As you may have heard, Lake Tahoe has had a record breaking winter according to the Central Sierra Snow Lab. This makes the 2022/2023 winter season the second snowiest winter in Lake Tahoe in over 77 years! Historically cold temperatures have allowed the snowpack to avoid much melting, and NOAA reported that there is still 220 inches of snow (almost 19 feet) on the ground at 8,000ft as of March 26th, 2023.
Needless to say, this historic winter will affect our early-season Via Ferrata operations at Palisades Tahoe. Although we typically open the Tahoe Via Ferrata in mid-May, our operations will be delayed this season as we dig out our cables and get a solid inspection of the routes before climbing. Our current 2023 opening date is scheduled for June 24th, 2023.
Although we hope to open sooner, our team will have plenty of work ahead in order to dig out the routes, reinstall cables, and inspect for any damage. While we do so, Palisades Tahoe will also be doing some maintenance of their own. Palisades Tahoe is set to replace the Funitel haul line during the first few weeks of June. During this time, they will halt all ski operations on the Olympic Valley side of the mountain. With the start of all Via Ferrata routes located adjacent to the Funitel, we will have to wait for the haul line project to be completed before we can start climbing with guests.
Early Season Operations to Include a Beautiful Hike
While there’s no telling just how much time it will take for our snowpack to melt away, we expect to have more adjustments to our early season Via Ferrata operations. Typically, we drive all climbers to the base of the climb in our 4×4 open-air vehicle, starting at the KT lift and ending near the Funi Tower 6, which takes about 10-15 minutes. In order to drive climbers up to the base of the climb, we need the summer road (aka Mountain Run) to be completely melted out. We cannot drive on the road until it is completely dry and Palisades Tahoe has given clearance. Although we expect for the road to be plowed and opened quickly due to the resort’s own maintenance project, there is a chance we could be walking to the base of the climb until it’s clear.
Nonetheless, this is an opportunity to add a beautiful, non-strenuous hike through the heart of Olympic Valley to your Via Ferrata experience! This hike takes about 45 minutes, and with flowing waterfalls, lush greenery, and wildflowers in bloom along your path, you’ll enjoy this mellow hike up and find yourself at the base of the Via Ferrata before you know it.
On 4 hour tours, we won’t be able to walk off the top of the route from Tram Tower 1. Instead, we will be down climbing until the walk-off has been cleared. This gives our climbers more opportunity to climb, and may extend the time that they are out with us.
If you are interested in climbing during our early season operations, we may be able to book you earlier than June 24th! However, it will be fully dependent on the state of the Tahoe Via when we inspect it this May and the timeline of the Funitel maintenance.
What Happens Until Then?
Although we are getting a later start to our Via Ferrata season, we are stoked to continue skiing through the spring and into early summer! This spring will have epic skiing and climbing conditions. While we focus on digging out and setting up for an unforgettable climbing season, we’ll be waxing our skis and busting out our mountaineering equipment. Our current spring plans include preparing for a spring of mountaineering and skiing, climbing and skiing Mt. Shasta, and climbing on Donner Summit.
While the Via may be buried, we are stoked to start off the climbing season at local crags like Donner Pass and Lover’s Leap. These local rock climbing areas will become available sooner than than the Via Ferrata. We’ll continue to post updates about the status of the Via and local crags as the weeks go on.
Early Bird Offer
Book now during our early bird offer to all those wanting to book the Tahoe Via Ferrata this summer. To redeem 15% off all Via Ferrata bookings, use promo code “VIAEBO” at checkout now through the end of April.
If you have any questions about climbing, skiing, mountaineering, or Tahoe in general, feel free to give us a call at 877-873-5376 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are open 7 days a week from 8am-6pm and can’t wait to talk to you!