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Quick Hits: Telluride’s Via Ferrata

Telluride’s via ferrata will scare the hell out of you—oh, and it is damn fun.

Telluride is a town that will convince you heaven really is a place on earth. Most already know that this little mountain oasis is a one-size-fits-all for thrill seekers: It offers world-class skiing, ice climbing, mountain biking, fly-fishing and more, so good luck choosing. And, of course, every sunset is flawless. But the best kept secret? The via ferrata.

A favorite for both locals and visitors, this climb—which is comprised of a series of iron rungs that you clip into and out of for protection— offers some of the most stunning views of the canyon. It was started in 2006 by Chuck Kroger, a quiet and unassuming climbing legend of the 1960s. After cancer kept him from finishing the route, friends saw his project to completion, appropriately naming it the “Krogerata.” Not only is it one of the most photogenic adventures you’ll ever experience, but the dramatic terrain is surprisingly accessible and offers just the right amount of stomach-dropping epicness without feeling like you’re in over your head.

You will never feel more terrified, yet more alive, than when you’re traversing across a series of horizontal monkey bars with 200 feet of sheer exposure beneath you. It’s intimidating at first, but as you will quickly discover, being constantly attached to a steel cable turns out to be the ultimate freedom.

From start to finish, the via ferrata (which means “iron road” in Italian) is the best adventure in this town. Fall just might be the perfect time to go because when the aspens start to pop, Telluride is, quite frankly, so Instagram it hurts. In other words: What are you doing this weekend?

—Photo by Kerry Koepping

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