Climb­ing high: TSV pro­poses rock face de­vel­op­ment

The Taos News - - ENVIRONMENT -

Taos Ski Val­ley is ask­ing the Car­son Na­tional For­est for an amend­ment to its per­mit, so it can build a new type of recre­ational de­vel­op­ment: via fer­rata (Ital­ian for “iron path”).

A via fer­rata is es­sen­tially a com­bi­na­tion of a steel ca­ble at­tached to a rock face, along with iron rungs, pegs, lad­ders, bridges and ae­rial walk­ways, which make ter­rain usu­ally re­served for moun­tain climbers more ac­ces­si­ble.

The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment was an­nounced by the Car­son Mon­day (Dec. 17). The U.S. For­est Ser­vice is seek­ing pub­lic com­ment on the pro­posal. Com­ments are most use­ful by Jan. 7, 2019 and can be mailed, hand-de­liv­ered to the Questa Ranger sta­tion or emailed. See this story at taos­news.com for more de­tails.

Ac­cord­ing to the scop­ing letter re­leased by the For­est Ser­vice, the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would oc­cur on three dif­fer­ent rock for­ma­tions in the Kachina Bowl area of TSV above Lift 4.

The Main Street Cliff de­vel­op­ment would have three dis­tinct via fer­rata climbs up to a picnic area and bench. It would con­sist of 150 to 200 feet of ver­ti­cal climbs, and have ac­cess to a 125-foot ae­rial walk­way. The other two “pods” would con­sist of ver­ti­cal climb­ing be­tween 75 and 165 feet of vary­ing skill lev­els. Par­tic­i­pants would be out­fit­ted with climb­ing equip­ment (hel­mets, har­nesses, ropes) and would need a guide.

The de­vel­op­ment would also in­clude the con­struc­tion of a .7 mile trail.

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