Via Ferratas. SERIOUSLY... | Information & Issues | Kananaskis Outdoors Forum

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Via Ferratas. SERIOUSLY...
November 2, 2010
5:30 pm
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Re the editorial in Tuesday’s Herald. What does everyone think about via ferratas in K Country?  Are you for them or against them. If the former, where should they go? (The chains up to Ribbon Lake from Ribbon Falls and to Carnarvon Lake and on Yam do not count as via ferratas.) 

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November 2, 2010
9:36 pm
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Peter Irwin
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Just another gimmick to keep the boring richie riches happy! Unfortunately it would turn kananaskis into another Italy or Switzerland where the mountains are covered with cables and anchors designed for people that are not skilled or brave enough to climb routes intended for real climbers! Lets keep via ferratas exclusive to europe! Theres enough of them there to keep tourists happy for a lifetime!Yell

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November 3, 2010
12:12 pm
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Surprised Definitely the wrong kind of development for the Bow Valley or Kananaskis.

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November 3, 2010
4:53 pm
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You have got to be kidding. Close the conventional climbing season? For this?

I wonder why it's necessary to stop stupidity like this. It seems like all one has to do is come up with a hair-brained scheme and a huge amount of effort and enrgy has to go in to stopping it.

Frightening process.

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November 4, 2010
8:32 pm
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There is enough mountain faces in K-country for everbody - and plenty of room for a via ferrata or two, as long as they are open and accessible to general public. No commercial tenures or private leases here, and obviously, no waivers to be signed and no legal liability for anyone. Novel concept for Canada, but it does work for the europeans.

If it brings more people into the parks, there will be more people who appreciate the parks, and the parks will be with us longer. It may even enhance the life experience for some fatties and save them from premature death by watching too much TV!

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November 4, 2010
8:38 pm
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Peter Irwin said:

Just another gimmick to keep the boring richie riches happy! Unfortunately it would turn kananaskis into another Italy or Switzerland where the mountains are covered with cables and anchors designed for people that are not skilled or brave enough to climb routes intended for real climbers! Lets keep via ferratas exclusive to europe! Theres enough of them there to keep tourists happy for a lifetime!Yell


 

Hm, last time I went up a ferrata in Italy, everyone else looked more or less like a bum just like me... and we had to look for the "cables and anchors"... the mountains were definitely not "covered"...

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November 4, 2010
8:41 pm
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Gillean Daffern said:

Re the editorial in Tuesday’s Herald. What does everyone think about via ferratas in K Country?  Are you for them or against them. If the former, where should they go? (The chains up to Ribbon Lake from Ribbon Falls and to Carnarvon Lake and on Yam do not count as via ferratas.) 


 

Ferratas should not interfere with other established things (trad or sport climbs,…) – so Yam would be a definite no-no 🙂

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November 4, 2010
10:12 pm
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Peter Irwin
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jan said:

There is enough mountain faces in K-country for everbody - and plenty of room for a via ferrata or two, as long as they are open and accessible to general public. No commercial tenures or private leases here, and obviously, no waivers to be signed and no legal liability for anyone. Novel concept for Canada, but it does work for the europeans.

If it brings more people into the parks, there will be more people who appreciate the parks, and the parks will be with us longer. It may even enhance the life experience for some fatties and save them from premature death by watching too much TV!


 

Sure theres plenty of mountain faces for everyone, but most that have decent rock already have decades worth of trad and sport routes already established. Good luck finding a cliff that is easily accessible to tourists that won't interfere with established routes or the people climbing them. Theres plenty of great rock in remote areas but access would be difficult. Also the more contraptions that are required on a route the more maintenance that will be needed. Who's going to maintain them? Actual climbers would rather spend their time climbing real routes than maintaining something built for tourists! Via ferratas in europe are built exclusively for tourists. Fees are required in europe due to the high costs of maintenance. It would be worse here because of how water and temperature effects anchors over time. CLIMBERS are constantly refitting and maintaining popular routes that have fixed anchors. The only way these would be maintained is if they were installed by private companies with clients paying a fee for maintenance. Kananaskis country barely gets enough money to maintain its skiing  and hiking trails let alone via ferratas. I think the best attraction of kananaskis is its wildness and natural beauty not a bunch of ladders and metal hanging off cliffs. Why do you think so many europeans come here? They want to experience what their mountains were like BEFORE they became  overcrowded and all the wildness disappeared. By letting these sorts of things happen we would be heading down the same path the europeans have gone down. We don't truly know  what we've got until its gone! 

Thats my 2 cents worth!Wink

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November 5, 2010
10:47 am
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Those who like via ferrata are welcome to move to the Alps to travel them.  Keep this stuff out of my mountains.  The Canadian Rockies are valued for still having the wilderness that is completely lost to Europe.  Let's not lose what we have to gain things we don't need.

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November 5, 2010
10:50 am
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It would not bother me if they were installed in just a couple places for people to get the idea - say, within boundaries of skihills, or up Sulpher and Tunnel mountains.  Places where there is already no wilderness.  

BUT I feel strongly that if they are permitted to start into our mountains at all, the overseeing moneymakers will decide it's a great idea and add more and more in other places.  This is unacceptable to me, so I think they need to be prevented from any inroads in the first place.

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November 5, 2010
10:36 pm
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Peter Irwin said:

jan said:

There is enough mountain faces in K-country for everbody – and plenty of room for a via ferrata or two, as long as they are open and accessible to general public. No commercial tenures or private leases here, and obviously, no waivers to be signed and no legal liability for anyone. Novel concept for Canada, but it does work for the europeans.

If it brings more people into the parks, there will be more people who appreciate the parks, and the parks will be with us longer. It may even enhance the life experience for some fatties and save them from premature death by watching too much TV!


 

Sure theres plenty of mountain faces for everyone, but most that have decent rock already have decades worth of trad and sport routes already established. Good luck finding a cliff that is easily accessible to tourists that won't interfere with established routes or the people climbing them. Theres plenty of great rock in remote areas but access would be difficult. Also the more contraptions that are required on a route the more maintenance that will be needed. Who's going to maintain them? Actual climbers would rather spend their time climbing real routes than maintaining something built for tourists! Via ferratas in europe are built exclusively for tourists. Fees are required in europe due to the high costs of maintenance. It would be worse here because of how water and temperature effects anchors over time. CLIMBERS are constantly refitting and maintaining popular routes that have fixed anchors. The only way these would be maintained is if they were installed by private companies with clients paying a fee for maintenance. Kananaskis country barely gets enough money to maintain its skiing  and hiking trails let alone via ferratas. I think the best attraction of kananaskis is its wildness and natural beauty not a bunch of ladders and metal hanging off cliffs. Why do you think so many europeans come here? They want to experience what their mountains were like BEFORE they became  overcrowded and all the wildness disappeared. By letting these sorts of things happen we would be heading down the same path the europeans have gone down. We don't truly know  what we've got until its gone! 

Thats my 2 cents worth!Wink


 

Peter, you are on to something… in our sue-happy society, nobody will want to put up a ferrata and let everyone else use it without paying and signing waivers. So my guess is, they will not happen in the classical european sense. Maybe they will be built by operators who will guide the sheep up for money… we can hope those operators will go broke.

Via ferratas in europe were not built for tourists, they started as a military thing. Fees required? — duno, nobody ever asked me to pay a cent. "Tourist" is a person who is on a "tour", people climbing up walls with the safety of steel cables and a ladder or two are more in the "climber" category. Many ferratas in Europe are actually maintained by climbing clubs!

Our mountains (Kananaskis specifically?) will become "overcrowded" as more people discover them. I don't know whether this is a good or bad thing, but it is inevitable given the close proximity to large urban center. Contrary to "rachello", who calls them "my mountains" in his post, I do not own any of them, and figured I have to learn to share. I happen to like to climb using nylon rope for safety and ski while avoiding the ski resorts… someone else may happen to prefer a steel cable for their protection, or take a chairlift for their skiing. So be it. It is better if they go up their ferrata and take their kids along instead of their kids sniffing glue.

 

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November 5, 2010
10:41 pm
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rachelo said:

Those who like via ferrata are welcome to move to the Alps to travel them.  Keep this stuff out of my mountains.  The Canadian Rockies are valued for still having the wilderness that is completely lost to Europe.  Let's not lose what we have to gain things we don't need.


 

Just curious, which mountains around here do you own? Where did you buy them? I would like to get one or two... just for myself, put up the "no trespassing" sign...

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November 6, 2010
1:44 am
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They were built by the military back then, they are built for tourism now. Its an attraction. People will pay to go see it. You were a tourist when you went to climb it even though you may call yourself a climber. Most of the ferratas in the dolomites are linked together with high altitude lodging so you can link the routes. I doubt these are free. Some routes may be but in truth they draw tourists because they are unique. One way or another you will spend your money supporting that countries tourism. Doubtful this european invention will ever fly here unless there are enough wealthy people to spend their$ on 2000$ CMH heli-via ferratas like the one on Mt Nimbus in B.C. Each to his own..........

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November 8, 2010
11:42 am
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I own all of the mountains here.  The entire range.  They belong to me and the rest of the local mountain community.  Just as i could have 'my workplace' and 'my school' and 'my park' and 'my city', I have 'my mountains'.  Their belonging to me doesn't mean they don't belong to others as well, but it does mean that I have an interest in their continued splendour.

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November 8, 2010
5:17 pm
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For what it’s worth: to be grammatically correct, the plural of via ferrata is vie ferrate —Italian words  meaning “iron road/s” that have become anglicized to a certain extent.

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November 9, 2010
12:16 am
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Peter Irwin
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rachelo said:

I own all of the mountains here.  The entire range.  They belong to me and the rest of the local mountain community.  Just as i could have 'my workplace' and 'my school' and 'my park' and 'my city', I have 'my mountains'.  Their belonging to me doesn't mean they don't belong to others as well, but it does mean that I have an interest in their continued splendour.


 Well said! I agree with you 100%
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November 9, 2010
10:47 am
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I had a meeting this past weekend with one of the newley elected Councillors for MD Bighorn, Ms. Montgomery. The meeting was about planned development in Dead Man's Flats, among other things. I mentioned the Via Ferrata plan in passing as part of the "other things" conversation. While I do not want to represent that the Councillor had a position on the matter of any kind, I did get the impression that it struck her as it strikes most of us on this forum -- a bit of a strange idea.

However, it is abundantly clear that the MD sees development as basically good because it increases MD revenues, mostly though various forms of taxes. And the MD does indeed want to increase their revenues. Putting two and two together, I suspect the MD is not adverse to ideas such as via ferrata as they are willing to consider any kind of revenue enhancing development (thinking "outside the box," as it were).

I'm with RachelO; they're my mountains, too. But I think we have to admit that the members of this forum likely form a fairly specific set of opinions when it comes to this kind of development; we are not an unbiased cross section of Albertans and visitors. We're the kind who tend to like to clamber on and around mountains without the aid of "iron roads", the same way we're not that likely to want to drive quads or 4X4's on trails. Interestingly, quad & 4X4 drivers (and via ferrata lovers, assuming such a group exists) think they're their mountains, too.

I'm not suggesting I'm for this silly idea in any way. However, If they ARE going to do it (and I suspect stopping it is difficult), I REALLY have a problem with it being done on Yamnuska. But there's a lot of mountains out there, and sharing is good. I don't see a lot of this forum's folks hiking in the Ghost Forest Land Use Zone or McLean Creek OHV area, and we seem to co-exist with that acceptably (though we on this forum hold our noses at it, and likely those on the OHV forum -- if there is such a thing -- hold their noses at us).

So going back to Gillean's first question, if there were going to do it, where should they do it? Maybe on the face of Barrier Mountain. It's closer to the zipline guys place, readily accessible, connected to a ready market in the YMCA camp, doesn't interfere with traditional climbing, and has a logical top out spot in the fire lookout tower. The MD won't like it (it's not MD land), and it's inside the Bow Valley Provincial Park (but hey, if Banff allows it in a National park...). Another option would be to tie it in to Nakiska's existing infrastructure, though I'm not aware of staggering cliff faces on Mt. Allen that would work, and RCR would have to be on board.

But I think permanetly stopping via ferrata outright is a non-starter. So the real question is how do we make sure they leave Yam alone, and where do we move them to?

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November 24, 2010
5:50 pm
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I don't mind at all that different groups use different areas.  What concerns me is when people want to make all areas open for easy access or motorized recreation, or when people are in areas they shouldn't be.  Maclean Creek doesn't bother me at all.  The Ghost off-road zone doesn't bother me when I drive through it on my way somewhere, but it does bother me when I cross into the area vehicles are not supposed to be using and find tracks and destruction. 

I don't mind Johnston Canyon.  I don't mind Tunnel Mountain.  or Sulphur Mountain.  I mind when I hear a suggestion that other trails need to be paved with guardrails, or that we should have gondolas up more mountains. 

I believe the only reason development has moved at the pace that it has is through people working hard to slow it down.  If we stop trying to hold it back and maintain the areas that you have to walk to, and the few areas that you have to walk days to, they will disappear.

 

My concern with the via ferrata is that it will be impossible to stop once it starts.  It seems to me that once it's on one mountain face, it will be very easy to justify putting it in another and another and another.  I see it as actually more likely to be stopped right in the beginning, as inappropriate for the Canadian Rockies than to be stopped at just a couple commercial areas. 

The Barrier idea sounds like a good one.  Again - not really wilderness right now, and nothing else going on on the mountain.

Then again, the chossy rock that makes a face poor climbing might also make a face no good for fake climbing.  I don't know the requirements, but that might limit options in the Rockies - to places where climbing routes exist. 

Anything within an already commercial area (Sulphur and Tunnel Mountains, any skihill) seems fine by me as well.  It's the precedent I fear.

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November 24, 2010
5:56 pm
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Gillean Daffern said:

For what it’s worth: to be grammatically correct, the plural of via ferrata is vie ferrate —Italian words  meaning “iron road/s” that have become anglicized to a certain extent.


 

I have wondered about that.  When a word is a loaner, is it gramatically correct to pluralize it based on the lending language or the borrowing language?  And at what point does a word officially become a member of the new language sufficient to pluralize it as all others?

Ever since I learned how to pluralize in Norwegian, I have been caught between 'fjords' and 'fjorder'.

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June 26, 2011
12:08 pm
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June 2011. I see that Via Ferratas have been approved as a suitable recreational activity for Banff National Park with restrictions i.e :must be operated  as part of a guided  interpretive tour, and “education related to park heritage values must be a core component  of the experience.” Lots to comment on. See the article in the Banff Crag & Canyon here! 

Anyway, if the national parks have approved the activity, can K Country be far behind?    

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