Have you ever climbed a mountain? Not hiked it, but actually climbed it? You can in Banff National Park at the Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay. Via Ferrata is an assisted climbing activity just outside the town of Banff, Canada. If you’ve ever fancied going mountaineering or rock climbing (but were too scared to try), this is the activity for you.
Ready for epic thrills? This is the Banff Via Ferrata!
Banff Via Ferrata
First, the basics. Before you tackle the Banff Via Ferrata, you may want to know (as I did), what Via Ferrata means. It’s Italian for iron road. During the war years, they fastened iron rungs to the mountain face, forging a trail so troops could quickly get through the Alps.
Safety first! You’ll be clipped in the entire time.
It’s a popular activity in Europe, but there are precious few Via Ferratas in Canada. Luckily, there’s now one outside the town of Banff.
I loved it so much, I went twice!
Mount Norquay Via Ferrata
Several Via Ferrata routes are open at Mount Norquay each summer. If you can climb a ladder, you can so do this. It’s like getting all the thrills and views typically reserved for elite climbers, but with all the safety features.
You have to wear a helmet, harness and lanyard, which connects you to the iron cable. Don’t have all the gear? Don’t worry! Mount Norquay provides guests with boots, a rain jacket, rain pants and even a backpack if you don’t have one.
You can walk in off the street and still be able to do it. Snacks and water (and other beverages) can be purchased on-site before your climb.
There are many Via Ferrata routes to choose from. Each with their own features and challenges.
You clip your carabiner into the cable, then you climb. Clip, climb, clip, climb. Easy peasy, just like that. It goes without saying the views are just incredible.
You can see all the way to Lake Minnewanka and down both ends of the Bow Valley from your route. Here’s a few pictures to give you a better idea of what it’s like.