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I had hit rock bottom. Except it wasn’t really the bottom, more like the north face of Terminator Peak at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia. In a continual effort to conquer my fear of heights, I had once again placed myself in a precarious situation high above ground — this time, dangling 1,525 feet on the side of a jagged cliff by what felt like only a carabiner.
I was climbing a via ferrata (which means “iron path” in Italian), a protected climbing route on which adrenaline junkies maneuver their way along a mountain on steel steps, handles and ladder rungs while secured via a harness to a steel cable. With origins in Italy’s Dolomites, there are now many via ferrata courses all around the world, from Switzerland and Africa to Utah, China and Iceland.
And here I was on one of the newest courses (prices range from $129 to $169 per adult), half-frozen in fear. Thankfully, my expert guide, Lisa, adeptly gauged our group’s anxiety level and kept our spirits high — and us in motion.
After about two hours, we reached the top of Terminator Peak, and I let out the breath I had been holding the entire time as I took in expansive views of Golden, the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia River Wetlands. I had conquered the mountain. Now, it was time for a strong drink — or three — from the safety of the resort’s 7,700-foot-high Eagle’s Eye Restaurant.