Via Ferrata proposed for Kananaskis Country

Not to be outdone by the national parks, Canadian Mountain Ziplines of Kananaskis, Alberta, is proposing to build a via ferrata across the face of Mount John Laurie (better known as Yamnuska). “We will provide people who have limited climbing ability with an exciting route to its lofty summit without the risks associated with traditional rock climbing” they said.

An Alberta Tourism spokesperson said they are working with CMZ on a 600 bed casino resort (life is one big gamble in K Country) on former Natural Area land recently given to the MD by the province. A high-speed chairlift will lift tourists to a base station. After signing a waiver and buying mandatory one-day life insurance, ascentionists (I won’t call them climbers) will have a choice of two stunning lines: the Summit Route (French grade PD: Peu Dificile) suitable for beginners and possibly children, and the Grand Traverse (Assez Dificle) for more experienced beginners. The latter will hike to the summit after competing the traverse and descend the Summit zipline accompanied by trained local ravens.

Via Ferrata Kananaskis Country

Courtesy Canadian Mountain Ziplines.

The MD predicts that the population of sleepy Kananaskis (currently about six people, four dogs and a few deer) will see a substantial increase, bringing more revenue to depleted Alberta coffers. The province will undertake a 20-million dollar safety study with emphasis on developing a bungy/rope system to alleviate the common via ferrata problem of high fall factors, and to develop suitable soft padded ledges, rungs, spikes, etc. on which a careless tourist may fall.

Typical Via Ferrata base station

Typical Via Ferrata base station

Ever environmentally friendly, CMZ will make every effort to make the via ferrata blend in with the surroundings using natural rock for buildings and standard K Country s- -t brown paint on all iron work and stemples (do you know what they are?) To enhance safety, the cliff will be closed to “old fashioned” climbers from May 1 to Sep 30.

An editorial in today’s Calgary Herald titled “Where eagles soar” (they don’t know about the ravens) sums it up by saying “The province should also climb aboard and consider some via ferrata sites in areas such as Kananaskis and Bow Valley Wildland Park”.

18 comments… add one
  • Marcin Nov 14, 2010, 9:21 pm

    Well, the change is coming. If Bill 29 passes, the minister will have discretion to approve such developments.

  • Tony D Nov 12, 2010, 11:21 am

    Clive rightly points out the danger of a satirical blog. It won’t happen again any time soon. However, remember the last paragraph is an actual quote from a genuine Calgary herald editorial!

  • Clive Cordery Nov 12, 2010, 8:16 am

    So , next time there are genuine environmental concerns expressed on this blog we must first decide if its actually satirical??

  • Rich Nov 8, 2010, 7:40 pm

    November Fools Day?

  • Gillean Daffern Nov 8, 2010, 11:19 am

    The really scary thing is that people actually believe what Tony wrote could happen!

  • Kirsten Phillips Nov 7, 2010, 8:01 am

    I thought for sure that this was a joke. That kind of money could seriously be put to better use.

  • Heather Nov 6, 2010, 11:32 am

    I’ve enjoyed hiking Yamnuska many times, I hike according to my ability & have never done any climbing. Would I be interested in the via Ferrara line, or having my children on that line? No. The most incidious part of this scheme is the closing access to traditional climbers. That’s really shameful. Why do we have to earn monetary profit on these mountains? Dislike.

  • rachelo Nov 5, 2010, 10:53 am

    I really had to wonder whether the writer(s) of the Calgary Herald article do ANY real mountain travel. It sounded like an extremely uneducated encouragement to me.

  • Idratherbeplaying Nov 5, 2010, 9:19 am

    haha!! Just what search & rescue need, more opportunity for folks to build false confidence that they are “mountain ready” to endeavor untrained on bigger trips (and for the papers to label as “experienced mountain climbers” when they find their bodies). Send the ferratta folks down to the Coleman area where it is so environmentally ruined, most don’t want to deal with it, and the local economy could use the stimulus, heck…they could use those howling southern Alberta winds to their advantage with an optional “blow me off the mountain” package. :o)….(Turtle mountain may be a great starting place for a ride a rock slide -addon…………)…and how about a few mechanical bears to swipe at the traversing adventurists….to heck with sh*t brown…hot pink is back en vogue. This goes through, I might find a great use for a paint ball gun.

  • Ansella Nov 4, 2010, 4:10 pm

    As long as the s__t colored paint is made of real s__t and it gets on every single person who rides the thing.
    This article is the Most outrageous thing I have ever read. Please tell me it is a joke.

  • jan Nov 4, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Sounds good, the “old fashioned” climbers can be all hired to dangle from ropes and dislodge boulders on the ferratists, to create authentic real big wall experience!

  • Clive Cordery Nov 4, 2010, 9:11 am

    “To enhance safety, the cliff will be closed to “old fashioned” climbers from May 1 to Sep 30.”


  • Alf Skrastins Nov 2, 2010, 9:55 pm

    Why bother with a chairlift, when there is a helicopter company offering irritating tours from the nearby Nakoda Casino. I’m sure they’d be happy do drop tourists off at Yamnuska. Perhaps they could rappel out of the helicopter Bear Grylis style.

  • Gillean Daffern Nov 2, 2010, 7:47 pm

    See also issues under the forum for more on this subject. Want to know what everyone thinks.

  • Edgepath Nov 2, 2010, 7:42 pm

    I love the “trained local ravens”, “suitable soft padded ledges”, and “s__t brown paint”!! Brilliant, Tony!

  • Peter Irwin Nov 2, 2010, 7:04 pm

    Ridiculous! Yet another brilliant plan by the jackasses that run this province! Yamnuska is a historical monument to climbing! Its where most of the first difficult trad climbing started in the rockies. Not to mention its sacred to the first nations people. The more time I spend in this province the sooner I want to leave it!

  • Frank King Nov 2, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I’d just be happy to go on the chairlift.

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