Ice climbing is one of the most exhilarating sports you can do! Whether you’re a family, an individual, or a group of friends, you’re sure to have a blast with a waterfall ice climbing lesson. The best ice climbing in the world is found in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, from Banff to Canmore to Lake Louise and we invite you to experience it for the first time. Yamnuska’s ice climbing guides can help you get started, so don’t miss out!
We offer full and half-day ice climbing lessons for beginners. Experience this fun and active sport under the guidance and instruction of our professionally certified guides.
This is a fun family or group activity that is designed to challenge you but leave you wanting more ice! We provide all of the equipment so you just show up, get fitted with gear and we go climb some ice. This waterfall ice climbing tour will appeal to anyone looking for an active winter adventure. We consistently hear that our ice climbing lesson for beginners from us is the highlight of a trip to the Canadian Rockies.
Yamnuska guides and instructors are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and are among the best in their field. In addition to technical excellence, they are great communicators and coaches. They are members of a guiding team that shares current conditions and technical tips on a daily basis. Staff training and mentoring by our most senior guides ensure uniformly high standards for all of our guides. This is unmatched in the industry. Located in Canmore, Alberta in the heart of the Canadian Rockies Ice we have extensive experience as ice climbing guides for virtually every ice route in western Canada.
Daily Ice Climbing Lesson Locations
There are several great ice climbing locations that can be readily accessed for daily lessons or trips from our office in Canmore, Alberta Canada. They include:
Grassi Lakes: “The Junkyards” 10 minutes drive from Canmore followed by a 20-minute walk. A great spot for first-time ice climbers and those wishing to brush up on skills.
King Creek: 40-minute drive from Canmore in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Good beginner location for a full day of climbing with some challenging short climbs to finish on.
Johnston Canyon: 20 minutes drive west of Banff. Good for steep ice climbing practice.
Haffner Creek: 40 minutes drive west of Banff. Excellent variety of steeper climbs and mixed climbs.
Guides & Guide Ratios
The “Yam Ice Team” includes some of the best ice climbing guides 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.
The maximum guide to client ratio is 1:6
Meeting Place & Time
Unless otherwise specified we will meet you at the Yamnuska office at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location. The meeting time will be set when you make your booking. Generally, half-day programs begin at 7:30 am and 12:00 pm. Full-day programs begin at 7:30 am.
Transportation is not included but may be available on certain days. Clients generally provide transportation for the guide. If there is a vehicle available, Yamnuska can provide transportation for a pick-up in Banff or Canmore for a surcharge. For larger groups requiring a 15-passenger van, transportation charges will be greater. Please inquire with the Yamnuska office staff.
For insurance reasons, guides cannot transport clients in their personal vehicles. We suggest you rent a car while in the area. If a guide has to drive beyond Canmore to meet you for the climb additional fuel charges apply.
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
If climbing in Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, or Jasper National parks daily entry fees apply. These are approximately $10/day per client and can be obtained on entry.
Most people stay in Canmore if here to ice climb, this is most convenient. Otherwise, you can stay in Banff or Lake Louise. In this case, you will be charged for the guide’s gas expenses for driving to meet you.
What you need to bring
Lunch & Snacks
These are not included save by special arrangement. Make sure you bring plenty of high-energy snacks plus plenty to drink. A Thermos with a hot drink is a good idea.
Clothing & Equipment List
Technical equipment is included in the price.
There can be periods of inactivity in very cold temperatures. Don’t be afraid to bring too much! We suggest bringing light clothing of varying thicknesses that can be ‘layered’ to achieve comfort and versatility. The most important consideration for clothing is the ability to regulate temperature as you change from periods of activity to periods of rest. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet. Skiwear works well.
We suggest you bring:
- Long underwear (top & bottom), synthetic or wool.
- Warm pants (pref. insulated or fleece)
- Warm shirt (not cotton)
- Fleece Jacket (heavyweight)
- Insulated jacket or vest
- Waterproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex or nylon)
- Socks (wool outer & polypro liner)
- Wool or fleece hat that will cover ears & fit under a helmet
- Waterproof climbing gloves &/or mitts plus spares.
- Knee-length Gaiters
- Neck tube.
- Daypack (large enough for spare clothing, your lunch & climbing gear e.g. rope & crampons).
- Thermos flask and/or water bottle (full!)
- Sun cream
- Hand Sanitizer
- Face Mask
If bringing your own gear you will need to bring: (We will supply if you do not have your own)
- Mountaineering boots (plastic or synthetic)
- Crampons (Must fit your boots or be easily adjustable)
- Climbing Harness
- Climbing Helmet
- Ice tools
To book guided climbing you must call or email our office. Registration requires a deposit of 35% of the cost or, for trips of three days or less, full payment. The balance of payment is required eight weeks before trip commencement. Should you cancel more than eight weeks in advance of the trip, a $105 cancellation fee will apply. Cancellation between six and eight weeks before trip commencement will mean a loss of your deposit. Cancellation less than six weeks before trip commencement will result in a loss of all payments made.
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.
To book or enquire about guided climbs:
Call 1 866 678 4164 (Canada, US only) or +1 403 678 4164 (other countries) or 403 678 4164 (local)
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.
When hiring an ice climbing guide we can quote you for the following costs: guide fees, transportation, and park entry fees when applicable. In addition, we may be able to price local accommodation, lunches, and snacks. Goods & Services Tax & gratuities not included. Our basic rates include guiding fees and gear only. Our cutting-edge equipment is selected to best enhance your experience. Key items are replaced annually with the latest models.
6-7 hours climbing with modern gear included (boots, crampons, ice tools, harness & helmet). GST is extra.
1 person – $695
2 people – $400 per person
3 people – $300 per person
4 people – $250 per person
5 people – $225 per person
6 people – $200 per person
3 hours of climbing with modern gear included (boots, crampons, ice tools, harness & helmet). GST is extra. “Junkyards” location only.
1 person – $575
2 people – $335 per person
3 people – $255 per person
4 people – $215 per person
5 people – $190 per person
6 people – $170 per person
Please advise us of the age of any minors in your group. Depending on age and height/size we may not be able to accommodate very young children. We can generally accommodate children 10 years of age and older when accompanied by a parent. The minimum shoe size must be men’s size 5 (Euro size 35).
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?
Our ice climbing program is suitable for total beginners. Ice climbing can be a strenuous activity but our instruction will emphasize the development of the technique to reduce the need for brute strength. You need no previous experience.
Yamnuska guides and instructors are also available for any private ice climbing trips.