Climbing with Training Wheels
The AP writer, Dylan Lovan, describes the via ferrata (Italian for "iron way") scene around Red River Gorge, Kentucky, where Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure has a six-section course opened in September 2001. Here are a few other places where you can try out via ferrata:
Smuggler's Notch, Vermont: Just around the corner from some top ice climbing spots, this resort hosts via ferrata adventures during the summer around the Brewster River Gorge.
Ogden, Utah: Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park, part of the Ogden series of climbing parks run by Jeff Lowe, built a via ferrata route a few years back.
Nelson Rocks Preserve, West Virginia: Climbers 13 and older can pay $50 for access to and gear for this via ferrata course, which opened shortly after Torrent Falls, in 2002.
Of course, you'll have to check the weather. And via ferrata isn't for everyone. As Rock and Ice's Duane Raleigh told a New York Times reporter in 2006: "Via ferratas make remote, craggy regions that were formerly accessible to very few people accessible to just about anyone. If the goal is to make the mountains easy for everyone, then via ferratas are good. But, in my opinion, they represent the sterilization of the wild lands."