The Copper Canyon Tram

Post by Steven Dale

Mexico's Copper Canyon Tram. Image via the LA Times.

Yesterday, the LA Times reported on the world’s newest aerial tram, Mexico’s Copper Canyon Tram. According to the article, when at their highest, cabins are 1475 feet (450 meters) above the ground – 50 meters shy of being half a kilometer off the earth!

If those figures turn out to be true (and I see no reason why they wouldn’t be), this would therefore be the highest aerial ropeway system in the world, eclipsing the previous record of 436 meters held by Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak.

Built for just $29.4 million USD, this 2.73 km long system has a per kilometer cost of just $10.75 million USD and demonstrates just how quickly cable is changing. After all, the Peak 2 Peak held its height record for less than 2 years.

The last ten years have shown how quickly cable systems can innovate, advance and push the envelope. It will be exciting to see what changes the industry has in store for us in the next ten years.

(Update: Please see comments below, as it appears the Copper Canyon Tram reaches an above-ground height of only 200m, not the 450 as reported by the LA Times.)

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  1. From the outside looking in this tourist attraction looks great and would be good for Mexico's declining tourism with all of the drug related violence, but what people do not see is the ugly side of it, the human rights violations. There are 203 Tarahumara families that have been negatively affected by this project. One of the most affected communities, Mogotavo, the Tarahumara have been told to move so that a luxury hotel and restaurant can be built. In three other communities families are being threatened and forced to leave their ancestral lands with no compensation for their loss to make way for an extreme sports complex. My family and I live in Creel, we hear and see the other side of the coin. We build clean drinking water systems for the Tarahumara in remote mountain villages. For more information on what is really happening, read the full story here:http://www.elagora.com.mx/Robaron-y-desalojaron-a-vecinos.html and here:http://oaxacalibre.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2820:proyecto-turistico-intenta-despojar-a-raramuris-de-la-tarahumara&catid=38:informacion
  2. Based on the Doppelmayr literature I have received, the system is a true aerial tram, with a total length of 2750m, and no intermediate towers. The maximum vertical height is only 200m, and not 450m (as reported elsewhere). Trip time = 6 min Cabin capacity = 60 Capacity per hour = 510
  3. Sean, Thanks for this. Do you have any links to that literature?
  4. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to pass along the specific literature (hint: I work for DCC), but most of these facts are out there in one form or another in the public domain. It should be noted that there are tentative plans to expand the system to travel another 2.5km further down into the canyon. This might be where some of the confusion about intermediary stations comes from.
  5. Sean, Strange that the LA Times would make such a glaring error. I'll leave the post as is (don't want to seem revisionist) and keep the update directing people to our conversation. Thanks!
  6. This is very alarming. I was down in that canyon where the gondola now will go to less than a year ago. It seemed like we were at the ends of the earth far from the modern world and all of its ills. Now the dorky tourists will be traipsing down into this pristine world with their bermuda shorts and burger king wrappers. What a shame.
  7. Steve, I can't really comment on that, I know absolutely nothing about the situation you describe. What I do know, however, is that bermuda shorts are indeed horrible.
  8. Just came back from Copper Canyon, and took the tram, which is a marvel. As reported, over 2.7 km, single span, terminates on a pinnacle in the middle of the canyon. There will be no 'traipsing' down onto the floor of the canyon from the tram terminus. There are three observation platforms, restrooms, and the tram platform. The 'pinnacle', if that's the right term, is a sheer-sided projection out of the bottom of the canyon, and there is no way to get off of it except to go back on the tram. The views are incredible, cost is 250 pesos per person-pretty reasonable.
  9. Jack, Thanks for this. Two things: What do you mean by "terminates on a pinnacle in the middle of the canyon"? Do you have any photos? Feel like doing a guest post?
  10. Do you know where we can get a time schedule for the tram? Thanks
  11. @ robert micklick, I'd assume you can find time schedules for the tram on it's website.

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