Climbing A “Via Ferrata”! Our Wild 500+ Foot Hike – Straight Up the “Iron Road”!

Welcome To My “Iron Road!”

There are times in your life when you take a “road less travelled” – in this case an “iron road” – I’m pointing to what my wife and I, along with our great friend Merah, tackled on my birthday two years ago – one of Utah’s legendary “Via Ferrata” climbs – which in English translates to “iron road” – and you’ll see why!

Welcome to The Majesty Of Utah!

During the pandemic, the only “getaway” option was to go to the middle of nowhere. We joined our friends Merah and Chris at Amangiri, an incredible resort and lodge in a remote area of Utah – near the incredible Zion National Park.

Amangiri, meaning “peaceful mountain”, is set in a stunningly beautiful area of the state, and was designed to do, as they say:

“blend with the sublime tranquility of the stark yet beautiful desert.”

As they note on their website, Amangiri blends into untouched red-rock country, claiming 600 acres of the vast and majestic Colorado Plateau, the original Wild West. 

That’s the resort to the left of my wife Alex, off in the distance.

In this desert landscape of canyons, mesas, ridges and gorges, the modernist Suites of Amangiri and the tented Pavilions of Camp Sarika offer an inspiring welcome to one of the world’s most dramatic secluded settings. 

Here is a video of one of the mesas that we hiked to on the property, called the Hoodoo trail:

So, what to do next? Climb it!

We decided to tackle this Via Ferrata, which is Italian for “iron road” and is a climbing route of fixed cables and ladder rungs – straight up!

We Are Headed To The Top Of Hoodoo – From The Inside!

Yes, that is a suspension bridge, located 500+ feet high – and we were climbing straight up to it – from the inside!

That is a spectacular 18-inch by 232-foot suspension bridge located at the top of the Hoodoo Via Ferrata.

Alex, Merah and I headed off with a professional Guide – Chris had to stay behind to take care of their two dogs…this was no hike for them!

We documented this several ways: I grabbed wide shots as the last of the climbers, and our terrific Guide also took pictures – and video – of us at key times during the climb, because it was too dangerous to try to shoot it ourselves….as you are about to see!

We were masked up – and we were donning our carabiners, which attack to our harness…as you climb, you attach them at each rung to make sure you don’t fall – because we are literally climbing up the inside of this mesa!

All joking aside, here is what happened next:

As you climb straight up the middle of the Via Ferrata, there are bulges in the rock that force you to actually lean backwards as you climb up – very unsettling!

Only Halfway There!

After this terrifying climb, we got to take a break – we all wore masks during this climb, as it was still before restrictions were relaxed outdoors…

Perhaps that was for the best – so you don’t see the look on our faces as we faced the next challenge – this vertical ladder!

Oh, did I mention that this sways in the wind? It’s only partially attached, and when you are 400+ feet up, the wind bounces you around a bit!

Standing At The Top Of Hoodoo!

After the harrowing climb up the ladder, we were on top of the mesa…and this is what we saw around us:

More than 500 feet high! It was break taking, and we took lots of photos at the top, but we do have one more thing to do: cross this!

Our Guide went first, then found a place on the other side to get this incredible shot of Alex crossing:

THAT’s How High We Were!

Yes, it was the last exciting part of our hike – crossing two separate suspension bridges high above Utah!

Here she goes:

Alex led the way, followed by Merah – they both made it across easily:

Since I was last, I shot a bit of video of my start:

So we made it to the top of the Hoodoo Via Ferrata – exhilarating, a bit terrifying, and because we crossed the suspension bridge, we could take a short cut back down from the other side…so I got a shot of them leading the way down:

It was a bit terrifying going down as well at time, but since you exit on the other side, you can slide down some gentler verticals, using the metal rungs as steps for your feet!

If you still don’t sense how much of a climb this way, here’s a wide shot of the Hoodoo Via Ferrata, and you can see the suspension bridge at the top:

We celebrated our climb with a great meal and wine – and months later Alex and I returned again, but this time to climb this terrifying peak in Utah’s Zion National Park:

Welcome To Angel’s Landing!

Yes, that is Alex pointing to the top of Angle’s Landing, more than 1,500 feet high!

Click here to see all of this terrifying climb:

We also did one of the coolest hikes ever – literally!

Yes, we hiked “The Narrows”, including large portions through the Virgin River!

Click here to see how we did!

And we live in California, where there are incredible nationals parks like Yosemite – with these incredible waterfalls!

Click here to see more of “Mist Trail!”


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Thanks so much for reading! If you liked this, please share on social media!

Categories: Exotic Travel, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Real Estate, Sports, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

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19 replies

  1. I’m not a huge fan of suspension bridges, John. The views are magnificent.


  2. I would so do this. Looks like a kick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a wonderful experience! Great photos too!


  4. Incredible! I think about the people who added the ladder rungs, cables, and suspension bridge. That’s as remarkable as the climb. Fabulous photos, John!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You guys can always can counted on to do these wild climbs and live to tell. Lucky for us

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pure insanity!! I would have done this 20 years ago, now I’d be afraid my husband would hurt something lol. Those views though – and that BRIDGE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That is somewhere I have not been or likely to get to. Thanks for the trip. Strangely I am scared of heights, especially with empty space below, but I also love being on top of things and admiring the view, as long as I’m not near the edge. The suspension bridge would be a no, no, but I’m guessing going back was not an option…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes, it was a “one way” trip and you had to climb up the metal ladder and go across both bridges in order to get down on the other side! they swayed just a bit more than I liked bu the real crazy part was climbing the metal rung in the place where the rock jutted out and you had to go upside down just a bit! Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh wow! We love the National Parks in Utah, and Zion is gorgeous! It’s been years since I’ve been there, but if I remember correctly, they have hikes closer to the ground! You and Alex were seriously brave to do that one! I’d have stayed back to watch the dogs! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wel done, John. There was a time, maybe 10 years ago, when I would have tried that with you. But now I have Vertigo, I fear it is beyond me..
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful photos!! Those climbing bars and ladders are a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Hiking the World’s Longest Walking Bridge! Oh, It’s Only 26 Inches Wide! The Top Of The Alps Up Close! – johnrieber

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