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Is it for you?

This is a challenging trip for mountaineers who have minimal camping experience and are in good hiking shape. Expect expedition weight packs of up to 55 pounds. There will be multiple days of travelling over 10 km with elevation gains of up to 900 meters. Mountaineers on this trip should have previous glacier travel experience as well as intermediate snow, ice and rock climbing skills. This trip is not suitable for beginners.


Understanding the prerequisites should help with your training throughout the summer. In terms of technical skills in relation to Yamnuska courses, we recommend a minimum of Intro to Mountaineering and one of our intermediate guided peak ascent programs (Yoho Peaks or Lake Louise Classics) before joining us for this expedition. You should also have a good level of fitness and be prepared for 5 continuous days of travel in the mountains with a heavy pack. Please review the itinerary section and be both physically and mentally prepared for the trip.

Mount Forbes Expedition

At 3,612m (11,851 ft) Mt Forbes is the 5th highest peak in Alberta and is the highest peak completely in Banff National Park. With its remote position on the continental divide, Mt Forbes is a true alpine climbing expedition. For budding mountaineers and aspiring alpinists, this is a perfect opportunity to develop your expedition skills and climb this great summit. In addition to gaining valuable field skills, during this program you will spend a day with our experienced guides doing all pre-expedition planning and logistics.

This trip is an excellent choice for adventurers looking to learn the skills involved in successfully planning and completing mountaineering expeditions.

Objectives & Curriculum:  This program is designed to prepare participants to plan and complete this and future mountain expeditions. Mountain conditions will dictate the order of presentation to some degree. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program to meet the needs of participants and conditions. This will be a hands on participant lead trip with guidance from a professional Guide.

Topics include:

  • Food preparation and packing
  • Equipment preparation for mountain expeditions
  • Trip planning
  • Mountain weather
  • Navigation & route planning
  • Backcountry medical issues & emergency response
  • Navigation & route planning
  • Backcountry camping and cooking skills
  • Mountain hazard awareness emphasizing hazard recognition and management
  • Decision making process
  • Route finding in mountain terrain
  • Glacier travel
  • Roped climbing on steeper snow/ice and rock
  • Completing a planned expedition! You will find yourself in the lead, solving route finding problems and using new skills to navigate and live in glaciated terrain
  • Mountaineering skills to gain rewarding summits!

Day 1: Our first day will cover the pre trip planning skills required for successful mountaineering expeditions. This will be held in the Yamnuska office in Canmore starting at 8am. We will be looking at our objective in detail and be planning food, equipment needs, tenting and cooking groups, navigation and time plans and doing hazard evaluations for the following day. We will also cover emergency procedures and pack for the trip.

Day 2: The expedition starts! We will drive the 2.5 hours to Saskatchewan Crossing where we will begin our approach to Mt Forbes via Glacier Lake. The trail past Glacier Lake is around 15 km and has only minor elevation gain. This will be a long day with full packs on our backs. We will be using navigation, pacing, camping and cooking skills on this day.

Day 3: Expect another big day into a very remote part of the Rocky Mountains. This will be one of the most challenging days of the trip with a 10 km hike and 900m of elevation gain. This remote area will require off trail route finding and navigation as well as some cold creek crossings. Our campsite will position us for our attempt on Mt Forbes. 

Day 4: Summit day! With an alpine start we will approach the West Ridge of Mt Forbes. The route will involve steep snow climbing of up to 40 degrees and occasional steps of easy rock scrambling. This will be done with the use of an ice axe and crampons. Reaching this rarely visited summit and enjoying the endless views in all directions will be a great reward.

Day 5: We will retrace our steps to the head of Glacier Lake. Back packs will be lighter for our return trip to this established campground.

Day 6: A short day of hiking will return us to Saskatchewan Crossing and our vehicles. We will drive back to Canmore for the course close and debrief.


Cost: $2350 CDN per person (based on a minimum of 2 participants) Trip cost includes certified guide, out trip meals, group camping and technical mountaineering equipment, park entry and wilderness passes. You will need to bring adequate clothing and equipment for a backcountry expedition. GST is extra. Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.

Please contact the office to organize this trip.