public via ferrata routes exist in North America. They are located at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in British Columbia, Smugglers Notch Resort in Vermont., Nelson Rocks Preserve in West Virginia, Torrent Falls in Kentucky, and Waterfall Canyon in Ogden, Utah.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort owner Connie Kemmerer, who has used the system in Europe, has supported installation of a via ferrata system on Rendezvous Mountain, viewing it as a family-friendly offering for Teton Village visitors.
“We think we’d like the system accessible for everyone,” said Milligan, adding that an age limit would likely be put into place and guides would initially be required. “If people want to get a sense of what it’s like, they can try the practice route.”
Via ferrata feature a steel cable that runs along the length of each route. Participants wear a helmet and harness featuring two safety lines, which are clipped into the cable.
As climbers ascend using the rock and iron bars, they unclip one of the lines each time they reach a bolt, clip it on the other side of the bolt and then repeat the process, always remaining attached to the system by at least one safety line.
Pending Forest Service approval of the resort’s summer operating plan, Milligan said construction of the practice route will begin in June and open to the public by July 4. Once snow melts and work on the trail accessing Casper Bowl can begin, construction of the remainder of the phase one routes will begin.
The via ferrata guiding program will operate through the Mountain Sports School, with private and group rates yet to be determined.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 12, 2008 - 03:36pm PT
Ralph: "stay where you belong in the city where you need to be and feel safe and secure"

Pretty strange words from a guy who can't wait to build a via ferrata in the Tetons for city people who 'need to be and feel safe and secure'. Now that really does seem a truly odd and self-disserving hypocrisy if ever I saw one. Build it, and they will come, dude.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 12, 2008 - 03:48pm PT
I just left a voicemail with Susan Marsh, the Recreation Officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and will follow that up with an email. Will keep you posted as to her response. The timeline looks pretty short to put any brakes on the whole affair. Anyone know what the Access Fund's stance or policy on Via Ferratas is? Would seem like a potential sticky wicket for them in terms of being seen working against 'access' for the masses.

Social climber
The internet
May 12, 2008 - 04:14pm PT
Have a single one of you chicken littles ever even SEEN Jackson Hole, much less BEEN up there? They want to add some cables to a choss pile next to a ski lift so the fat tourons they hoist up there will have something better to do than eat hot dogs and candy bars at the lift chalet. B. F. D. Anything to keep a few of them away from parking their RV's at Jenny Lake. I hope they build 5 of them and sell t-shirts, too!

Scared Silly

Trad climber
May 12, 2008 - 05:32pm PT
Ski resorts are losing money so they are doing whatever they can to expand their summer attractions. This is another example of it. SnowTurd wanted to put in an alpine slide as an added attraction.

There are several questions to be asked, is this an appropriate usage of public lands? Are there similar opportunities available? There are impact questions that should be addressed as well increase number of people and their associated impact. Will the non paying public be displaced from areas because of the via-ferratas.

Will these routes become attractive nuisances because access will be hard to control?

This is new enough that it would seem that there are enough questions that a full EIS is required rather then a simple EA. There should be at least a scoping document at this point otherwise this is nothing more than a trial balloon.

May 12, 2008 - 08:15pm PT
Spent part of the summers of 83 and 84 in the Tetons and Winds. Magical places.

Ralph, since there's such a paucity of info. on the net as I painfully found out, and you know so much about the project, why not fill us in with some of the general details please. It would go a long way in clarifying the situation. I bet most of us would likely be in support of the project if it's not near the park. I generally support the rights of private landowners.

Trad climber
Jackson, WY
May 12, 2008 - 10:13pm PT
Listen fellows, don't you think this discussion might be getting a little out of hand? Too many people lack an understanding of the context. Like Donny, you're all out of your elements. A few misconceptions I've seen on this thread:

1) As has been pointed out, this is not a precedent-setting development.
2) This does not affect an area inside Grand Teton National Park.
3) The area affected is not private property. It's USFS land, but the land is currently leased (and has been for decades) by the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
4) These cliffs are C-H-O-S-S. Nobody climbs on them and nobody ever will. Thus, none of the non-paying public will be offset.
5) There are ski lift towers jutting into nearby cliffs.

Healyje in particular, what's your beef? Writing letters to the Bridger-Teton? There's a host of other issues that affect this amazing place on an exponentially larger scale. If you really care about this wonderful area, choose your battles more wisely.

For starters: Oil and natural gas development all over Wyoming and Montana, open season on wolves, and snowmobiling in Yellowstone and surrounding environs. If you're interested, consider joining the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Apologies in advance if you're already a member or involved in other efforts to fight these battles.

Regardless of your opinion on these issues, they are much nobler causes for which to use your voice.

All of you so vehemently opposed to this process should really try to examine both sides of the issue, especially when it's not one that affects you locally.
-Nick Stayner

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 13, 2008 - 01:09am PT

"If you really care about this wonderful area, choose your battles more wisely."

There are clearly many worthy battles - I personally believe insuring Via Ferratas in the U.S. stay contained on private lands is one of them. Under no circumstances do I want them on public lands - leased or otherwise. And that is so they don't spread [on public lands] to areas I do frequent.
Michael D

Big Wall climber
Napoli, Italy
May 13, 2008 - 04:09am PT
#1 I hated the idea of Via Ferrate when in the US
#2 I finally took a group up some in the Gran Sasso and Tofana areas
#3 It was an awesome time, with people who would otherwise never see these high mountain venues.
#4 It's steeped in Italian history, ie defensive positions
#5 We don't have that history in the US
#6 Scary to see people not using the proper rigging
Cheers, Michael

May 13, 2008 - 07:53am PT
Threat of this is probably less to public land than to climber egos. For some, creating this system will reduce the unique nature of the existing climbing experience, and make it more difficult to clearly differentiate 'us' from the 'tourons'. That distinction is a value we cannot bear to lose.
Dingus Milktoast

May 13, 2008 - 07:59am PT
What is wrong with the American public finding a new and fun way to USE THEIR OWN LANDS????

God forbid a few more valley dwellers summon themselves off the couch and go visit the mountains THEY ALREADY OWN.

I reject the extremist, Talabanish idealogues so pervalent in the boomer generation. Your chicken little reactions are funny though.


Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2008 - 11:01am PT
Great! I got some info. straight, like I was hoping to understand this and now I do, and I dont give a sh#t that it is some choss heap at the resort.

Some one posted about, have anyu of you been to JH let alone been on the mounhtain. Yes and yes, kook!

And this is just rediculous,"All of you so vehemently opposed to this process should really try to examine both sides of the issue, especially when it's not one that affects you locally.
-Nick Stayner "

Well regardless of what you may think, affected locally or not? I think that is silly, these things that happen on public land set precedents and have the possibility to affect every one of us no matter where we live or who it affects first.

Trad climber
Jackson, WY
May 13, 2008 - 11:23am PT
Just like they told you in elementary school, pay more attention Dave. Please take the time to read my whole post, as well as all the other posts on this ridiculous thread. You'll find that this ISN'T a precedent setting development.
I'm glad you've been here Dave. Now go join the GYC and fight a battle that matters. This one doesn't. From a local's perspective, it's really sad to see so many people up in arms about some choss at a ski area when this ecosystem is besieged every day by forces WAY bigger than the Kemmerers.
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