Mixed ice climbing has emerged as the new frontier of technical climbing. Many of our guides are leading this charge and have several first ascents of mixed routes.
Climbing on rock and ice using ice tools in a method known as ‘dry tooling’, and this combination of techniques allows for some amazing routes to be climbed if you are properly trained.
The Canadian Rockies, within daily driving distance of Canmore, has become a hotbed of mixed climbing with climbers from around the world visiting to try their skills on our variety of incredible routes and crags.
Success on mixed climbs, even more than on regular ice climbs, depends on very good movement skills. Development of these skills is the primary objective of this mixed ice climbing course.
In addition to intensive coaching on movement skills, there will be instruction and review of all other aspects of rock and ice climbing techniques during the course.
Yamnuska’s guides are at the cutting edge of mixed ice climbing and in addition to having guide certifications, these individuals are also excellent coaches. You’re not paying to see the instructors climb well, you’re paying to learn to climb well yourself – and this is what differentiates us.
Mixed Climbing Course Agenda
Day 1: 7:30 am At Yamnuska Office & Local Climbing Area
- Welcome, introduction, goals and agenda.
- Issue and adjust gear.
- Head to climbing area.
After setting up top ropes on various climbs we will address the following:
- Review of safety measures (belaying etc)
- Specialized use of crampons and ice tools
- Movement skills and techniques
Our approach will be to explain, demonstrate then practice with coaching. This will take most of the day. Wrap up around 4.00 pm then return to Canmore.
Day 2: At Local Climbing Area
Continue technical climbing and coaching on more advanced climbs
- Lead skills
- Gear to use
- Clipping bolts
- Placing trad pro
- Assessing risk
Meeting Time and Place
The course begins at the Yamnuska office at 7:30 am on the first day of the program. The Yamnuska office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park. See this map for location.
Instructors and Group Size
The “Yam Ice Team” includes some of the best climbers and instructors anywhere! Enthusiastic and extremely talented, they hold climbing certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and from other International Federation of Mountain Guide Association (IFMGA) countries. Your safety and enjoyment are paramount to them. There will be a maximum of 12 students, a minimum of 4. Instructor/student ratios range down from 1:6.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore and during the program. Canmore is a 1hour (100km) drive west from Calgary.
If you are flying from afar for the program we suggest that you rent a car for your visit. In addition to getting you to the climbing locations it will allow you to explore our region a bit after program hours. For example you can visit Banff and enjoy the hot springs and sample the numerous restaurants.
Accommodation and Meals
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.
Food is not supplied. You will need lunch and something to drink each day. Each day bring plenty to drink and a lunch plus energy snacks. We particularly suggest bringing a Thermos and hot drink.
Yamnuska provides the following personal technical gear. Please feel free to bring your own items if desired:
- Crampons [Some items should have mouse-overs on the website. See “additional gear info”]
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
- Ice tools
- Belay device, carabiners, slings, ice clippers
We recommend you bring:
- Boots* (must be crampon compatible)
- Daypack* (30-45 litres)
- Lunch, snacks
- Thermos flask and/or water bottle (1-2 litres combined volume)
*These items are available for rent. Please advise us in advance.
There can be prolonged periods of inactivity in very cold temperatures throughout the course. Don’t be afraid to bring too much! 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 (heavyweight synthetic or wool)
- Socks (synthetic/wool blend)
- Softshell pants and jacket
- Midweight synthetic or down 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)
- Heavyweight parka (big enough to fit over all your other layers)
- 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
Additional gear info:
- Boots: A good pair of boots is essential. They need to be warm and crampon compatible. You are welcome to try the Scarpa Mont Blanc boots that Yamuska rents.
- Crampons: A good waterfall ice crampon will have vertically oriented front points and some have the option to switch to a single point for mixed climbing. We use the Petzl Lynx for our ice and mixed climbing programs.
- Climbing harness: A winter climbing harness should be sized to fit over your winter clothing. It is recommended to have a harness with a dedicated spot for an Ice Clipper or Caritool.
- Ice tools: It is important to have a tool with a curved hand grip at the bottom. For thin ice and mixed climbing it is much safer to have a hammer or nothing at all attached to the head of the tool, instead of an adze. For all around ice and mixed climbing, Yamnuska uses the Petzl Quark. For steep ice and advanced mixed climbing, Yamnuska uses the Petzl Nomic.
- Belay device: Many options exist for belay devices. Ensure that your device has two slots for ropes, to facilitate rappelling. We provide the Petzl Verso or Petzl Reverso on our multi pitch instructional programs.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require full payment on booking.
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.
$425 CDN covers instruction and use of technical gear, including boots. Accommodation and meals are not included but low cost, easy options exist which we can which we can tell you about. GST not included.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
You need to have previous rock and ice experience. In the Yamnuska context a minimum of Basic Rock and Basic Ice or equivalents. This program is physically demanding and a high level of fitness will contribute to enjoyment and achievement.
PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT US IF YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM!