What is Via Ferrata?

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.

Difficulty ratings:

French F‐PD

German K1‐K2


Where is it?

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.

Who can use it?

Norquay’s Via Ferrata is a guided experience. Reservations are required.

Can I go on my own?

No. For safety reasons, you must use a Norquay guide.

When is it open?

Via Ferrata operates from mid‐June through early October with route departures daily in both morning and afternoon.

What about weather?

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.

What do I need to bring?

● Weatherproof shell pant or soft shell pant
● Warm layer(s)
● Sunglasses
● Sunscreen
● Water
● Snack
● Camera
● Small Backpack
● It’s a real mountain adventure so we recommend sturdy hiking and trail footwear (please refer to diagram below)


What equipment is supplied?

Harnesses, helmets, Via Ferrata leashes and hiking boots (if necessary)

Can I bring my own harness and Via Ferrata leashes?

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.

Can I bring hiking poles?

Provided they can collapse and be carried in your pack when you are on the Via Ferrata.

Is it possible to access the eastern slopes of Mt Norquay for scrambling and mountaineering?

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.


What is the restricted – access wildlife area?

● 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.

Is access from the Cliffhouse available for scramblers and mountaineers?

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.

Is there an age or weight limit?

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 15 years old. For all route the minimum weight is 35kg (77lbs) and maximum weight is 140 kg (308 lbs).

Why the weight limit?

This is the Via Ferrata safety leash’s operational weight range as specified by the manufacturer.

How long are the trips?

The tour times are two, four, and six hour return trips from The Cliffhouse Bistro.

Can I go on the Via Ferrata without a ticket?

Unauthorized use of the Via Ferrata is trespassing. It poses dangers to other users.

I am a UIAGM or ACMG Guide. Can I bring my own party?

UIAGM and ACMG Guides please contact the Managing Guide for details.

What if I come over from Escargot Corner?

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.

First aid and rescue

Norquay and Parks Canada rescue specialists will respond using on‐site rescue caches.

Can I fall?

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.

Can I stop part way and turn around?

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.

Can I reserve a private experience?

Absolutely! You can book a private departure by purchasing all the spaces.

Can I climb the Via Ferrata if I'm pregnant?

Yes, provided the guide is happy with the harness fitting securely and not causing a safety issue.

Is there a minimum group size?

Yes, the minimum group size is 2 people.