Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides - Alpine Skills Training in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada.

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Box 40087
Canmore, AB
T1W 3H9

[About our Guides]
[Prices & Booking]

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"Thanks a lot for the courses! They were great.... I learned tonnes, and they far exceeded my expectations. Thanks for putting so much effort into your teaching/leading and sharing so much of the Rockies!"
Colin - Vancouver, BC

Alpine Skills Course Blog postings:
June 2010

August 2010

June 2011

5 Day Alpine Skills Course - mountaineering training in the Canadian Rockies with ACMG guides.
Alpine ice & snow at the Columbia Icefields

Dates 2021:

  • Sep 13-17th (FULL)
Dates 2022:
  • Jun 13-17th, 2022 (4 spots left)
  • July 11-15th, 2022 (4 spots left)

Cost: $1245 + GST - includes guiding & equipment use.
Maximum Group Size: 4
Custom Dates: Custom courses of any length are available May - October for groups of 1 to 8. Inquire for pricing.
To Register: Please e-mail us for a registration package. A non-refundable deposit of $350 is required to book your spot on this course, with the remainder due 4 weeks prior to the start date.

CRAG's 5 day Alpine Skills Course is the perfect way to kick start your mountaineering career! This challenging course will be run with a small group of just 4 keen participants and one guide. This small group size allows all team members to learn the skills that are most relevent to their goals & abilities. Under the direction of the guide, everyone will participate in the decision making, route finding, leading, and all the other skills required to safely climb mountains. A unique aspect of this course is that there will be at least two attempts on major Rockies peaks, climbs that would not be possible with a larger group!

Below is some more information about the course but if you have any questions please contact us at at any time.

Learning alpine rock climbing skills during a mountaineering course.

Skills Covered

There are many possible topics and we pride ourselves on having small enough group sizes to customize the instruction to meet the needs of all participants. The main goal of the course is to help participants become self-sufficient in a variety of mountaineering terrain. Some of the specific topics covered will include:
  • Alpine rock climbing
  • Glacier travel
  • Snow & ice climbing
  • Anchor building & belaying on snow, ice, and rock
  • Rapelling snow, ice, and rock
  • Rock protection
  • Route finding
  • Ropework skills for mountaineering
  • Weather & avalanche basics
  • Conditions forecasting & assessment
  • Map & navigation skills
  • Light & fast techniques
  • Gear selection
  • Resources & ways to continue learning
Day 1 of our mountaineering course - glacier travel at the Columbia Icefields.


Weather, conditions, and participants abilities may affect the order of activities and climbing objectives chosen. However, here is a sample outline of the course:

Day 1 - Glacier travel circuit at the Columbia Icefields. Participants will have chances to lead the rope team and participate in decision making. Along the way we will practice some ice climbing, more advanced crevasse rescue, navigation, anchor building, and many other skills. The night will be spent at the Columbia Icefields Campground.

Day 2 - Mt. Athabasca attempt! Athabasca is one of the best climbing peaks in the Canadian Rockies and has been many climbers first big mountain. This will be a long day with a pre-dawn start. See our Mt. Athabasca page for pictures & information. The most likely route we will climb is the Silverhorn but of course it depends upon snow & weather conditions. The night will be spent at the Columbia Icefields Campground, or you can choose to book a room at the Saskatchewan River Crossing resort or Rampart Creek Hostel.

Day 3 - Rock climbing & alpine rock skills. The day will be spent at a rock climbing area where we will learn the basics of rock protection, anchor building, ropework in alpine terrain, and doing some rock climbing. We will also practice climbing rock terrain with boots & crampons, a common mountaineering scenario! The night will be spent camping near the Saskatchewan River Crossing (45 minutes from the Icefields), or you can choose to get a room at the Saskatchewan River Crossing resort, David Thompson Resort, or the motel or hostel in Nordegg if you prefer.

Day 4 - Progression of alpine rock climbing skills. We will continue improving the skills from the day before and while doing a bunch of climbing will also learn rescue skills, rope ascending, multipitch descents, and other ropework techniques. In the afternoon we will prepare for our final mountain of the week!

Day 5 - Alpine ascent! There are a few different mountains we may attempt on the final day. The choice of peaks will depend on conditions, everyones interests, and the weather, but the most common one is another fun & challenging peak at the Icefields known as "A2". This peak is a bit smaller than Mt. Athabasca but is more challenging with a complex glacier, a rocky ridge, and two pitches of climbing snowy rock with our crampons and mountaineering axes. It's a great way to put all the new skills into practice and leads us to a spectacular rocky summit with excellent views! The descent will involve some downclimbing, possibly a rappel, and then reversing our tracks across the glacier.

Alpine rock climbing in Kananaskis


  • Fitness: The Alpine Skills Course is a very physically demanding week in the mountains with not a lot of time for rest. Therefore, the biggest prerequisite is good physical fitness! You don't need to be an Olympic athlete but you must be able to complete long days on your feet while carrying a light pack. If you are unsure about your abilities, please contact us at any time.
  • Outdoor Experience: All participants must have basic hiking, camping, and general outdoors skills. You need to be comfortable being self-sufficient with all the camping & such so that we can focus our energy on the climbing.
  • Scrambling Experience: All participants must have hiked or scrambled at least a couple of mountains so that you have an idea of what is involved fitness-wise for mountaineering in the Rockies. Small peaks such as Ha Ling or East End of Rundle are just fine, although be aware that the peaks we attempt during the course will be much longer and more demanding!
  • Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue: All participants must have basic glacier travel & crevasse rescue skills including experience with crampons. A 2 day Glacier Travel Course is scheduled immediately prior to the Alpine Skills Course for those without previous experience. Almost all participants combine the two courses for an awesome 7 days in the mountains!
  • Climbing Experience: No previous technical climbing experience of any sort is required. However, if you do have some climbing skills, the small group size will allow plenty of opportunities to improve & learn new techniques!

Gear List

All climbing gear is provided free of charge except for mountaineering boots. Contact us for a registration package which includes a detailed gear list.

Multiday mountaineering course near Mt. Cline

Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides (CRAG) - - Canmore, Alberta, Canada