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Mountaineering & Climbing

Mountaineering & Climbing

You tested the hand hold, then carefully moved your feet up to a small ledge. Place hand, move feet. Place hand, move feet. A series of movements, repeated over and over as you steadily ascend the ridge. Now you stand, just below the summit, and pause to look around. An emerald lake toed by the white of a glacier nestles itself in the valley far below. The protruding spines of other mountains extend into the horizon around you. The beauty and power all around you is overwhelming, yet at the same time so calming and grounding. Climbing might be the most visceral way to experience the magic of these mountains.

It is mind blowing to think that the rocks of Banff National Park’s rugged mountains were once submerged by the ocean. Today, the mountains loom up 3000 metres overhead, bursting from the ground all around you in dramatically rugged peaks. It is difficult to ignore the overwhelming desire to get out and immerse yourself in the midst of the awe-inspiring terrain. 

There are many ways to explore climbing and mountaineering in Banff & Lake Louise, regardless of your level of experience. Build your confidence at the indoor climbing wall of The Banff Centre’s Sally Borden Climbing Gym, or try the exhilarating Via Ferrata adventure on the steep bluffs of Mount Norquay. For more experienced or confident thrill-seekers, join a guide and take on the technical ridge lines and glaciers of iconic peaks like Mount Columbia or Mount Temple. 

Via Ferrata

Italian for the ‘iron-way’, Via Ferrata is a great option for enthusiastic adventurers that want to try climbing and mountaineering in a safe but exciting environment. Via Ferrata uses a fixed anchoring system of cables and ladders to help you climb the mountain. No climbing experience is necessary - if you can climb a ladder, you can take on the Via Ferrata! 

Before you know it, you’re scaling across sheer limestone faces and up buttresses that seem to hover over the town of Banff far below  -Susan Nerberg & Caitlin Walsh Miller, Air Canada Enroute 

Mount Norquay offers 2.5, 4 and 6 hour Via Ferrata tours

Indoor Climbing

If you’re a newcomer to the sport of climbing, there is no better way to begin than by learning and refining your skills in the safe and controlled environment of an indoor climbing gym. Open to the public daily, the climbing gym at the Banff Centre offers self-directed climbing as well as lessons.

Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, and Ice Climbing

There are a variety of climbing disciplines that can be explored in Banff National Park year round. In the summer, the rock climbing on limestone cliffs is excellent, as is the mountaineering on surrounding glaciated peaks. In the winter, the ice climbing in Banff National Park is regarded as some of the best in the world. 

Although learning the ropes can be intimidating, there are many guides available to lead day trips and courses to teach you the skills necessary to embark on these adventures.