Ouray Via Ferrata

Colorado’s newest adventure route, recently completed in Spring 2020, winds an engaging and varied course climbing along the cliffs of the famed Uncompahgre Gorge. Mountain Trip is pleased to be the only Telluride-based guide service permitted to offer trips on both the Ouray Via Ferrata and Telluride Via Ferrata. Come and experience the excitement of this memorable, family-friendly outing with our experienced guides!
Register for Ouray Via Ferrata

Utilizing both natural features and European-style amendments, including the 75-foot “Skybridge,” first ladder-bridge of its kind in North America, climbers spend essentially the entire route hanging from iron rungs while attached to a cable for protection, with movement constantly varying between vertical and horizontal terrain.

The route is directly across from the Ouray Ice Park, a world-class ice climbing attraction in the winter. The brainchild of passionate local climbers and built in conjunction with savvy engineers and designers, each element of the route has been meticulously tested and built to high international via ferrata standards, while also being fun and imaginative.

There are over 1,500 different via ferrata across North America, and we’re lucky to host two of these routes in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. For those who have enjoyed the Telluride Via Ferrata, you’ll find the Ouray Via Ferrata to be a complimentary, but different adventure. While the Telluride route gains elevation along the base of Ajax Peak, high above the valley below, the Ouray Via Ferrata follows the course of the Uncompahgre River, through a deep gorge, sometimes only a couple of feet above the sluicing rapids. While Telluride maintains the feeling of an adrenaline-laced, assisted, airy traverse, the Ouray route feels more “physical,” more like a proper rock climb rather than an exposed hike.

On the Fletcher/Smith Italian Via Ferrata Rating scale, the Ouray Via Ferrata is rated as 4b, which means the route is quite technical and physically difficult. By comparison, while the Telluride Via Ferrata, rated as 2b, has much more intimidating exposure, the Ouray Via Ferrata has more actual climbing on rungs. But we’ll let you make the comparisons yourself!

The route, in length, travels only approximately 0.8 mile (1.25km) along the canyon wall, but typically takes between three to five hours to complete, and perhaps longer for larger groups.

Managed by Friends of the Ouray Via Ferrata and owned by the town of Ouray, the route was made possible by donations. The route is managed by a daily Via Ferrata Ranger, who helps check people into the route, ensures that everyone has the proper gear and completes the route from south to north in one direction, and that access is closed at the end of public daily hours.

Certain groups may require a greater guide ratio to be compliant with the Ouray Via Ferrata. Route regulations also mention that participants should have a 62” reach, and that those under 85 pounds and greater than 265 pounds may need an additional belay for the vertical climbing sections of the route. The route mandates the use of a proper climbing harness, helmet, via ferrata-specific load-limiting lanyard attachment (provided by Mountain Trip), gloves and proper footwear. We suggest that participants bring along a daypack to carry water and snacks to last you the duration of the trip, a rain jacket (just in case!) and a camera to capture special moments along the way.

We don’t have a strict age limit imposed, but please let the office know if you plan to join us with children under age 16 in your group so that we can discuss how we can provide your family the best possible experience.

Check out the Telluride Via Ferrata for another way to take in the splendor of high country of the San Juans from above.

Equipment List

The Ouray Via Ferrata is an amazing adventure, but it should be taken seriously, as it is a true alpine endeavor.  The following equipment is required to join us on this fabulous guided service, but please note that Mountain Trip will provide all technical equipment, including all helmets, harnesses, etc.

Many of the items on the list need to fit you well in order for you to fully enjoy your experience on the trail. Please plan ahead with clothing and footwear purchased for your hike so you can be certain that your gear fits you well. Hanging from an iron rung is not the place to discover that your old raincoat is no longer waterproof or that your boots give you blisters.

Please follow this list closely and do not hesitate to call us for clarifications or to solicit an opinion about any gear you are considering. We want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for your trip.

Footwear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Trekking Shoes or Boots for ColoradoComfortable, well broken in trekking shoes or lightweight boots will work for approaching climbs, the Telluride Via Ferrata or climbing 14ers. Good traction is important for all of the above. Contact our office for more detailed advice!

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Rain Jacket for ColoradoA rain shell can be your most important layer as we often experience afternoon showers during the summer months in Colorado. It should be packable and in good working order meaning that, in addition to being waterproof, it still has a functional water repellent finish and beads water on the surface of the fabric.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
SunglassesSunglasses are essential in the mountains. Choose a pair that are comfortable and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Via Ferrata GlovesA thin pair of gloves will help keep your hands warm as the steel rungs and cables can be cold in the morning. Good dexterity is important for these gloves. We are happy to provide you with gloves if you do not have any with you.

Packs and Duffels

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Small Pack Colorado Day HikesDay hikes and the Via Ferrata require a small backpack or Camelback style hydration pack. It need only be large enough for a camera, water and light additional clothing layers for the day.

Other

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
CameraSmall, light weight point and shoot cameras are most popular among climbers. Be sure to bring extra memory and batteries!
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
Water BottlesThe ability to carry 2 liters of water will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
SunscreenThe sun can be intense in Colorado, so please apply high SPF sunscreen prior to your trip and bring a small tube along to reapply during the day.

Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for guests who must cancel trips. Guests must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning trips and contracting guides for specific dates, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in organizing our excursions. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all guests.

Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available for all excursions. U.S. and Canadian residents should contact us for more information regarding travel insurance. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below.

We require 100% payment at the time of booking and at least 72 hours notice for cancellations and rescheduling of activities.

• We are happy to work with you to reschedule to a new date or if you need to cancel entirely we will provide a full refund with a minimum of 72 hours notice.  If you cancel inside of 72 hours ahead of your trip departure, or do not show up, you will not be refunded, and will have to reschedule by paying full price.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.  No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 3 days prior to the scheduled date of your trip.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel a trip prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from trip participants shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Included in the Trip Fee:

• Round trip transportation from Telluride (or Mountain Village for private trips)

• All necessary protective equipment for the trip (harness, helmet, via ferrata lanyards, etc)

• Guidance of our highly experienced Mountain Trip guides

• Assistance arranging for post-trip activities in the area

Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Travel to and from SW Colorado

• Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list (please, just ask us if you need anything!)

• Accommodation in Colorado

• Travel and/or rescue insurance (The COSAR card is an inexpensive way to reimburse local rescue groups for costs incurred during a rescue in Colorado – for more information, click HERE)

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the area due to illness or other problems

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip

• Customary gratuities for guides

• Costs as a result of force majeure

General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Team Members

When registering for an outing with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is Incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us on a via ferrata experience in the mountains. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific meeting time for your climb. Transportation to the meeting point is to be provided by you, unless otherwise arranged with Mountain Trip. This could mean you will need to arrive the day before, as it is often prudent to get an early start in the morning.  Climbing and trekking can be very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to how you might best arrange your travel to SW Colorado. If flying, we suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Responsibilities of Climbers

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist on the excursion and choosing an excursion that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your excursion.

While on the trip, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from an excursion.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to cancel a climb due to an illness.

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