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Scale the Rockies, no mountaineering experience required. Seriously
24th September, 2014
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From where I’m hanging, on a sheer cliff face some 700 metres above the town of Banff, Alta., it’s clear that my scaling skills are about to be tested like never before.

Conquering Mount Norquay’s new via ferrata “is like climbing a series of ladders,” the ski resort’s website says. But I’m not scaling the brick walls of my Toronto semi here. Alongside an alpine guide and two other guests, I am making my way up and across 260 vertical metres of Rocky Mountain limestone – that’s half the height of the CN Tower – while tethered to a novice-friendly network of steel cables.

The first and only via ferrata in a Canadian national park is the centrepiece of Norquay’s revamped summer operations. These resumed in early June after a 25-year hiatus, with a double chairlift carrying sightseers, diners and climbers to the Cliffhouse Bistro, a Mad Men-era eatery with glorious panoramic windows, a menu of locally sourced cuisine and an avalanche-proof roof.

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