Challenging via ferrata with many exposed sections along the south face of Ajax Peak (3895 m) in the San Juan Range.
Who would have thought that in the United States one could find a via ferrata? In 2006, avid climber, geophysicists, welder and artist Charles F. Kroger created his lifetime achievement with the construction of this adventurous iron way. He got to know the first Vie ferrate during the 1960s in the Dolomites. In 2006 however, he constructed one of the first via ferratas in the Telluride mountains with the help of some friends. Unfortunatelly Kroge died before its completion, but his friends finished the trail and named it after him. Similar to the bands in the Brenta, the Krogerata rather traverses along the rock face. The individual, partially exposed and very demanding sections are connected by long insured walking passages.
Access: Near the car park we find a small bridge that crosses the creek. Behind the bridge, we bear right and climb to the base of the wall and the prominent traversing band, which we follow for the next two hours through the steep south face.
Route: We follow the narrow trail and repeatedly pass by short rope-secured sections. Although they are exposed, they are easy to master (A / B). A longer walking passage takes us to the second section, where we cross easy (A / B) passages and also a very exposed rock groove (B / C). We ascend into a rubble gully and traverse in a short and unsecured band. Here we find a bench that invites us to linger before entering the third section. The traversing band suddenly ends at an extremely airy and spectacular section of a slightly overhanging wall (C / D). We cross the rock (B to B / C and walking terrain) until we descend into a gorge-like channel (B / C). Now comes the last section with a 10 m long and overhanging traverse (D), the technically most challenging passage of the Via ferrata. We continue traversing on the rope-insured trail (C, mostly B / C), then at a sharp corner, we slip by a rock (B / C) and reach another exposed and slippery traverse (B) that takes us to a steep step, that we climb down (B / C). Finally, we cross some rocks and reach the exit at a mine.
Descent: We hike back to the valley on the forest trail, through the city and back up to Black Bear Pass toward our starting point.
Via US50 from the north or US550 from the south to the town of Montrose. Then turn on CR90 in a southwesterly direction and drive to the CR145. Follow this road up to Telluride. At the southeastern end toward Black Bear Pass, Ingram Basin until you reach the car park at the forth bend. (near a small mine and wooden bridge over the creek).
Parking at Black Bear Pass (fourth bend)
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
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Round tourNice viewsInsider tipsport via ferrata
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