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Via Ferrata Adventure Coming to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, celebrating its 90th Anniversary this year will be opening Colorado’s newest adventure, a Via Ferrata on the granite walls of the Royal Gorge. The new attraction will be ready for the 2019 summer tourist season. Guests will be halfway down into the Royal Gorge when they start climbing on what will be a unique lifetime experience.

The Via Ferrata is in the planning and proposed routing stage for the first of three phases. The first route will be on the South Side (North Face) of the Royal Gorge with a targeted opening date of May 1, said Brent Hargrave, COO. “Guests will be able to enjoy watching people scale the opposite wall from the Visitor Center deck, the bridge, or just about anywhere in the park,” said Hargrave.

“Via Ferratas are increasing in popularity and timing is right for the park,” said Jeremy Boswell, VP of Operations. “This experience is for those who would not otherwise ever have a climbing experience.” You don’t have to be a professional or serious mountain climber, he said. This system introduces people to mountaineering in a protected, safe climbing system that uses trained guides, climbing lanyards with carabiners, steel cables, and iron rungs installed into rock surfaces. Popularity of Via Ferratas began in Europe over a hundred years ago even though the system has been around longer. In the United States, there are Via Ferratas most notably in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and California in the mountainous regions.

Hargrave said the Via Ferrata will capitalize on the natural attraction of the Royal Gorge. “We will set ourselves apart from other Via Ferratas with the sheer drama and vertical foot advantage of the 1,000 foot walls. In fact, this system will be unlike any other Via Ferrata in the nation due to its verticality.” The sturdy rock walls are made of Pike’s Peak granite and formed over a billion years ago.
Mike Friedman with Colorado-based Adventure Partners Attractions, designer and installer said “Via Ferratas are taking off in North America right now. It’s designed for non-climbers with an adventurous streak who want to know first-hand what it feels like scale a rock face. People today want to be more participatory in their experiences, and the Via Ferrata is a spectacular, earned adventure.”

Friedman, a former Teton mountain guide, began creating Via Ferratas for a resort in the red rock canyons of southern Utah in 2009. “The park is building something that will deliver life-long memories. It’s a gateway for those who want to experience climbing.”

Still in the beginning stages, this guided-only activity will be open to a wide range of ages, and courses from easy to more challenging. The average tour can range from two to five hours.

“The Royal Gorge is an awesome place. When I first stepped up the rim it took my breath away, the beauty of those sheer rock faces, perfect for a Via Ferrata.” said Friedman.

Check www.royalgorgebridge.com or facebook.com/royalgorgebridge for updates and opening date.

Park After Dark: Recap

Royal Gorge Bridge Park After Dark Concert

Underneath the sun of Colorado’s summer days and clear nights, performers, dancers and artists made their way to the scenic Royal Gorge region to show off their talents at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. From dance troupes to Nature’s Educators, days were packed with family fun and entertainment. As the early evening hours rolled in, the Elk Park Amphitheater lawn and seats began to fill with excited fans.

Country music’s finest didn’t miss a beat in July from singer, songwriter and actress, Pam Tillis followed by John Michael Montgomery. Early August brought more country chart toppers  when Wynonna Judd and Diamond Rio delighted fans from all over with their famous lyrics and sounds. Ms. Judd made it a point to catch some thrills on the SkyCoaster.

Before Atlas Genius and Dirty Heads filled the final Park After Dark series night with hits, they had to ride the country’s highest zip line. It seems heights make even rock stars nervous. After playing their final sets, the guys decided they had to pull the cord on the Royal Rush SkyCoaster, in the dark.

Met with rave reviews from guests, the final Park After Dark series closed out with a bang thanks to amazing sponsors St. Thomas More Hospital, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center, Penrose- St. Francis Hospital and Bristol Brewing Company.