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Time Needed

You will need a minimum of 2 days though we would strongly recommend at least 3. Of this time the 1st day will be taken in getting established in the Bugaboos, either at the Conrad Kain Hut or at the Appleby Dome Campground. It can be possible to do a climb of either Bugaboo Spire or Snowpatch and hike out the same day though we advise against it as any delay on the climb will make this very difficult to achieve.

We suggest at least 3 days. Day 1 for access, Day 2 for a bigger climb, Day 3 for a smaller climb and leave the area. The more time you have the more climbing you'll get done.

Climbing Season

Depending upon the vagaries of seasonal snow conditions it is usually possible to climb in the Bugaboos from late June until early September by when late summer snowfalls have often made technical climbs cold and icy. The optimum time is from early July to mid-August. In dry years the Bugaboo - Snowpatch Col, the easiest access route to Bugaboo Spire, can be threatened by rockfall by early August. When this happens it can limit which climbs we can do.

Bugaboos Climbing Guides

Bugaboo Spire is one of Canada's great peaks and our certified Bugaboos climbing guides know this area very well. First climbed in 1916 by Conrad Kain, it has been a treasured objective ever since. There are two classic routes. The S.E. Ridge, Kain's 1st ascent route still has a sting in its tail. Climbing the 5.7 slab on the Gendarme you'll wonder how he did it in hobnail boots. The N.E. ridge is one of the best lines on the continent.

Bugaboo Spire is surrounded by other spectacular spires, vertiginous Snowpatch Spire is a little lower but has fantastic technical routes for rock climbers. The W. Ridge of Pigeon Spire is one of the most enjoyable technical scrambles to be found anywhere and the smaller Crescent Spires offer enjoyable climbing at every level. Then there are the Howser Towers which dominate the entire group. One of the most famous climbs in the world, the Chouinard-Beckey route, is on the South Tower's west face.

This famed group of granite spires is found in the Purcell Mountains west of Canmore and Banff (3.5 hour drive) and can't be more highly recommended for those of you interested in high quality alpine rock climbing. It is served by an excellent alpine hut or you can camp in one of the most spectacular campgrounds known. This area is ideal for private and custom climbing programs from 3 - 7 days. It is also a great place to experience mountaineering with your kids (10 yrs. plus). Even the less famous routes offer amazing climbing objectives.

Choosing to climb in the Bugaboos is an exciting and incredible journey. Experiencing this climbers paradise cannot be described appropriately in words. Depending on your time allowance and climbing level, we have 3 to 7 day climbing itineraries that will not only meet your climbing objectives but also give you insight into the Bugaboos by one of our Bugaboos climbing guides. Everyone should climb in the Bugaboos! When you're not climbing, the hiking is spectacular so bring along your family to enjoy this other beautiful side of the Bugaboos. We recommend the following routes and spires:

Climbing Routes & Maximum Guide Ratios

  • Bugaboo Spire: This famous and spectacular spire defines the area. Climb the classic Kain Route (5.7) or  N.E. Ridge (5.8) (1:2). A Top 50 in North America!  
  • Snowpatch Spire: Once thought unclimbable has many technical rock routes including the S.E. Corner (v. long 5.7), S.W. Corner (classic 5.9) and the Krauss-McCarthy (5.8) (1:2).  
  • Pigeon Spire: 3114m. No matter what your climbing grade you have to do the W. Ridge which is one of the loveliest and enjoyable climbs out there (5.4) (1:2). A Top 50 in North America!
  • East Post: 2590m. Located just above the hut, the West Ridge is a fun scramble (great with the kids) or more challenging by the S.E. Ridge (5.6) (1:2).  
  • Donkey's Ears: 2850m. A scramble up distinctive spires with an unlikely, airy finish (5.5) by the S.E. Ridge (1:2) or an enjoyable 6 pitch 5.7 climb by the S. Face ('Ears Between') (1:2) 
  • Crescent Spires: 2900m. A series of small spires behind the Donkey's  Ears with some classic ridge climbing and some very nice multi-pitch rock routes such as Lions Way (5.6) and the  McTech Arete (5.10) (1:2).  
  • S. Howser Tower: c.3300m. W. Face Chouinard-Beckey line.  This superb 22 pitch route is best done with one guide per guest and it usually takes two days with a bivvy. Surcharges apply to this climb for which you must be comfortable and speedy seconding 5.9 and the occasional 5.10 (1:1). A Top 50 in North America!


Hiring a Guide:

Before proceeding, we must mention that we run one Bugaboos Granite 5-day guided climbing program each season. This offers the opportunity to climb on the Bugaboos Spires for the lowest per person daily cost.

When hiring a guide we quote you guide fees plus expenses. The guide fee is a daily rate, which varies according to the number of people per guide. Expenses you will incur include the cost of transportation for yourself and the guide to the Bugaboos, hut or camping fees and meals (for the guide also). We can customize a package for you that includes guide fees, guide expenses, and any extras such as meals, accommodation and rental gear.


These are our basic fees. Surcharges apply to climbs that are unduly long or serious such as the Chouinard - Beckey route on South Howser Tower.

Number in group Per Person / day
1 $525
2 $290
3 $225


Please contact the Yamnuska Office for 5 or more guests

The above prices do not include 5% GST (sales tax) or Gratuities


OTHER EXPENSES to consider

We do not usually supply transportation to the Bugaboos. We suggest you pick the guide up in Canmore on your way to the Bugaboos. If the guide has to drive up there to meet you a charge of $200 is applied. In the case where you cannot arrange transportation we may be able to do this (however we recommend you provide transport). 

The road into the park is a fairly well maintained logging road, however at certain times of year it can be difficult to traverse with a normal low clearance car. If renting a vehicle it is best to go with a full size, Mini-van or SUV with higher clearance. Overloading a small car is not recommended unless you allot for extra time on the drive in. 

If you stay in the Conrad Kain Hut the charge is $30 per night (we do not charge for the guide). Camping at Appleby will cost c. $8 per person per night.

Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos.
Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos.
James Blench photo.

Yamnuska can supply all your out-trip meals. Should you choose to supply your own we charge you only for the cost of your guide's food. We provide highly nutritous and light weight dehydrated meals prepared in our own commercial kitchen. We recommend you use our food system to minimize weight and to ensure you get maximum nutrition.

In planning your menu we will need to know of any special dietary restrictions or preferences you may have (e.g. vegetarian) and of any allergies you may have (e.g. shellfish). These special dietary restrictions incur an additional charge.

The following daily rates (GST not included) apply:

  • Guide only:                $35/day
  • Guide plus 1 person:   $90/day
  • Guide plus 2 persons:  $135/day
  • Guide plus 3 persons:  $180/day
  • Guide plus 4 persons:  $225/day
  • Thereafter an extra $45/day/extra person.

Food charges will be prorated where less than 3 meals are supplied in a day. Included in the charge is supply of group cooking gear (stoves, pots & pans).

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