june 21-23, 2024
46K • 23K • 11K • VK • iron face
TRIPLE CROWN • IRON crown • KIDS RACE
IRON FACE CHALLENGE
Friday, June 16, 2023
610m/2000' vertical gain
Flag color: Yellow
Iron Face Challenge Overview
A unique and unforgettable mountain running event, the Iron Face Challenge travels 5.75-miles and climbs approximately 2,000 vertical feet. From the valley floor, it traverses and climbs the most extreme terrain at Palisades Tahoe and is the first event of its kind in North America! Due to the extreme technical nature of the event, the Iron Face Challenge is limited to only 50 participants.
Iron Face Course Specifics
The Iron Face Challenge blends three distinct and challenging types of mountain adventure running: uphill, downhill, and scrambling on a Via Ferrata. The first is a 1.75 mile/830-foot uphill singletrack section that starts next to the KT Sundeck. The second section of the race, the Tahoe Via, is a protected climbing route with permanent steel anchors and cables that keep runners safely connected to the rock at all times. This “via ferrata” section ascends the Tram Face, an imposing and pronounced granite cliff that towers above Olympic Valley. The Tahoe Via section is .35-miles long and has just over 600 feet of climbing.
As runners ascend the second section of the Iron Face Challenge (the Skyline Traverse), they will encounter chimneys, exposed ledges, and the highlight, a 30-foot long suspension bridge that is only passable via a single foot cable! After topping out on the Tahoe Via, participants will then enjoy a smoking 3.7-mile downhill to ring the iconic Broken Arrow Skyrace bell at the finish line.
The Iron Face Challenge is a time trial event. The fastest overall time wins. Runners will start in predetermined time slots or waves (TBD) to avoid crowding on the upper sections of the course. Start times will be assigned by a runner's ranking on Ultrasignup.com. While passing is allowed on the uphill and downhill sections, passing is NOT allowed (or even physically possible) on the Tahoe Via for safety reasons. Certified Tahoe Via guides will be stationed along the entire route.
This is a true adventure race that combines running and pseudo-rock climbing. Accordingly, the Iron Face Challenge will test the mountain mettle of any runner.
The Iron Face Challenge costs $225. The race entry includes rental equipment for the Tahoe Via, as well as best-in-class swag.
In addition to standard running footwear and apparel, participants will be required to wear a rock climbing helmet, harness and lanyards during the via portion of the Iron Face Challenge. Please note that poles are strongly discouraged while gloves are recommended. These items will be waiting for participants at the base of the Via, whereby guides from Alpenglow Expeditions will assure correct fit and safety needs. Think of Tahoe Via Ferrata as an assisted climbing activity. It transforms once complex and impassable terrain into a fun and accessible course.
Alpenglow Expeditions has equipped the rock with ladder rungs, steel steps, and suspension bridges to allow climbers to move through challenging terrain. Each route also has a steel cable anchored into the rock which runs up the entire route from start to finish.
Each participant is issued a harness with a specialized lanyard that attaches to the cable. This system achieves two goals. First of all, it ensures that participants are connected to the rock 100% of the time. Secondly, it makes climbing a big cliff accessible to people with no prior climbing experience. Runners will drop their rock climbing equipment after topping out on the Via.
PLEASE NOTE that there is a mandatory pre-race meeting at 9am at the
Alpenglow Expedition offices near Starbucks.
DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE EQUIPMENT USED ON THE TAHOE VIA,
PARTICIPANTS MUST WEIGH 88 POUNDS AND BE 18 YEARS OF AGE
TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EVENT.
THERE ARE NO ROLLOVER, REFUNDS, OR PARTIAL CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR THE IRON FACE CHALLENGE. PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN OF YOUR ABILITY TO JOIN THE EVENT IN JUNE.
You can find more information about the Tahoe Via HERE.
FAQs about the Tahoe Via are explained in-depth HERE.
A Quick History of Via Ferrata
Via Ferrata may be new to Tahoe, but its origins are actually quite old. Via Ferrata, Italian for “iron way,” originated during the first and second World Wars. In order to aid troops in crossing the high peaks and passes of the Alps, the rock was retrofitted with steel ladder rungs and cables. The steel “aids” made the challenging terrain accessible to soldiers with no prior climbing experience. After the wars, nobody bothered to remove the leftover hardware from the rock and eventually recreationists began climbing the old routes for fun.
Just like that, a new sport was born!
There will be water available at the base of the Via Ferrata but no formal aid stations or supplies. Accordingly, please come prepared with any needed hydration or nutrition needs.