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BY The Wirth Family
As Adam and I sat with our laptops and maps planning our 20 year anniversary trip to Italy, I joked that he really tricked me back in 2002. When we met in Nebraska, my expectation of adult life was weekends on a boat on the Missouri River or maybe walking 18 holes of golf. Fast forward 20 years and it has instead been a wild adventure living in the mountain west, hiking, biking and enjoying raising our kids to be true mountain goats.
Adam put together a route that included some via ferrata, but also allowed us to stay at different refugios along the way. There are hundreds of refugios scattered in the high peaks across the range, providing full-service meals, beds and even showers for weary travelers, definitely a step up from a backpacking meal and inflatable mattress.
Via ferrata literally means “iron path.” Scattered amongst the beautiful trails are a series of cables, anchors and small iron steps that allow users to scale rock faces that look unclimbable without ropes and technical climbing gear. Guidebooks rate each ferrata based on difficulty and access. Traditional via ferrata gear is a standard climbing harness and a set of two safety lanyards that you clip into the cables as you ascend and descend the routes.
The Dolomites are strikingly different from any other mountain range I have witnessed. The scale and vastness of the terrain gives us a glimpse back 250 million years to when the European and African tectonic plates collided forcing these fossilized coral reefs to the sky. In a matter of a couple miles you witness spires resembling the towers of a gothic church to rounded massifs looking more like the moon, all of this hanging above green valleys filled with wildflowers and the clanging of cow bells.
We set off on a 40 mile traverse with three refugio reservations in between long days on our feet. Initially, we thought taking chair lifts and gondolas up and down on our route would seem like cheating, but to get to the various peaks and high plateaus we wanted to reach, it was necessary. In addition to support with the lift-accessed peaks, the refugios meant no tents or stoves so our packs were lighter than a normal backpacking mission. The initial path was crowded with hikers of all ages and abilities. I let myself think for a moment, “hmm maybe this will be easier than I thought?”
I learned quickly, as we began our first via ferrata of the route, that the feeling of safety provided by the cables doesn’t necessarily mean the heart rate will be any lower. We moved slowly through the via ferrata section, mainly because I am a cautious climber at best. Everyone in our group took turns being behind me, helping me with hand and foot holds and the best times to switch my lanyards on the cable. My kids are naturals when it comes to moving through the mountains, they were so patient in helping me through the technical sections.
Our trip took us up and down nearly 6,000 feet of elevation changes each day, so even without via ferrata missions on day two and three, we were grateful every evening to reach our planned refugios, wondering what would be on the dinner menus waiting for us. The simple process of removing your hiking shoes and stacking them on a shelf with all the other boarders for the night, a standard procedure in all refugios, was mentally rewarding and provided a visual reminder of shared miles to get to the beautiful settings.
The iron cables and small iron steps provided both a literal and figurative guide rail for me. The comfort I had when I was clipped in helped me get more comfortable in tougher terrain, I felt like I broke through physical and mental barriers, improving my skills like downclimbing through rocky ledges. I explored the guidebook on our trip, learning that one of our routes would have a route that described a few required “strenuous moves” involving high, vertical ladders. I had actually read the guidebook this time to be more prepared about what to expect. I opted out of that route and had a lovely, solo hike, meeting everyone up at the bottom of the gondola over beers and fries.
We had one final morning mission up the cables on a via ferrata was a short hike from the road, ending with a picnic lunch at the bottom. With the easy access, it was more crowded than the higher mountain routes, but it was interesting to watch everyone’s varied approach to the rocks and terrain and chat with climbers and guides from around the world while we waited for people to snake up the steep terrain.
As we drove away from the Dolomites, I was grateful for the time spent in this magical place. Being in the mountains with my family is always a blessing, but to get to experience the Dolomites for the first time with Adam and the kids was mind blowing. I know that I will miss those iron cables on my next climb in the Tetons, but I also know that the confidence I gained while using the via ferrata will translate to more technical missions at home. My kids are already planning my first ascent up the Grand Teton.
Last updated 12 October 2018. Effective immediately.
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Last updated 4 April 2018. Effective immediately.
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Please note that certain state laws do not allow limitations on implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain damages. If you are a resident of such a state and these laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you, and you may have additional rights.
16. Reserved Rights. SCARPA reserves the right to do any of the following, for any reason, at any time, without notice: (1) to modify, suspend or terminate operation of or access to the Websites, or any portion of the Websites; (2) to modify or change the Websites, or any portion of the Websites, and any applicable policies or terms; (3) to interrupt the operation of the Websites, or any portion of the Websites, as necessary to perform routine or non-routine maintenance, error correction, or other changes; and (4) discontinue or restrict your use of the Websites.
17. WARNING: SKIING, CLIMBING, MOUNTAINEERING, TRAIL RUNNING, HIKING, WALKING, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES, ARE POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING, HAZARDOUS, AND DANGEROUS. By purchasing or using any SCARPA equipment in any manner, you agree that you are: (1) personally and solely responsible for: (a) learning and knowing the limits and capabilities of the equipment and yourself, (b) the proper use of and techniques for such equipment, (c) making responsible, sound decisions in changing situations, and (2) assuming all risks and accepting full and complete responsibility for any and all damages and injury of any kind to yourself or others, including death, paralysis, and serious injury, which may result from or is related to your use of any equipment manufactured by or purchased through SCARPA, its partners, Websites, or retailers. In addition, YOU AGREE TO ASSUME ALL RISKS AND ACCEPT FULL AND COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY AND ALL DAMAGES AND INJURY OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING DEATH, PARALYSIS, AND SERIOUS INJURY, WHICH MAY RESULT FROM OR IS RELATED TO YOUR USE OF OR RELIANCE UPON ANY MATERIALS OR INFORMATION PRODUCED BY SCARPA, ITS PARTNERS, AND/OR THAT IS CONTAINED IN ANY SCARPA WEBSITES, CATALOGS, PUBLICATIONS, OR OTHER SCARPA MATERIALS. Resources like the SCARPA Websites and publications can provide useful information and tips, but they are no substitute for good decision making, safe and appropriate use of equipment, or professional instruction for the numerous hazardous situations in which you may choose to use SCARPA products.
18. Disclosure of Your Information. You agree and SCARPA reserves the right at all times and without further notice to disclose any information that SCARPA deems necessary to comply with any applicable law, regulation, administrative or legal process or governmental request. SCARPA also may disclose your information when SCARPA determines that applicable law requires or permits such disclosure, including exchanging information with other companies and organizations for fraud protection purposes. You agree that SCARPA may disclose any information we have about you (including your identity) if SCARPA determines that such disclosure is necessary in connection with any investigation or complaint regarding your use of the Websites, or to identify, contact or bring legal action against someone who may be causing injury to or interference with, either intentionally or unintentionally, the Websites, SCARPA’s rights or property, or the rights or property of the Websites’ users, including SCARPA’s customers. You acknowledge and agree that SCARPA may preserve any transmittal or communication by you, including emails, through the Websites or any service offered on or through the Websites, and may also disclose such data if required to do so by law or SCARPA determines that such preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to (1) comply with legal process, (2) enforce these Terms, (3) respond to claims that any such data violates the rights of others, and/or (4) protect the rights, property or personal safety of SCARPA, its employees, users of or visitors to the Websites, and the public.
19. Indemnity. YOU AGREE TO DEFEND, INDEMNIFY AND HOLD SCARPA, ITS SUCCESSORS, AND ASSIGNS, AND ITS AND THEIR DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, CO-BRANDERS OR OTHER PARTNERS, HARMLESS FROM ANY DEMANDS, DAMAGES, LOSS, LIABILITY, CLAIMS OR EXPENSES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND JUDGMENTS OF ANY KIND OR NATURE), MADE AGAINST OR INCURRED BY SCARPA BY YOU, ANY PERSON OR ENTITY ACTING ON YOUR BEHALF, AND/OR ANY THIRD PARTY RELATED TO, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR IMPROPER USE OF THE WEBSITES, YOUR BREACH OF ANY OF THESE TERMS, AND/OR ANY OTHER VIOLATION BY YOU THAT CREATES LIABILITY FOR SCARPA. This provision may be unenforceable or inapplicable within the State of New Jersey.
20. Applicable Law; Dispute Resolution; Arbitration; Class Action Waiver; Miscellaneous Provisions. By visiting or using any SCARPA Websites, you agree that:
(1) All matters relating to these Terms, and/or your access to or use of the Websites, including all disputes, will be governed by the laws of the United States and by the laws of the State of Colorado without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions.
(2) In the event of any controversy or dispute between SCARPA and you arising out of or in connection with these Terms and/or your use of the Websites, SCARPA and you shall attempt, promptly and in good faith, to resolve any such dispute. If we are unable to resolve any such dispute within thirty (30) days, then either party may request that such controversy or dispute be mediated. The mediation may be conducted in person, through the submission of documents, by phone or online. If conducted in person, the mediation shall take place in Boulder, Colorado. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation within a reasonable time (not to exceed sixty (60) days from the mediation request), then the parties shall be free to pursue any right or remedy available to them under applicable law through binding arbitration as described below.
(3) BINDING ARBITRATION: In the event of any dispute arising under or relating to these Terms your access to or use of the Websites (including products or services sold or distributed by SCARPA through SCARPA Websites), such dispute will be finally and exclusively resolved by binding arbitration. NEITHER YOU NOR WE SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE ANY CLAIM IN COURT OR TO HAVE THE CLAIM DECIDED BY A JUDGE OR JURY. DISCOVERY RIGHTS, SUCH AS EACH PARTY'S RIGHT TO THE EXCHANGE OF PREHEARING INFORMATION OR PREHEARING TAKING OF SWORN TESTIMONY, MAY ALSO BE LIMITED IN ARBITRATION. All disputes will be resolved before a neutral arbitrator, whose decision will be final except for a limited right of appeal under the Federal Arbitration Act. The arbitration shall be commenced and conducted under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and, where appropriate, the AAA’s Consumer Arbitration Rules, both of which are available at the AAA website www.adr.org. The arbitration may be conducted in person, through the submission of documents, by phone or online. If conducted in person, the arbitration shall take place in Boulder, Colorado. The parties may litigate in court to compel arbitration, to stay proceeding pending arbitration, or to confirm, modify, vacate or enter judgment on the award entered by the arbitrator. The Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law apply to these Terms.
(4) CLASS ACTION WAIVER: Any arbitration or proceeding shall be limited to the dispute between us and you individually. To the full extent permitted by law, (a) no arbitration or proceeding shall be joined with any other; (b) there shall be no right or authority for any dispute to be arbitrated or resolved on a class action-basis or to utilize class action procedures; and (c) there shall be no right or authority for any dispute to be brought in a purported representative capacity on behalf of the general public or any other persons. YOU AGREE THAT YOU MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST US ONLY IN YOUR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.
(5) You hereby irrevocably waive, to the fullest extent permitted by law, (a) any objection that you may now or hereafter have to such jurisdiction and venue and (b) any claim that any such arbitration proceeding has been brought in an inconvenient forum. Note that the preceding provision regarding venue may not apply if you are a consumer based in the European Union, however, in all cases, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods shall not apply in any dispute arising out of or related to these Terms;
(6) Any and all claims arising out of or related to these Terms must be brought by you within one (1) year after the cause of action arises, or such claim or cause of action is forever and irrevocably barred. Claims made under the separate terms and conditions of purchase for goods and services are not subject to this limitation.
(7) No recovery may be sought or received by you against SCARPA for damages other than your out-of-pocket expenses, excluding attorney fees.
(8) A printed version of these Terms and of any notice given in electronic form shall be admissible in any mediation or arbitration proceeding based upon or relating to these Terms to the same extent and subject to the same conditions as other business documents and records originally generated and maintained in printed form. All headings in these Terms are for convenience or reference only and shall be ignored in construing these Terms.
(9) SCARPA’s failure to enforce all or any part of these Terms or respond to a breach thereof by you or any other party shall not in any way be construed as a waiver or a relinquishment of any right granted SCARPA hereunder of the future performance of all or any part of these Terms, and your obligations set forth in these Terms shall continue in full force and effect.
(10) If any provision in these Terms is held invalid or unenforceable under applicable law, the invalid or unenforceable provision will be modified to the minimum extent necessary and deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remaining provisions of these Terms will continue in full force and effect.
(11) These Terms contain the entire and final agreement regarding SCARPA Websites and their Content, and supersede any prior or contemporaneous communications between you and SCARPA regarding the Websites.
(12) Any offer for any feature, product or service made on the Websites is void where prohibited. If you choose to access the Websites from outside the U.S., you are solely responsible for complying with applicable U.S. and local laws. Although the Websites may be accessible worldwide, not all products or features provided or offered through the Websites are available in all geographic locations, or available (legally or otherwise) for use outside of the U.S. SCARPA reserves the right to limit, in its sole discretion, the provision and quantity of any product or feature shown on the Websites to any person or geographic area.
(13) All rights not explicitly granted in these Terms are hereby reserved by SCARPA.
(14) By continuing to use the SCARPA Websites, you hereby agree and intend to be bound by these Terms.
SCARPA North America, Inc. (“SCARPA”) appreciates the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face and has supported disabled athletes and groups for many years. SCARPA strives to comply with all applicable laws and guidelines so that our website is accessible to individuals with disabilities, including W3C’s WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) accessibility standards up to Level AA.
SCARPA has taken and continues to take a variety of steps to ensure the accessibility of our website. The site is built to comply with WCAG 2.1 accessibility guidelines, including media content tagged with titles, alternative text, and descriptive information, and font sizing is supported and may be controlled through the browser.
If you experience any difficulty using or accessing any part of this website, please call us at 303.998.2895 or email us at [email protected] and we will work with you to ensure that you have full access to the information in which you are interested and which is available to the public on our site, and can purchase our products, if desired.
Please contact us at 303.998.2895 or [email protected] if you have any feedback to share about the accessibility of this website.