Did you know that ‘Via Ferrata’ means Iron Road in Italian? A popular experience at Canadian mountain destinations in the summer season, guests can expect to take in breathtaking views and a series of pitches and ladders high above the alpine landscape…
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we pulled up to the Norquay parking lot on a hazy day in July. Our friendly hosts and master mountaineering guides (Emma and Kevin) signed us in for the Explorer Route and got us suited up with helmets, gloves and the rigorously tested safety harnesses we would need to for the adventure. They assured us that all of the ladders and cables we’d be bolted to were 100% secure and pretty much part of the mountain-side we’d be scaling.
The air grew cooler and jackets were required as we ascended to the Cliffhouse on the chairlift, our feet dangling over the lush summer greenery of Norquay. Once at the top we were given the opportunity to try our hand at a mini-version of the route. We were shown how to clip and unclip from the cables safely and after practicing on a short series of climbing holds and a ladder, we were prepped and ready to go.
Part of the route could be walked without any assistance at all. During these sections, laughter and chit-chat filled the mountain air, and we were educated about the alpine flora and fauna and regaled with tales of climbing heroics. Other parts of the route required all your focus and attention as we navigated steeper pitches, clipped and unclipped ourselves to the cabling, and shouted encouragement to each other from along the cliff-side. We stopped at naturally flat and safe platforms for snacks and refreshing gulps of water. None of us could stop talking about the views. Seriously. Even on a hazy day, the vista took my breath away.
Did I mention the views?! I have never seen Mount Rundle from the vantage point provided by Via Ferrata at Norquay before and it quite literally took my breath away. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire adventure. I’m not a climber, but I felt well-taken care of, and never out of my comfort zone. Of course, I was informed that if I had a penchant for a little more adrenaline in my system, I could progress from The Explorer Route and come back and give The Ridgewalker Route a shot.
Oh yes. I’ll be back!
If you’re looking for stunning vistas and a breath-taking way to get some exercise and experience the glory of Banff from above (way above) then I highly recommend Via Ferrata Norquay.
Here’s a rundown of the options on offer:
Short on time? This is the perfect choice to give you a taste of Via Ferrata. You’ll experience several pitches, a suspension bridge, and all of the stunning glory on display. Tour is 2.5 hours.
Click to see tour times, dates and booking info for The Explorer.
To get a greater feel for heights, exposure and the full Via Ferrata experience, become a Ridgewalker! This route is a half day excursion that takes you high up on the Norquay cliffs, climbing Memorial, Sunrise and Vista buttresses and of course traversing the suspension bridge.
Click to see tour times, dates and booking info for The Ridgewalker.
Find out more or book a Via Ferrata over the phone by giving us a shout at 1.877.902.1616. Our Destination Experts will be happy to help you!
If you're looking for accommodations in the area, you can also view our wide selection of Canmore and Banff vacation rentals online.