In the summer of 2012, CMH debuted another via ferrata excursion for lodge guests along the nearby Conrad Glacier Field. This 7km-long white-knuckle adventure combines hiking, climbing over smooth rock slabs alongside waterfalls, ziplining over a surging river and navigating wild canyons via bridges and metal rungs. Halfway through the eight-hour excursion, a picnic lunch is served by an emerald glacial lake where guests have been known to jump into for an invigorating (read: freezing) swim. The via ferrata concludes by traversing 20m of vertical rock wall beside the glacier’s surreally blue ice.
Yosemite Half Dome – Yosemite National Park, California
In 1865, Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome was declared perfectly inaccessible, an iconic point that, according to the park’s website, “never has been, and never will be, trodden by human foot”. It didn’t take long for American climber George Anderson, who reached the summit in 1875, to prove the naysayers wrong. Now every summer between late May and early October, thousands of people make the 15-mile round-trip hike to the summit, which rises 5,000ft above Yosemite Valley. The hike takes most people 10 hours to complete and begins along the Mist Trail, following the Merced River up more than 600 granite steps to the top of Vernal Fall and continuing through Little Yosemite Valley before arriving at the lower half of the dome, called sub-Dome. This steep section of the dome features an arduous climb up switchbacks before finally reaching the via ferrata. For those who make it — many are defeated by exhaustion, dehydration or injury — it is an exhilarating experience to climb 400ft of near vertical rock using just two metal cables and wooden foot holds. The park issues a maximum of 300 permits for the hike per day, distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov.