The Canadian Rockies is well known as a mecca for ice climbing on frozen waterfalls! With reliably cold conditions, the Canadian Rockies has a staggering amount of ice climbing routes that cater to every skill level.
The ‘Best of the Rockies’ program takes full advantage of Canmore and its surrounding area, pairing experienced ice climbers with our ACMG guides to climb some of the classic routes. Each winter provides a different set of challenges for returning guests with unique freeze/thaw cycles creating a virtually infinite array of conditions on even the most well-known climbs. The goal of this program is to get some coaching on skills and technique on day one, in preparation for the longer and more challenging, classic multi-pitch ice climbs the following two days!
Climbers will be paired with another person of similar abilities and objectives. This ice climbing package is the most economical way to participate in a guided trip that provides some skill development and mileage on multi-pitch routes.
The Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies is renowned for both great climbing and reliable conditions. We will be based in Canmore, close to climbs in Kananaskis, Banff National Park, and the Ghost thus offering varied climbing in spectacular locations.
Day 1: Meet at 7:00 am, for introductions and to go over gear. We will be spending the day at a single pitch venue developing your ice climbing technique with personal coaching on steep ice and multi-pitch systems.
Day 2: Today we will kick off our first day of multi-pitch climbing with one of the classic multi-pitch routes in the area at a 1:2 ratio, where you will really get to see what the Rockies has to offer!
Day 3: Today we will check another classic multi-pitch route off the tick list, consolidating your skills from the previous two days, at a 1:2 ratio. Muti-pitch routes are flexible, depending on your ability level and goals. Frequently climbed routes often include Louise Falls, Cascade Falls, Processor Falls, and Weeping Wall, to name a few!
Depending on the route, we may require that our guide and guests be equipped with avalanche equipment. Should this be necessary for your climb we will provide the avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel for you at no charge. If you have your own avalanche equipment it is recommended you bring it for this trip. If you are not familiar with how to use an avalanche transceiver, probe, or shovel, we will provide you with an introduction to companion rescue.
Meeting Time and Place
The programs begin at the Yamnuska office at 7:00 am. The Yamnuska office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
Instructors and Group Size
The “Yam Ice Team” includes some of the best climbers and guides 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. Day 1 will have a maximum group size of 6 and a minimum of 2. Instructor ratios range down to 1:2 for days 2 and 3 of the program.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore and during the program. Canmore is a 1 hour (100km) drive west of 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.
Please note that program venues may be within National Parks and/or Kananaskis Country. For programs where transportation is not provided by Yamnuska/Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska, guests will be required to purchase their own pass.
National Park passes are available both online at https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/admission and in-person at National park gates and some information centres.
Kananaskis Country conservation passes are available online at https://www.alberta.ca/kananaskis-conservation-pass.aspx
Accommodation & 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 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 equipment:
- 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)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Hand and toe warmers
*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
- Face mask
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 a 35% deposit upon booking with the balance due 8 weeks before the program start date.
Risk is an inherent part of all mountain activities. We strive to manage and reduce it however, it is impossible to totally eliminate. Learn more about our safety and risk management approach here. 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 travellers 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, 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 trip.
$1069 CDN includes 3 days of instruction and use of technical gear. Accommodation, local transfers and meals are not included but are easy to arrange. GST is extra. Gratuities not included.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Please note you will be required to sign the Yamnuska Release of Liability, and Waiver of Claims prior to commencing the program. Please review the sample waiver prior to booking and call us with any questions.
Is it for you?
Ice climbing can be a strenuous activity even though our coaching will emphasize the development of techniques to reduce the need for brute strength. The climbing will be tailored towards your ability and strength as much as possible. A high level of fitness will contribute to enjoyment and achievement. This program is suitable for climbers with previous ice-climbing experience and a strong desire for adventure.
PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT US IF YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM!