OURAY, Colo. (KREX) — Mankind has accomplished some amazing feats, reaching the tips of the highest mountains in the world. Only a handful of people ever get to experience what it feels like to scale daunting mountain walls. That is, until the creation…of the via ferrata.
A via ferrata is a protected mountain pathway consisting of a series of rungs, rails, cables, and bridges embracing the rock face.
Logan Tyler, co-owner and mountain guide for Basecamp Ouray, tells me the invention came with World War One, so Italian troops could move through the Dolomites and Alps to get a strategic position.
Not only would these troops carry themselves and all their gear up with them, but they would also remove the rungs behind them as they went.
Tyler says the via ferratas became a civilian attraction in Europe by the 1950’s and have moved into the USA only within the last decade.
Tyler tells me he helped build the Ouray Via Ferrata, the first in the town. He quickly realized it’s potential and banded together with two others as well as the same team of engineers who created the Ouray Via Ferrata to create their own.
He approached the owner of 1500 acres of land on gold mountain, only a block or so away from the heart of Ouray.
Over the course of only four and a half months, working fourteen-hour days, the project made its debut in 2022.
This course climbs 1200 feet across 12 pitches, with trails intermixed between.
Tyler admits it’s an emotional experience – several people break down once completing such a feat, including this climber who just reached the top.
Tyler explains halfway up the course, you come across a gold mine, with several sorting houses and original ore cart tracks still there.
And beyond that, a little higher up the mountain, Basecamp Ouray takes your spirits a little higher offering a hut, grill, and bar where you can sit for a moment to contemplate your accomplishment.