Intro Mountaineering

Challenge yourself on this 3 day mountaineering course while learning new skills and enjoying the high alpine environment of the Canadian Rockies!  This program is a great introduction to mountaineering skills and will be an unforgettable experience.  Join a small group of just 4 participants and a professional ACMG Alpine Guide while learning the skills for climbing mountains in the Rockies and around the world!  Along with learning as many mountaineering skills as possible we will also tackle at least one big peak and one smaller one at the spectacular Wapta or Columbia Icefields!  Most participants will choose to combine this course with a 2 day Glacier Travel Course immediately beforehand for an incredible 5 days of mountaineering!

Enjoying the spectacular summit of Mount Saint Nick on the Wapta Icefields during a mountaineering course.

DATES:

  • Sep 16-18th (FULL)
  • Sep 23-25th, 2024 (3 spots left)
  • Custom dates available on request for groups up to 6 people.

COST: $895 + GST

Max Group Size: 4

Prerequisites: Good hiking fitness for long days in rugged terrain, camping skills and completion of a Glacier Travel Course or similar experience.    Glacier Travel Courses are scheduled immediately beforehand and most participants combine them for a great 5 days in the mountains!  See below for more details about the prerequisites for this challenging course.

Meeting Place & Time:  For anyone not doing the Glacier Course we will meet at 5:30am on the first morning at the Icefields Tent Campground and will head out right away for a day of mountaineering!   The Glacier Travel Course beforehand will start at 9:30am at the same location 2 days earlier.

Book your spot: Please contact us at info@cdnalpine.com for a logistics package and everything you need to get signed up!  A non-refundable deposit of $300 + GST is required to book your spot (plus $150 for the Glacier Course if applicable) with the remainder due 6 weeks prior to the start of the course.  Reading and completing a Waiver form is required to participate in all courses or trips.  A copy of the Waiver will be provided to you before booking and can also be downloaded here: CRAG Waiver Form.  Before booking you must acknowledge that you have read & agree to the Waiver form. 

Scrambling and alpine rock climbing skills.

Skills Covered

The goals of this course are to have an inspiring experience while learning as many skills as possible to help you get out mountaineering!  The small group size of just 4 participants allow for lots of flexibility & custom instruction but some of the specific topics covered will include:

  • Glacier travel
  • Scrambling skills
  • Snow & ice climbing
  • Hazard recognition and management
  • Anchor building & belaying on snow, ice, and rock
  • Rappelling snow, ice and rock
  • Alpine rock climbing
  • Rock protection (trad)
  • Route finding
  • Ropework skills for mountaineering
  • Weather & avalanche basics
  • Conditions forecasting & assessment
  • Gear selection
  • Resources & ways to continue learning

Agenda

Weather, conditions and participants abilities will affect the order of activities and climbing objectives chosen.  In particular there are many other peaks we may attempt depending on conditions at the time.  However, here is a typical outline for the 3 days:

Day 1 – With the skills learned on the Glacier Travel Course we will jump right into climbing a mountain!  On this first day we will be tackling one of the smaller peaks at the Columbia Icefields so that we can focus on learning & practicing skills without having to feel too rushed.  That said, it will still be a challenging ascent with amazing positions & views throughout! 

Day 2 – Rock climbing & alpine rock skills. The day will be spent at a rock climbing area where we will learn the basic skills for rock climbing in mountaineering terrain.  This will include basic rock climbing skills, rock protection, anchor building, and various ropework skills.  We will also try out some rock climbing with boots & crampons, a common mountaineering scenario! For anyone who already has a rock climbing background we will be sure to build on your skills and introduce some new ones!

Day 3 – Alpine climb day!  We will attempt a big peak at the Columbia or Wapta Icefields which will involve glacier travel and lots of other exciting terrain!  This will be a long day with a pre-dawn start, often as early as 2:00am.  Current snow conditions and weather will help us decide which peak is best, but Mt. Saint Nicholas, Mt. A2, or Mt. Rhonda are the most likely options!

After a course debrief & discussion of how to continue learning we will say our goodbye’s and head home for some well deserved rest!

Prerequisites

  • Fitness: Although not quite as physically demanding as our 5 day Alpine Skills Courses, the Intro Mountaineering Course is still a challenging few days in the mountains with not a lot of time for rest. Therefore, the biggest prerequisite is good physical fitness. The longest day may be up to 12 hours of hiking & climbing with 25km of distance and over 1000m (3000ft) of elevation gain & loss. 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 (we will be in road-side campgrounds, not backcountry) & such so that we can focus our energy on the climbing.
  • 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 Intro Mountaineering Course and most participants combine the two courses for an awesome 5 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 & clothing. Contact us (info@cdnalpine.com) for a registration package which includes a detailed gear list.

Mountaineering Course in the Canadian Rockies. Banff, Alberta.