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Mountaineering skill development is best done through a progression of training and time in the mountains. Beginner skills focus on basic travel and safety techniques in non-committing terrain and progress to steeper and glaciated areas. Beginner curriculum focuses on safely walking with crampons, the use of an ice axe, self-arrest and proper fitting of gear such as a harness and crampons. Rope work and knowledge of common mountaineering knots are fundamental to skills development and progression to more exposed terrain. Good mountaineering skills cover a broad range of terrain such as snow, ice, glaciers and rock. This means a comprehensive knowledge of rope work, anchors and protection are required in addition to the variety of gear to manage these systems. This may sound complex and daunting to the average person, but in most cases, skills are transferrable across the different terrain and gear types. With good instruction, time to practice and experience in the mountains most beginners can quickly progress to more intermediate and advanced objectives.

There is probably no other adventure sport in the world that attracts more media attention than Mountaineering. For a variety of reasons, mainstream media and people who have never climbed appear to be fascinated with either achievement or accident. Mountaineers are often labelled as irrational thrill seekers willing to put themselves and others at risk just to tag a summit. Many high profile accidents highlight the fact that a large number of people attempting to climb high elevation peaks have little to no technical experience or training.

Mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies is done at a moderate level of elevation by world standards. The highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies stand at just under 4,000M with excellent training objectives around the 3,000M range. Many peaks in the Yukon are well over 5,000M. Considering there are 14 mountains in the world that top out at over 8,000M, the Canadian Rockies mountains provide an excellent venue for someone’s first exposure to climbing at elevation. While the Canadian Rockies are not as high when compared to the world’s tallest peaks, many mountains are highly technical and remain test-pieces for some of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers.

Our mountain environment is very well suited to the skills development and progression from the beginner to a highly accomplished alpinist. With an enviable combination of glaciated terrain, transitional terrain, and steep or low angle faces, objectives and training areas are limitless.

Mountain environments can be harsh and unforgiving but when conditions are right, there is no more serene or authentic natural environment. Many climbers feel a deep connection with the mountains and develop unmatched feelings of achievement as a result of their accomplishments. Getting to the top of a mountain often tests a person both physically and mentally so its no wonder accomplishments become very significant for many mountaineers. As a result, experiences and connections in the mountains can be deeply personal.

The summer mountaineering season in the Canadian Rockies typically runs June through to October. This is highly dependent on snow levels and other conditions. We have experienced significant recession of our glaciers in the past several years because of low snow packs and hot summers and as a result the mountain environment is very dynamic. Developing the skills to recognize changing hazard conditions are critical to safely climbing in any mountain environment. At any time throughout the mountaineering season, avalanche hazard may be a consideration in the mountains. While not a prerequisite for our programs, independent mountaineers should have avalanche training.

Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has a near 40 year history of training and mountain guiding in the Canadian Rockies originally operating at the Yamnuska Mountain School. In the early years, our company history was focused less on the European method of ‘just guiding’ and was more focused on training climbers so they could explore the mountains safely on their own. We remain a premier provider of mountain skills instruction at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels in addition to providing high quality mountain guiding services. We have had the privilege of training thousands of mountaineers throughout our 40 years of history with many of our clients becoming mountain guides, highly accomplished alpinists or capable weekend warriors. Whether you want to just try mountaineering or have a very specific plan, we can help you get the mountain experience you need or want in a supportive and fun environment. We are recognized around the world as being a premier North American training company. Most expedition companies or high altitude guiding organizations recognize our programs as high quality skills courses and recommend their clients obtain training from us prior to being accepted on a trip.

Beginner Programs

We offer a variety of options for the beginner from weekend courses, week long courses and private training programs.

The next step: Intermediate & Advanced Programs

Our intermediate and advanced programs cover a wide geography and range of objectives. Some programs are more instructional with others being guided climbs. We also offer training for those more interested in expeditions.

Canadian Rockies 11'000ers

With 6 unique and scenic peaks to choose from, these climbs are some of the most incredible routes that the Canadian Rockies have to offer! We offer something for every experience level; easy, moderate and advanced peaks.  

Fast & Light Series

Our new 'Fast and Light' series climbs are an exciting addition to our long list of trips.  They have been designed for experienced climbers who are looking for classic objectives requiring a short time commitment.  Climbs in this series have been selected for their quality and aesthetics and should be on all mountaineers' tick lists.

Semester Programs

Yamnuska Mountain Skills Semesters are the ultimate mountaineering training option, the initial step for many of our guides. Spend 1 - 3 months learning every aspect of mountaineering, summer and winter!

Canadian Semesters - Every spring and fall

Summer Mountaineering Semester - Our most comprehensive rock and mountaineering summer course