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  Phone: 403 678 4164 - 1 866 678 4164

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Dates and Prices


$595 CDN includes instruction and use of technical mountaineering equipment.

Park fees, meals, accommodation, boot rentals (if required), transport, GST & gratuities are not included.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.

Is it for you?

This is a course for complete beginners. A 'hiking' level of fitness on steep terrain with a pack will best prepare you for the course. The two first days are relatively easy as instructional locations are close to the road.

If hoping to climb Mt. Athabasca on this course (assuming mountain conditions are safe) you must be very fit (Athabasca usually takes at least 10 hours & involves a height gain of 1372 m or 4,500 ft.). If not ready for Athabasca we will attempt another, more appropriate climb with you.

Any training you can do in advance, particularly hiking up steep terrain, will enhance your enjoyment of this program. No prior mountaineering experience is needed.

Mt. Athabasca Summit Day

For those who took this course before but didn't summit a peak on the final day and want another crack at a summit click here.

Snow and Ice Long Weekend

The Snow and Ice Long Weekend is an excellent, low commitment beginner course which introduces you to the world of mountaineering and mountain climbing. From here you can decide if mountaineering is for you and take one of our longer courses.

In this comprehensive 3 day introduction to general mountaineering, you'll receive instruction on techniques for travelling on snow and ice, and an understanding of safe glacier travel and crevasse rescue. You will learn the current mountaineering practices as well as gain an understanding of gear and equipment fit and use. We then practice your newly acquired skills on a summit bid on a classic peak on the Columbia Icefields.  These include Mt. Athabasca, Boundary Peak, Mt Wilcox and A2 to name a few.

This course is designed for people with no previous mountaineering experience but it might just ignite a life-long passion for mountaineering and the outdoors.

Course Agenda

We hope to give you an idea here of the type of activities you will be doing on this course. This agenda may be changed to accommodate weather conditions, climbing conditions and the ability / fitness of participants. Please note that conditions change in the area during the summer. Typically on the earlier season weekends it can be difficult to find ice as the glaciers are still covered by snow. By the end of the summer, however, it can be hard to find snow as it has largely melted. Thus we cannot guarantee that you will spend equal time on snow and ice but we will work hard to give you as much exposure as possible.


  • Meet at 9:00am for a course briefing (Icefields Campground Cook Shelter - see Logistics Tab).
  • Issue mountaineering equipment and crampons. If you bring your own equipment we will help you size it properly.
  • Head to nearby training area

(Bring your climbing boots to the fitting session as well as any climbing gear you have so we can check it out)

  • Mountaineering knots and harness use.
  • Snow school (at field site nearby) includes: movement on snow, use of ice axe, self-arrest on snow, belaying on snow.

Note: Much of this day is spent sitting in and sliding on snow. You will need waterproof gear (with dry clothing for later).


  • Meet at 8:00am to discuss the day's objectives
  • Ice school and crevasse rescue.  Includes: glacier morphology, crampon technique, low angle ice climbing , ice screw placement, roping up for glaciers, crevasse rescue techniques, ice anchors

Monday: Peak Ascent Day

  • Typically a 3:00am meet to begin the ascent day of a suitable peak.

This is an exciting and challenging opportunity to put new-found skills into practice on a big mountain. There are several options for climbing the 3491m (11,454 Ft.) Mt. Athabasca. Other peaks include A2, Boundary Peak and Mt. Wilcox. All are good introductory mountaineering challenges.

Mount Athabasca: First Ascent: August 17th 1898, N. Collie, H. Wooley, 11,453 feet, 3491 meters "Athabasca" is a Cree word believed to mean "where there are reeds and grasses"

The peak you attempt will depend upon the mountain conditions, the weather and your level of fitness.

We only attempt Mt. Athabasca with those fit enough and when conditions/weather permit. Should conditions mean that no peak is suitable we will schedule an extra day of instruction.

Expect a long but rewarding day for your summit attempt. We usually start very early (well before dawn) meaning you will be exposed to the incredible beauty of a mountain sunrise. These climbs are not too technical but require many of the things mountaineers must have: stamina, fitness, route finding skills and good judgment.

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