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  Phone: 403 678 4164 - 1 866 678 4164

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Dates and Prices


$1650 Canadian includes instruction, hut accommodation, Park Permits, out-trip meals, local transfer to trailhead and use of technical gear.

Not included: Canmore accommodation, boot rentals (if required), Gratuities & 5% GST.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.

Is it for you?

The peaks attempted on this course are of moderate difficulty and it is often appropriate to allow students the lead. You will need to be fit to a 'hiking' standard, as you will be traveling several kilometers of glacier each day, often having to break trail in soft snow. When possible, we will pre-place food and equipment in the Bow Hut to lighten the first day's load, however, you may still end up carrying 40lbs or more on the first day. Any training you can do in advance, particularly that involving hiking up steep terrain, will enhance your enjoyment of this program. No prior mountaineering experience is needed.

Intro to Mountaineering

This is Canada's premier beginner mountaineering instruction course.  For almost four decades our course has produced many dedicated mountaineers and has been the catalyst to life-long climbing friendships. Based out of the Bow Hut on the Banff National Park Wapta Icefields this comprehensive program is designed for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who want to get a solid grounding in the sport of mountaineering. The glacier and surrounding peaks will be our classroom for the duration of this course. Unlike other coursess, we provide food, hut accommodations, transport to the trailhead and group/technical gear - all you need to bring is your adventurous attitude!

Our course curriculum is constantly updated to reflect the most current mountaineering standards and practices. Our instructors are passionate mountaineers and educators who are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

During the day, build your skills and climb peaks. In the evening, share stories and lessons with your fellow mountaineers while relaxing in the comfortable Bow Hut.

This Canadian Rockies mountaineering course meets the prerequisites of most high altitude expedition companies who require their participants to have a basic mountaineering course prior to being accepted for an expedition.

"I can't praise this course enough - clearly Yamnuska is a premier outfit from excellent guides to a thorough understanding of how to introduce a beginner to this incredible environment - everything was top notch and highly professional. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the program to anyone. It is clear that your staff possess a passion for the mountains, an exceptional level of knowledge, a lack of ego, and patience with those of us who are just learning that inspires confidence and lays a foundation for a lifetime of adventure. Thank you so much!." Marnie, August 2012

Course Agenda

Day 1: We meet at the Yamnuska Office in Canmore at 8:30am for introductions, a review of course goals and itinerary and an equipment check. After packing up, it's an hour and a half drive north to Bow Lake where we commence the hike to Bow Hut, which is located at 2350m on a shoulder adjacent to the snout of the Bow Glacier. This will take us between 3 and 5 hours. We travel 7km and climb 400m.

Day 2 - 5: The Bow Hut is our base for the week. Its proximity to the glacier and to several peaks makes it easy for us to get out on to suitable instruction terrain every day. It's a perfect area for instruction. We may spend nights in one of the other huts in the region. Peaks often climbed on the course include Mt. Olive (3110m.), Mt. St. Nicholas (2900m.), Mt. Gordon (3200m.), Mt. Thompson (3050m.) & Mt. Rhondda (3110m.)

Note: From Day 2 the course agenda and the amount of time spent on each subject will depend upon conditions in the program area, the weather, group and individual abilities and learning speeds.

Day 6: Final day. An opportunity to review techniques before we hike back down to Bow Lake and return to Canmore in the late afternoon.


There is considerable flexibility built into the delivery of this course, no course is exactly the same. Snow and weather conditions will dictate the order of presentation to some degree given we are based on a glacier for the week. The course may also move over to other huts. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program.

Topics include:

  • Snow School: Movement on snow - Use of Ice Axe - Self Arrests - Snow Anchors
  • Ice School: Walking with Crampons - Ice Anchors
  • Glacier Safety: Glacier Morphology - Choosing a Safe Route - Rope Use for Glaciers - Crevasse Rescue
  • Navigation: Map and Compass Use - Whiteout Procedures - Route Planning
  • Safe Movement: Trail Techniques and Pacing - Use of Rope on Snow, Ice and Mixed Terrain
  • Accident and Emergency Procedures
  • CLIMBS!!! 'Introduction to Mountaineering' is a 'hands-on' course. Skills are explained, demonstrated in the field and then put into practice by participants during glacier crossings and peak ascents. Expect to be sharing the lead, solving route finding problems and fully involved in decision making.
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