After finding doing my first via ferrata with kids last summer in Italy, I simply had to do it again. Luckily for me, I live very close to 1 of the 3 via ferratas in Canada at the time – Whistler BC.
I have been to the top of Whistler mountain many times before, but I can now say that I got up close and personal with that beautiful peak. I have limited climbing experience, aside from my first via ferrata in Italy and once at a climbing gym, I was a newbie. That is the beauty of a via ferrata, you do not need climbing experience for many of them. It is amazing to be able to experience the exposure on the side of a mountain with a 100ft drop and feel completely safe.
We started the tour with a ride up the gondola. It was September so it was fun to watch the bikers riding down the hill as we went up. We also got to see some black bears in the bushes. There are so many bears in Whistler in the summertime, and it is always a thrill to see them from the safety of a gondola!
We met at the hut at the top of the gondola, got our gear on and headed out for our adventure. The walk to the base of the via ferrata usually traverses the glacier. Sometimes the tour group needs to wear crampons but the glacier had shrunk so much that we didn’t even come close to it. If you do the via ferrata in June, you might catch an edge of the ice but each year the glacier is receding.
The climb up from the base to the peak took about 1.5 hours. It was a really good mix of iron ladders, traversing skinny ledges and easy rock climbing. I preferred the sections where we got to grab onto the features of the mountain, it made me feel like a real rock climber.
The view from the top was awesome. We got to take the peak chair lift down to the gondola and then the gondola back down to the village.
I have since done the Squamish via ferrata which is run through the same company, Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures. I found the Whistler tour to be more physically and technically challenging. Although I didn’t bring my daughter, I think she would prefer this one over the Squamish one because she is a decent climber and she is not afraid of heights. The Squamish via ferrata would be better for children who have not climbed outside before.