Deputies investigating the death of a 53-year-old woman from Arizona who fell approximately 200 feet while attempting a via ferrata route near Telluride, CO, have concluded there were NO hardware failures in the route’s infrastructure and no malfunctions in equipment used by the victim. The fall resulted from an apparent, unwitnessed misstep while the victim was unclipped from the system west of the “Main Event.”
According to the San Miguel County Sherrif’s Office, the 53-year-old victim from Tuscon was climbing Telluride’s Via Ferrata with her friend when she slipped and fell. She ended up plummeting 200 feet to the ground below and did not survive her injuries.
OutThere Colorado reported that another party about 100 feet behind the victim’s party dialed 911 when they heard the commotion and saw her motionless body on the ground below. First responders arrived shortly thereafter, but it was already too late. The rescuers then hiked 700 vertical feet to the victim and used a technical rope system to recover her body.
Meaning “iron path” in Italian, a via ferrata is a protected style of rock climbing that makes mountaineering approachable for beginners. First used by military troops to safely traverse and transport materials through the Dolomites during World War I, via ferratas are sturdy iron rungs, ladders, or cables anchored into rock faces used to simplify mountaineering.
“This is a tragic accident and unimaginable loss for this woman’s family, and on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, we offer our sincere condolences,” Sheriff Bill Masters said. “The via ferrata is a hazardous climbing route that attracts more and more people each year. This incident is a horrible reminder of the dangers inherent to this climb.”
We once again offer our sincere condolences to the victim and her family.