Frequently Asked Questions
We’re here to help, these are our FAQs
Via Ferrata is a trail or route‐making method used in the mountains to make passage easier and more secure. It’s done by a installing steel steps, handles, ladder rungs, and a steel cable in places where the trail steepens. Travellers are secured to the rock by wearing a harness that is always attached to the steel cable.
The Norquay Via Ferrata is designed to accommodate beginners seeking a taste of the alpine, and to accommodate folks who already have a little alpine experience.
The Norquay Via Ferrata is located on the cliffs above Mt Norquay Ski Resort at the top of North American Chair. In total there’s 450m of Via Ferrata and 1350m of trail.
Norquay’s Via Ferrata is a guided experience. Reservations are required.
No. For safety reasons, you must use a Norquay guide.
Via Ferrata operates from mid‐June through early October with route departures daily in both morning and afternoon.
Via Ferrata tours will be conducted in most weather. Routes may be shortened, delayed or cancelled due to Icy, snowy, or very wet conditions, and lightning.
The Via Ferrata starts at 2000m elevation and ascends to 2450m. On average it’s at least 4 degrees cooler than it is in Banff and there’s almost always a fresh breeze on the summit ridge.
- Weatherproof shell jacket/pants or soft shell jacket/pants (Don’t worry if you don’t have either of these items, Norquay has you covered with free rentals!)
- Warm layer(s)
- Small Backpack
- It’s a real mountain adventure so we recommend sturdy hiking and trail footwear (please refer to diagram below)
Harnesses, helmets and Via Ferrata leashes. Hiking boots and rainwear are also available. (if necessary)
If your equipment meets current CE and UIAA standards we’ll take a look at it. The guides need to be satisfied with the condition of your equipment. Please note: there is no discount for using your own equipment.
Provided they can collapse and be carried in your pack when you are on the Via Ferrata.
Yes, it is possible to scramble and mountaineer on the east slopes of Mt Norquay. Some scrambling and mountaineering routes on the east slopes of Mt Norquay are affected by Mt Norquay Resort operations, including Norquay Via Ferrata customers and the restricted‐access wildlife zones. Please help to manage rock fall danger to you and others by considering the route least exposed to Via Ferrata traffic, (shown below). Only Norquay customers in guided groups may use the Via Ferrata.
- Know the route before you start. You will definitely have more fun if you don’t get lost.
- Wear a mountaineering helmet and wear proper footwear, clothing and safety equipment.
- Be alert to rock fall from above, and travel cautiously to avoid triggering rock fall on other people below you.
This area is part of a suite of measures that have been put in place as part of the Mount Norquay 2013 Long Range Plan to work with Parks Canada to improve wildlife habitat in Banff National Park. For your safety and to allow wildlife to use the slopes undisturbed, we ask that you do not enter this area.
We do, however, invite you to come up to ride up on the lift and enjoy watching the wildlife frequently observed in this area! If you must enter this area, take safety measures for traveling in bear country including:
- Travelling in a tight group.
- Carrying bear spray.
- Moving quickly through the area.
Yes. This year we are trying a pilot program for a limited time where scramblers and mountaineers may purchase a lift ticket to ride to the Cliffhouse, and depart from the Cliffhouse when space is available between Via Ferrata groups . It will usually work best between 10:00 am to 10:30 am. Availability will vary. It can be coordinated with the Norquay Via Ferrata guides. This is to ensure safe travel for you and the guides’ guests. Call or email the Norquay via ferrata Guides Office for more information.
There is an age and weight restriction. For the Explorer and Ridgewalker, participants need to be 12 years old. For Skyline and Summiteer participants need to be 14 years old. For all routes the minimum weight is 40kg (88lbs) and maximum weight is 140 kg (308 lbs).
This is the Via Ferrata safety leash’s operational weight range as specified by the manufacturer.
The tour times are two, four, five and six hours returning to the Cliffhouse Bistro.
Unauthorized use of the Via Ferrata is trespassing. It poses dangers to other users.
UIAGM and ACMG Guides please contact the Managing Guide for details.
Please don’t down climb the Via Ferrata! Parties are ascending. Please follow the Via Ferrata descent trail and visit The Cliffhouse Bistro. You will need a ticket to ride the lift down.
Norquay and Parks Canada rescue specialists will respond using on‐site rescue caches.
Yes, you can fall. Your fall will be arrested by your leashes, which are attached to the steel cable. The whole point of the Via Ferrata is to reduce the probability of falling, and minimize the consequences should a fall occur.
Try the 2 hour Explorer route to get your feet wet. Itineraries can be shortened in unusual circumstances. It’s also possible to reserve private departures.
Absolutely! You can book a private departure by purchasing all the spaces.
Yes, provided the guide is happy with the harness fitting securely and not causing a safety issue.
Yes, the minimum group size is 2 people.
We require 48 hours notice prior to departure to cancel or change a tour without penalty. ie you have anytime up until 48 hours prior to your tour to cancel or change and receive a full refund, no questions asked. Any cancellations or changes within 48 hours, late-comers or no-shows for any tour, will not be rescheduled or refunded.
Group bookings of 9 or more guests, as well as custom and private booking have a 7 day cancellation period. Accommodation cancellation or changes require 30 days notice without penalty.
We or the supplier reserve the right to cancel tours or change location due to unforeseen circumstances. In the event of a cancellation on our part you will be refunded by Discover Banff Tours.
Discover Banff Tours can not be held liable for any injuries, losses or damages in any such way.
215 Banff Avenue, Main Level Sundance Mall
Box 1566, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1B5
Phone: 1 (403) 760-5007
Fax: 1 (403) 760-5051
Yes a waiver must be signed by all adult participants prior to going out on the Via Ferrata.
A waiver must also be signed by a legal guardian for all participants under the age of 18.
A copy of the waiver can be viewed here.
For more information or to make a reservation call
1 844 NORQUAY
1 844 NORQUAY