And thanks to the sport’s surging popularity, similar routes have spread across North America in recent years, bringing an Old World sport to the sky-rocketing peaks of the New World.
Mount Nimbus and Conrad Glacier — British Columbia, Canada
Set deep in the Purcell Mountain range and reaching jagged and sharp into the sky, 2,651m-high Mount Nimbus is the kind of wild and extraordinary place that few casual mountaineers can usually reach. Its 2.5km-long via ferrata, built in 2007 by Canadian Mountain Holiday (CMH) guides, is part of a heli-hiking excursion only available to guests of the remote Bobbie Burns Lodge, located near the small city of Golden. After a chopper drops off guests in an idyllic wildflower-covered valley, mountaineers strap on helmets and harnesses, clip their via ferrata lanyards to the metal cable bolted to the base of Mount Nimbus, and begin to climb. Guests traverse sharp ridges, cross a suspension bridge of dizzying heights and scramble over the final summit, all the while taking in the snow-capped mountain scenery and watching the occasional eagle fly overhead.