June 27, 2014 5:40 pm

Mount Norquay’s new via ferrata offers sky-high views of Banff

BANFF, Alta.- A highlight attraction has opened in Banff, just in time for the long weekend.

After 10 years of opposition, negotiations and planning, a via ferrata has opened on Mount Norquay. Meaning ‘iron road’ in Italian, the via ferrata sees visitors clipped into a series of cables and ladders, used to climb to the top of the mountain.

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“You start your experience in the town of Banff, then take our shuttle bus, and then not too long after you climb up a mountain and stare at the town you were just in,” explains Andre Quenneville , general manager of Mount Norquay.

The 1.3 kilometre loop affords glimpses of Mount Borgeaux to the west, and Spray Lakes to the south.

“When it’s all on paper you never know how’s it’s going to turn out, but when you see it it’s pretty amazing to have these kinds of exposures and in a safe environment,” Quenneville adds. “It’s pretty fantastic.”

The project was not without its share of controversy. It’s along an important wildlife corridor, especially for threatened grizzly bears, and some worried the new attraction would bring more traffic to the area.

“As part of the approval for via ferrata, Norquay has been implementing a transportation plan and ensuring there’s no impact on wildlife movement,” says Dave McDonough, superintendent of Banff National Park.

As a result, the area is closed to hikers.

The new via ferrata is part of a rebuild at Norquay, which will also see the iconic Cliff House reopen its doors after nearly 25 years.

 

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