Along the Icefields Parkway, just North of Lake Louise, Mt Hector was the second Canadian Rockies 11,000 foot peaks to be climbed in 1895. Standing on the summit you will be following in the footsteps of some of the Canadian Rockies’ most famous mountaineers: Charles Fay, Charles Thompson, and Philip Abbot. Abbott wrote about the ascent in Appalachia “I have never seen anything which equaled the view from the summit of Mt. Hector, and I do not expect to see anything which will excel it…There was nothing visible but the unbroken wilderness of ice and snow and crag, an ocean without shores whose waves were mountain ranges.” During this trip you’ll enjoy a slightly more modern view of the breathtaking peaks, valleys, and icefields that surround you.
Mt Hector requires a good level of physical fitness. Most of the trip is non-technical with two exceptions. There is a long glacier walk up and down the mountain which does have some fairly large crevasses. This requires good visibility for route finding and navigation. The final section is a scramble to the true summit which does have some exposure. You will be roped up for this.
Day 1: We will meet all guests at our office in Canmore at 7:00am MST on the first day. We will check and issue gear and food and then head to the trailhead 19 km north on the Icefields Parkway, north of Lake Louise. The approach to our base camp will take us through creek beds, woods and into the open slopes before hitting our camp just before the peaks’ North Glacier.
Day 2: We’ll rope up as we head over the heavily crevassed glacier and continue the steady climb towards the peak. Several switchbacks up the steep snow slopes followed by a short scramble through the rocks lead us to the summit. Before descending we’ll take in the expansive views of the Wapta and Waputik Icefields. Once we return to base camp, we’ll pack up and continue our descent, heading back the way we came with memories of another successful adventure.
Cost:$545 CDN (based on a minimum of 2 participants)
Includes guides, Out-trip meals, use of specialized climbing gear and group camping gear.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, transportation, gratuities & taxes.
Departures can be set up on a private basis for individuals, families, or groups. We can organize a private departure and leave the trip open for more people to join. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure and we will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group’s size and trip options.
Guides & Group Size
Maximum guide to guest ratio is 1:4. Our guides are enthusiastic and extremely talented. They hold certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and we are licensed to operate in the area by the Province of Alberta. Maximum group size is 12, minimum 2.
Transportation is not included for this program. We will rely on guest’s vehicles to reach the trailhead.
Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Vehicle rental is available both in Calgary and in Canmore.
Accommodation & Meals
On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 3- and 2-person weather-proof tents.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff, including campsites, hostels, all levels of hotels as well as condo style accommodation with kitchens or suites. We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly. You can find information about accommodation options at http://www.tourismcanmore.com/accommodations/overview as well as on TripAdvisor.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
All meals, snacks and drinks are supplied from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 2. Mountain meals are made from lightweight ingredients. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, nut free or any similar type of single restriction menu requests there will be a $15/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $25/day surcharge will apply. For any 3 restrictions a $30/day surcharge will apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
Equipment & Clothing
The equipment and clothing you bring to this course will play a large role in the quality of your experience. Read the following suggestions and lists carefully. If you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to call or email.
Yamnuska provides group camping and climbing gear and the following personal technical gear. Please feel free to bring your own items if desired:
- Mountaineering ice axe
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
- Prussic cord, slings, carabiners
We recommend you bring:
- Mountaineering boots (must be crampon compatible)
- Multiday pack* (55–65 litres)
- Daypack* (30-40 litres), (optional)
- Sleeping bag*
- Sleeping pad*
- Water bottle (1-2 litres)
- Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
- Headlamp (with fresh batteries)
- Ear plugs
- Blister kit
- First aid items (Our guides carry a first aid kit, but you may bring your own Band-Aids and anti-inflammatory medication if desired.)
- Trekking pole (optional)
- Music player and lightweight reading material (optional)
- Plastic mug, bowl and eating utensils
*These items are available for rent. Please advise us in advance.
When mountaineering, it is important to be able to adjust for the changing conditions. We recommend bringing clothing that can be layered to achieve comfort as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet.
We recommend you bring:
- Long underwear top and bottoms (light weight synthetic or wool)
- Socks (synthetic/wool, at least two pairs)
- Light synthetic shirt
- Softshell pants and jacket
- Midweight synthetic or down jacket
- Heavyweight insulated jacket
- Waterproof hardshell jacket with hood
- Waterproof hardshell pants (should have a full length side zip so they can be put on without taking off boots and crampons)
- Gaiters (big enough to fit over large boots)
- Waterproof mountaineering or ice climbing gloves (at least two pairs)
- Warm hat that fits under a helmet
- Sun hat
- Running shoes or sandals
Additional gear info:
Backpack: It is possible to use just one multiday backpack (55-65 litres), as long as it is comfortable to wear while climbing. If bringing an additional day pack, this should be very light and compressible in order to fit inside the bigger pack on the approach hike.
Sleeping bag: We recommend a three-season bag rated to approximately -7°C. A down bag will be lighter and more compressible for the weight than a synthetic bag. A compression stuff sack is recommended to reduce volume.
Mountaineering boots: A good pair of boots is essential. They need to be warm and crampon compatible. Yamnuska uses Scarpa Mont Blanc boots.
Crampons: Mountaineering crampons should have anti snow-balling plates, and need to be compatible with your boots. We use the Petzl Vasak.
Mountaineering ice axe: Your ice axe should be 55-75 cm, and should be equipped with an adze. Yamnuska provides the Petzl Summit Axe.
Climbing harness: Should be sized to fit over your cold weather clothing. It is recommended to have a harness with a belay/rappel loop.
Climbing helmet: A comfortable, all around climbing helmet that can fit over your winter hat.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. Full payment is required at time of booking. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Canadian Cheques, Money Orders and Bank Drafts. Credit card payments are easiest, especially for international travellers.
We ask that you review our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
Private guiding options available. Please contact us to discuss this option.
Cost: See pricing notes under program agenda.
Is it for you?
This is a moderate objective, and while some previous glaciated mountaineering experience is required, this is a great trip for those trying to gain more summits and who have a moderate-high level of fitness