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Is Via Ferrata a Safe Activity for Anyone Visiting Colorado?

Looking up at someone climbing a ladder up a mountain

If traversing a cliffside in the Colorado Rockies is on your bucket list, then consider participating in a via ferrata.  Whether you are doing a self-guided trip on the Telluride Via Ferrata or opt for a guided trip with AVA Rafting and Zipline, you may be wondering: is a via ferrata a safe activity?  While you can certainly choose to do a self-guided tour, a guided trip is the safest way to explore the cliffside.

Self-Guided Via Ferrata Versus Guided Trip

When determining if a via ferrata trip is safe, the first thing you should consider is whether or not you’re taking a self-guided trip or a guided trip.  The original Colorado Via Ferrata, located in Telluride, started as a free-for-all via ferrata course.  If you opt for a self-guided trip, you will be on your own.  In order to go this route you need to have the proper gear and probably not be a first-timer.  If you are not familiar with climbing or do not have your own gear, then opting for a guided trip is your safer option.

Guided trips typically include all the gear you need and an experienced guide. While there are guided trips now offered on the Telluride Via Ferrata, AVA Rafting and Zipline offers two via ferrata courses that not only features cliffside traverses but a 50-foot free fall (Mount Evans Via Ferrata only), rappelling, and a few ziplines.  We will focus on guided trips as they are the safest option for anyone to choose if they are looking for the ultimate aerial adventure when visiting Colorado. 

Via Ferrata Tours

Guided Via Ferrata Trips

Experienced Guides

Taking a guided via ferrata trip while visiting Colorado means you will have someone knowledgable alongside your group.  AVA’s guides go through a rigorous training process to ensure the safety of participants.  Guides have extensive knowledge on the course, safety and risk assessment, and how all of the gear is used.  Additionally, they are trained in rescue situations that may need to be performed.  For more information on how AVA’s guides are trained, visit our Frequently Asked Question page.


AVA’s guided trips include all of the gear you will need and a guide who knows how to use it. Our equipment is designed to ensure you are always hooked to a cable. The gear that is provided to participants include:

  • Helmets. Helmets protect your head from falling objects such as rocks, equipment, etc.
  • Harness. A harness secures the participant to an anchor point or rope.
  • Lobster Claws. Lobster claws are designed for one end to be attached to you and one end to be attached to a lifeline on the course. The lobster claws used on our via ferrata course have a special feature where only one can be opened at a time, maximizing safety.

Colorado Guided Via Ferrata

Age Minimum/Weight Maximum

To further ensure safety, AVA has an age minimum of 12 years old and a weight maximum of 250 pounds.

COVID-19 Safety

AVA has established health procedures due to COVID-19 to further ensure safety on the via ferrata tour for anyone visiting Colorado.

  • Facial Coverings – Facial coverings are required during the check-in process, anywhere on the property, and during the transportation process.  Additionally, masks are required on all aerial adventures.
  • Gear Sanitation – All gear including helmets, harnesses, and gloves are wiped clean and disinfected after every use.
  • Transportation – For transportation, AVA adheres to RTD’s guidelines.  Participants will ride in AVA’s open air truck where masks are required.  All seats and handrails are cleaned after every use as well.
  • Group Sizes – Trip sizes have been reduced to eight people as well as we have a maximum of two groups that can participate in a via ferrata at a given time.

For more information on AVA’s health procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit AVA’s Health and Safety Procedures page.

Opting for a guided trip will ensure you have an experienced guide and all the necessary equipment for a via ferrata.  As with all outdoor pursuits, there is always inherent risk when participating in a via ferrata tour but we go above and beyond to assure the safety of guides and customers.

Book your AVA Guided Via Ferrata today!

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