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Routes in Upper Norquay Slab

Escargot Corner T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,407 total · 18/month
Shared By: ihategrigris on Mar 21, 2007
Admins: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra

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This route is super classic, and is likely the best route of its grade in Banff National Park. The climb has an excellent setting, a cool alpine atmosphere, no crowds and brilliant rock quality. The route is very similar in nature and difficulty to Diedre in Squamish, except without the people!

Pitch 1-2 (5.5, 95m): Scramble up the cool, solution pocked rock past two bolted belays.

Pitch 3 (5.6 35m): Climb up over a small overhang into the corner system. Lieback the corner to a bolted, semi-hanging belay.

Pitch 4 (5.7 45m): This long pitch is extremely sustained. Keep your bearings as you stem, smear and lie-back this difficult pitch. Good gear all the way up inspires confidence however.

Pitch 5 (5.5 40m): The angle eases off on the corner and it becomes broken. Traverse around and right of the broken sections and scree to a bolted belay.

Pitch 6 (5.7 45): Climb past another broken section and back into the corner system. There are mollusk fossils in the rock here, take care not to use them as holds as they are brittle. Climb to a two bolt belay and the top out.

Descent: Walk up left off of the top out ledge, then up and to the right until you end up on the ridge system, enjoy the great view of the Banff townsite. Walk down the ridge to a sharp drop off, there should be a boulder with a black chain wrapped around it. Rappel off the chain (double rope rappel) to easier ground. Scramble down the ridge until you reach the approach trail.


The route is the first right facing corner from the left on the upper Norquay slab.


Rack to #3 camalot, nuts, tricams. All anchors are bolted


Brice Pollock
on the road
Brice Pollock   on the road  
Tried to approach the lower slabs to add a couple more pitches to the day using the Banff Rock description. Description was great until it said "keep right as much as you can against the open hillside". Confused by this we hiked up the wrong ridge along a brushy gulley instead of the first large rocky drainage that we encountered. We needed to go up this rocky drainage.

Another thing that threw us off is that the slabs are on the East summit of Norquay. So if you're using GPS or a map to help route finding then don't make the mistake of heading too far left towards the main summit.

Also of note is there is public construction / maintenance in the area and what ever trails were flagged before could be masked by all the maintenance flagging. Anyways, we took the wrong ridge and spent a couple hours bush whacking. We did not climb this route that day. Jul 14, 2017
Amazing climb, don't approach from the ski area... Jul 6, 2016