Bank Run Park Manager
It seems like only yesterday that Dan Kaderly, Manager of Park Operations, was saying “Let’s build a via ferrata at Quarry Trails Metro Park” and everyone’s response was “what the heck is a via ferrata?!” Metro Parks was creating something so unique that we were starting from scratch on how programming would look on the via ferrata.
From what we’ve built this first year, we’re on track to do more than 80 programs with beyond 600 program participants, ranging in age from 14 to 72. The builders of the via ferrata recommended we follow an 8:2 climber to instructor ratio. The programs haven’t been advertised much because they are constantly filling up as quickly as they’re posted on metroparks.net. Interestingly, it’s not just attracting experienced climbers. The vast majority of climbers are able to successfully complete the route, oftentimes with minimal support from staff.
Just like any recreational activity, there are visitors who want to try an activity and sometimes reality has different plans. We’ve had about 20 participants fall into the category of starting and not finishing the route because of physical or mental reasons, or needing additional assistance from instructors. We carry backpacks with additional climbing gear.
When will the via ferrata course close for the season? This year, we’re thinking about offering programs up to December 15 (weather permitting) and we’ll reopen at the end of March.
I want to give a special shout out to the via ferrata instructor team. We started off the year not having much (aka none) via ferrata or via ferrata program experience. We took our time to do practice climbs, put together and tweaked our presentation, and program management. We’ve put together an experience that people are genuinely so happy to try and the feedback is constantly about how much they love the uniqueness of an experience Metro Parks has offered them, for free!
Quarry Trails Metro Park Manager Ryan Mader and his staff have been fantastic throughout this year. Everyone involved in the via ferrata has had a steep learning curve and Ryan’s team has taken the lead on maintenance climbs and been supportive and helped us figure out what works best. Plus, Quarry Trails has been storing the tubs of via ferrata gear in their tiny house maintenance trailer.
Dan Kaderly has been an instructor for programs and is luckily there to answer any climbing questions and help support us. My constant line at programs is “Have Fun! We’re the only people in the entire state of Ohio doing a via ferrata today!”
And finally, my thanks to all the members of the via ferrata instructor team: Caroline Frey, Travis Campbell, Macy Tallarico, Megan Harris (all from Outdoor Adventure); Shelby Watkins and Tony Jackson (Quarry Trails); Melissa Turpening (Bank Run); Ethan Anderson (Great Southern); DJ White (Scioto Audubon); Dan Kaderly and Stefan Bruch (Metro Parks Headquarters).