By Brad Schalles
ACMG Assistant Ski Guide
I had a great day at the Squamish Via Ferrata recently with an unlikely group of guests – two adventurous grandmothers, Gillian and Pauline. Both ladies were Sea to Sky Gondola season pass holders and had been doing weekly trips up the mountain for morning hikes and coffee at the Summit Lodge since the gondola opened in the spring of 2014. Gillian had inquired about the steel cables and rungs she could see from the observation deck of the Summit Lodge and was curious about the experience and if it was beginner friendly.
After talking to Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures office she was reassured that both ladies would have no trouble with the beginner friendly via ferrata course. Gillian convinced Pauline that it would be a great idea to try something new during their weekly trips up the Sea to Sky Gondola and booked a tour. I was lucky enough to be assigned as their guide. Gillian was a little hesitant at first, having a slight fear of heights but was more than up to the challenge. The process of clipping onto the safety cable, taking a few steps then clipping onto the next section of cable helped her to focus and worry less about how high off the ground she was. Gillian climbed the headwall with no problems and by the time she reached the top of the she was in a groove!
Both Gillian and Pauline agreed that their favourite part of the tour was the headwall , a steep 70-meter section near the beginning of the Squamish Via Ferrata course that can look intimidating at first sight but ends up being the most memorable part of the tour. Although neither of these ladies had ever done anything like this, they both agreed that Via Ferrata was a great beginner friendly activity for those new to climbing.
Thank you Gillian and Pauline for the great day. Please come visit us again soon to try our Whistler Via Ferrata tour!
For more information or to book a tour email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1 604 938 9242
Learn about training courses at the academy: