2-Hour Tour

2 hrs in Palisades Tahoe / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price

$99/person: Mon-Thurs $109/person: Fri-Sun

About this trip

Discover what Via Ferrata is all about in this introductory 2-hr tour of Tram Face. This exploratory adventure will give you a taste of the Tahoe Via Ferrata and is sure to leave you excited to come back for more. A professional guide will lead your group through the Flamingo Buttress and up to the Great Escape, as far as time allows!

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    2 hrs

Immerse yourself in the mountains by climbing the Tahoe Via Ferrata in a 2 hour session that is fun for any ability level. This Lake Tahoe adventure climbs Squaw Valley’s iconic Tram Face making for a memorable morning or afternoon outdoor experience. Climbing a little over an hour, you can dip your toes in this amazing Lake Tahoe climbing adventure. Your group, young or old, is sure to have an unforgettable experience.

What is the Tahoe Via Ferrata

Owned and operated by Alpenglow Expeditions, the “Tahoe Via Ferrata” is a fixed climbing route on a towering granite peak known as the Tram Face. Via Ferrata, which means “Iron Road” in Italian, is a protected hiking and climbing experience that is accessible to all ability levels. Equipped with steel cables, bridges, and permanent steel anchors, the via ferrata aids climbers in ascending steep terrain without the need of prior climbing experience or technical knowledge.

All groups are professionally guided up one of our four routes while secured to the rock with specialized equipment including a harness, safety lanyard and helmet. The Tahoe Via sets itself apart from other Via Ferratas with its “Continuous Lifeline System.” With this system, climbers never detach from the rock and feel secure throughout the whole experience. Come climb with us!

What to expect during a 2 hour session

Climbing gear located in the Alpenglow Expeditions office in Squaw ValleyOffice Arrival / Check In

All tours begin when climbers arrive at our office at the start of their indicated reservation time. Check in happens immediately with our office staff and climbers will then be introduced to their climbing guide for the day.

 

Gearing Up

Once introduced to their climbing guide, all climbers are geared up with a rental harness, lanyard, and helmet. The safety equipment rentals are included in the cost of the tour. All climbers will quickly get fitted and the guide will go over proper fit as well as the safety features of each item.

If climbers do not have proper shoes, or want to upgrade their footwear, we offer special Via Ferrata shoe rentals for $10/day.

4×4 Mountain ShuttleThe open-safari vehicle known as "The Beast" used to transport Via Ferrata climbers

As soon as everyone is geared up, the group will head up the mountain in one of our 4×4 vehicles to the start of the climb. During the drive to the base of the routes, we pass through the heart of the Squaw Valley ski area while enjoying fantastic views of the valley, forests, cliffs, and creeks. After a ten-minute drive, a short walk brings us to the base of the Tahoe Via Ferrata.

Start the climb – Flamingo Buttress

kids having a good time on the Tahoe Via Ferrata!At the base of the routes, our climbing guide will orient climbers to the “Continuous Lifeline System” with a brief overview of all safety systems. All of the climbing routes start with a short beginner section called “Flamingo Buttress” to allow new climbers to practice sliding their carabiner along the cable before going higher.

 

Climb the Great Escape 

After completing the Flamingo Buttress, climbers will head up a short trail, less than 100 yards, and connect into the Great Escape cable section. The Great Escape starts in a small chimney, and then opens up onto beautiful granite slabs. Smearing our shoes, we’ll work our way up the slabs, using the texture of the rock to grip and the cable to ascend. After crossing a gully, we’ll take in the wonderful views of Olympic Valley from Sandy’s ledge, an ideal location for a snack and sip of water. From here, we’ll descend back down the Great Escape, and finish our climb on the descent trail back to the start.
In all, the whole experience will take roughly two hours from arriving at our base camp in The Village at Squaw Valley to saying goodbyes and heading back to the car. Plan to hike and climb for about 1 hour.

Preparation

  • Prior Experience

    No prior experience necessary. All routes were built to accommodate all skill levels.

  • Fitness Level

    Participants should be able to go on a hike for an hour. Nearly anyone can participate on the Tahoe Via Ferrrata.

  • What to Bring

    Participants should dress appropriately for the day's weather. Your welcome email will have a link to local weather, please check this before preparing for the day. All climbers must wear closed-toe shoes and bring along a small backpack with water, snacks, and sunscreen. Check out our "What to Wear" video here. If climbers do not have appropriate footwear, they can rent specialized Via Ferrata shoes for $10/day. We also sell gloves for $3.

    • Where is it located?

      The Tahoe Via Ferrata is located at Squaw Valley Resort in Olympic Valley, California. The climbing experience will start and end at the Alpenglow Expeditions office in The Village at Squaw Valley. Both Via Ferrata routes ascend what is known as “Tram Face,” which towers directly above the base area of the resort, offering stunning views of the valley and the surrounding Sierra Nevada.

    • What can I compare it to?

      The Tahoe Via is a very unique experience, most comparable to rock climbing. The Via Ferrata routes help participants learn to navigate the rock face on the protected climbing route with permanent steel anchors and cables that keep them safely connected to the rock 100% of the time. All climbs will be led by Alpenglow Expeditions’ experienced team of AMGA trained guides.

    • What about weather?

      Weather events such as lightning, rain, and snow may cause delays on the routes. Climbers will only depart if safe climbing conditions exist. When preparing for your climb, please dress appropriately for the days weather. Check your confirmation email for a link to the local weather report.

    • Who can participate?

      The Tahoe Via Ferrata is for everyone! No prior experience is necessary and nearly all ages can participate.

      Please note, all climbers must be at least 3’11” tall. Climbers under 3’11 cannot climb the Tahoe Via Ferrata. Additionally, climbers under 88 lbs must be in a private group. There can be a maximum of 2 climbers per group under the weight minimum.

      For any questions and more detail, please call the Alpenglow Expeditions office: 877-873-5376.

    • What do I need to bring?

      All technical equipment (harness, helmet, and lanyards) is provided by Alpenglow Expeditions and included in the pricing.

      Participants are encouraged to wear clothes similar to what you would wear hiking. Light pants or shorts, and either a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt. A backpack to carry water, snacks, sunscreen and other items will also be useful. On colder weather days a jacket will come in handy. Closed-toe shoes are required.

    • Do you have group options?

      Yes! We can accommodate up to 120 people per day.  Please call the office for more information: 877-873-5376.

    • Is there a minimum group size?

      Non-private groups must have a minimum of 2 participants to depart. The maximum group size is 6 participants per guide, and larger groups/families will go out with several guides.

      Private groups have no minimum size but will operate at a 6 participants per 1 guide ratio.

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 100 in the USA) and more than 10 summits of 8,000 meter peaks (14 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for fifteen years and has led over 100 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu, the 8th tallest mountain in the world, from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has led expeditions where more than 100 clients have successfully summited Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Alaska, and of course closer to “home” in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Petzl, Kaenon, Goal Zero, Hypoxico, Alpenglow Sports and High Altitude Fitness.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid 90’s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started leaning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has recently spent the last 8 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine and skiing as well as becoming an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, an AMGA certified ski guide and AIARE level 1 course leader. He lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele and sweet daughter Manu. 

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Will Sperry

After Will’s first ever outdoor rock climb in Slovenia, he was hooked and knew he wanted to pursue a profession in the Mountains. In the subsequent years he worked on honing his craft on rock and enjoyed the places and adventures climbing brought him. Will has traveled to many mountains all around the world since his first taste of climbing, but always seems to call the Sierra his favorite place on earth… so far.

Will has seen the transformative power of the mountains first hand and works to provide experiences to his clients that will challenge their comfort zone and their perception of possibility. Whether this comfort zone is going for a long hike, or spending 5 nights on the side of a mountain, the power of stepping out is undeniable and in Will’s point of view essential for a well lived life.

Will spends his summers guiding on Mt. Shasta, Tahoe, and the Sierra and when winter comes around you can find Will on his splitboard practicing shinrin-yoku in the trees and alpine zones of Lake tahoe and Japan. Will also considers himself a nerd for snow science and will be happy to explain temperature gradients and avalanche problem types to those ready to learn.

Will is currently pursuing his IFMGA certification and is an Apprentice Rock Guide and will be an Apprentice Ski Guide January 2019.

Logan Talbott

Director of Operations / Chief Guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan keeps things running smoothly as the Director of Operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours around Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is a fully certified AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Sam Kieckhefer

Via Ferrata Manager

Born and raised in Northern California, Sam began exploring the Sierra and developed a love for the mountains at a young age. A Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows passholder for more than 20 years, Sam is excited to share his passion for Olympic Valley with clients on the new Tahoe Via Ferrata. In the summer, Sam jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn for pre-work waterskiing on Lake Tahoe and in the winter, he’s searching for fresh turns in the West Shore backcountry. Sam is always down for a new adventure, which lately has been rock climbing.

Tim Mincey

A native of Chicago, Tim grew up barely knowing that mountains existed, much less that you could climb or ski them for fun. But as an engineering student at Stanford, he managed to fall in love with snowboarding, and after college he made the move to Tahoe to ride full-time as a snowboard instructor. Once in Tahoe, Tim couldn’t wait to dive into backcountry splitboarding and rock climbing, and he is perpetually trying to make up for his late start in the mountains by climbing and snowboarding as much as possible. Tim has guided throughout California since 2011, and has a hard time imagining that he’ll ever tire of showing off the beauty of the Sierra Nevada.

He is an AMGA Assistant Rock and Splitboard Guide, Apprentice Alpine Guide, and Single Pitch Instructor, as well as an AIARE Course Leader and AASI Level 3 Snowboard Instructor. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his girlfriend, Beth, and their Australian Shepherd, Pika.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Ali Agee

Ali grew up ski racing and competitive freestyle skiing in Lake Tahoe. It wasn’t until a backcountry skiing trip to the Eastern Sierra that Ali discovered her true passion for moving through the mountains, whether it be on skis or via long alpine rock routes. Since then, she has skied and rock climbed in multiple venues including the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Japan, and Canada.

Ali has experienced firsthand the transformative powers that guided trips can have on someone looking to break through comfort zone barriers. She is passionate about sharing similar soul-filling, life-changing experiences with others.

Ali is currently an AMGA apprentice Ski and apprentice Alpine Guide, Pro 1 Avalanche Professional, Wilderness First Responder, Type-Two Fun Seeker, and Via Ferrata Enthusiast. She also has a master’s degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Isaac Laredo

Isaac found his appreciation  for the outdoors growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Isaac attended Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe where his appreciation  evolved into a lifelong passion. The scenery, accessibility and culture of the surrounding mountains captivated Isaac to major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Environmental Science and Outdoor Adventure Leadership at Sierra Nevada College. Here he was inspired by his teachers and peers to facilitate the creation of special moments in the outdoors. As one of his mentors say “special moments happen, we just have to show up for them”. These special moments have been responsible for lots of personal growth for himself and those around him. He has experienced the power of the outdoors first hand and looks forward to life long learning in the mountains through climbing and skiing.
Isaac is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, Pro 1 Avalanche Professional, and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

What others are saying about this trip

2-Hour Tour

Discover what Via Ferrata is all about in this introductory 2-hr tour of Tram Face. This exploratory adventure will give you a taste of the Tahoe Via Ferrata and is sure to leave you excited to come back for more. A professional guide will lead your group through the Flamingo Buttress and up to the Great Escape, as far as time allows!