Your Guide to the Via Ferrata
The Via Ferrata is an assisted climbing experience with cables and ladders built into the side of Mt. Norquay. You’re clipped in the whole way and will reach new heights and panoramic views with any of our routes. And, in case you’re a little nervous, we thought we’d mention that the cables can support up to 40,000kg which equals about 80 moose or 200 male grizzly bears. While falling isn’t encouraged, it’s definitely supported.
With four routes to choose from, you may need a little help choosing the best one for you. We’ve broken down the tours and your options here, so your biggest worry is what to order for your après.
On each and every one of our tours, your safety comes first. Our ACMG-certified guides are not only here to ensure you have the best memory of Banff, but also that you’re comfortable, and challenged, throughout the day. Never climbed a Via Ferrata before? Don’t sweat (or at least save it for the climb), no experience necessary!
Pack your sturdiest hiking boots, a water bottle, camera, and weather-appropriate clothing. Travelling between 2000 m and 2450 m of elevation, you’ll notice it’s a bit cooler than town and generally with a bit of a breeze, which is going to feel so nice after the workout on the climb up. We’ll provide you with a helmet, lanyard harness and carabiners, and of course the guide to lead the way. If you need extras like hiking boots, sunscreen, gloves, rain gear, and backpacks, we’ll get you sorted with our FREE rentals.
Without further ado – here’s your four options:
The Explorer is the best option for those who are pressed for time or just wanting to dip their toe. At 2.5 hours you cover 1 km distance and 145 m of elevation gain. It’s a great introduction to the equipment and what the Via Ferrata experience is all about. Using the cables, foot and hand holds, and even a suspension bridge, you traverse the lower section of the mountain and still get high enough for some stellar views of Banff.
Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 14 to September 8, 2019 at 9:00 am and 3:30 pm
Fall: Available 7 days a week from September 9 to October 14, 2019 at 10:00 am and 3:30 pm
Starting from the same take-off point as the Explorer, you’re not missing out on any of the route. In fact, you go an extra 0.4 km, which may not seem like a lot, but we assure you, it will make quite the impression on the vastness of your views. During the 4 hours, 1.4 km distance, and 260 m of elevation gain, you’ll surpass the Memorial, Sunrise, and Vista buttresses. After the suspension bridge, buttresses, and outlooks, you’ll hike along the summit ridgeline of Mt. Norquay, providing you with aerial views of Banff National Park – no helicopter needed.
Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 14 to September 8, 2019 at 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Fall: Available 7 days a week from September 9 to October 14, 2019 at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Are you experienced with Via Ferratas or crave a little bit of extra adrenaline? If so, the Skyline might be right up your alley. This 5-hour trip of 2.5 km distance and 290 m elevation gives you a chance to stretch your climbing muscles. You’ll take a totally different route than the Explorer and Ridgewalker tours, so even if you’ve done those before, it will feel like a brand-new mountain to explore. With an even longer and higher suspension bridge, you’ll get the chance to capture that envy-inducing Instagram shot.
Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 14 to September 8, 2019 at 9:30 am.
Fall: Available Saturday and Sunday from September 9 to October 14, 2019 at 10:30 am.
Alright mountaineers in-training, listen up, this one is for you. The Summiteer is the longest of the four routes and was introduced in 2017 along with the Skyline. With limited trips available on each route, you’ll be one of the few to complete this trip. Continuing on from the end of the Skyline, you’ll cross an additional three-wire suspension bridge, we like to call her “little spicy.” With nothing but a wire below your feet, it will feel like you’re floating above the clouds. Within 6 hours, 3.2 km of distance, and 360 m of elevation gain, you’ll have traversed sheer rock face, completed a planked suspension bridge and a wire bridge, climb an out-hanging ladder, and crossed an alpine ridge. To top it all off, you’ll be treated to a beverage and appetizer at the Cliffhouse Bistro post-tour, it’s a treat well deserved.
Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 14 to September 8, 2019 at 9:00 am.
Fall: Available Saturday and Sunday from September 9 to October 14, 2019 at 10:00 am.