“The Via Ferrata is a hazardous climbing route that attracts more and more people each year. This incident is a horrible reminder of the dangers inherent to this climb.” –Sheriff Bill Masters
Tragic news out of Telluride where a 53-year-old woman from Tucson, Arizona died after slipping and falling around 200 feet from a Via Ferrata, in Telluride. She was climbing with a friend. Via Ferrata, Italian for road of iron, is a climbing route in which climbers attack themselves to steel cables secured to a mountainside.
Telluride’s Via Ferrata is not for the faint-hearted. At its most intense, you’re suspended on a small iron foothold by a harness at 500 feet. The newly-legal climbing route is technical, breathtaking and exposed on the East end and South-facing wall of Telluride’s boxed canyon. If you do decide to partake in this incredible experience, please be safe! We highly recommend utilizing one of our guides to tackle the trip
Deputies, San Miguel County Search and Rescue, and Telluride Fire Protection District EMS and Fire responded to the Via Ferrata climbing area in Telluride for a report of a woman who had fallen a substantial distance and was apparently not moving. When SAR and EMS arrived, it was determined that the woman suffered fatal injuries.
The 53 year-old Tucson, Arizona woman was climbing the Via Ferrata with her friend when she apparently slipped and fell an estimated 200 feet. A separate party was approximately 100 feet behind the two women on the same ridge, when one of them heard something alarming, turned, and saw the victim below. He immediately called 911, and a SAR mission was initiated. Rescuers hiked approximately 700 vertical feet to the scene and then set up a technical rope system to lower the body.
Over 30 responders participated in the recovery mission including multiple Deputies, more than 21 SAR volunteers, and six TFPD EMS and Fire personnel.
Dispatchers received the 911 call at 1130am Wednesday, and the victim was reached approximately one hour later. All rescuers were safely out of the field before 4pm.
“This is a tragic accident and unimaginable loss for this woman’s family, and on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, we offer our sincere condolences,” Sheriff Bill Masters said. “The Via Ferrata is a hazardous climbing route that attracts more and more people each year. This incident is a horrible reminder of the dangers inherent to this climb.”
Sheriff Masters also thanked the Search and Rescue team. “In the last two days, we’ve had two demanding missions, both physically and emotionally, and I am genuinely appreciative of each and every one of these men and women.”
Here’s a clip of the Telluride Via Ferrata from Alpine Lodging Telluride Youtube: