Along the remote Icefields Parkway, on Highway 93 North of Lake Louise lays multiple lifetimes of ice climbing adventure. Routes in the area range from long, difficult, and multi-pitch to low commitment instructional single pitch venues. The Rampart Creek Hostel is positioned perfectly for an ice climbing camp adventure in a wild wilderness setting. The objective of this ice wall climbing camp will be to build a solid ice climbing foundation on the areas’ single pitch and multi-pitch ice climbs. The ice climbing camp near Banff is a combination of instruction and challenge on some of the best ice in the Canadian Rockies.
Day 1: Tangle Falls
Meet in Canmore at 7:00 am to check equipment and drive to the climbing site. We will review basic skills as we climb at this spectacular area overlooking Mt Kitchener
Day 2: Cline River Gallery
After a hearty breakfast, we will head to the Cline River Gallery or Balfour Wall area for a steeper climbing clinic. We will develop your climbing technique with personal coaching and you will see personal improvement throughout the day. We will also practice ice screw placement for the leader and removal for the second.
Day 3: Multi-Pitch Day
With a low ratio, we will tackle one of the classic multi-pitch routes in the area. The day will be tailored to the objective of the small team and could involve a longer more challenging climbing objective or more instructional routes to consolidate the skills learned the previous days. Examples of possible routes include Murchison Falls, Five Seven Zero, Polar Circus, Weeping Wall, Sniveling Gully, Melt Out, and Shades of Beauty.
The course is based out of Rampart Creek Hostel, along the Highway 93 Icefields Parkway. Expect to be travelling to different climbing areas along the Parkway.
Meeting Time and Place
The course begins at the Yamnuska office in Canmore at 7:00 am on the first day. The Yamnuska office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
Instructors & Group Size
The “Yam Ice Team” includes most 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. There will be a maximum of 12 students, a minimum of 4. Instructor/student ratios range down from 1:6 on initial days to 1:2 on the multi-pitch days.
To keep prices down participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore and during the program. Canmore is a 1hour (100km) drive west of Calgary. Park Entry Passes are not included in the program cost.
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 pools and sample the numerous restaurants.
Accommodation & Meals
During the program, we will be staying at the Rampart Creek Hostel which is operated by Hostelling International. The hostel is a Wilderness hostel – there are no television, wifi, or phones – the electricity is generated by solar power and there’s no running water. This is cabin-in-the-woods living and the lack of modern distractions inevitably facilitates the making of new friends and shared experiences and adventures. It features communal sleeping areas and a separate kitchen and living area. At the end of the day relax in the sauna.
Excess luggage can be left either at your hotel or our office.
Evening meals and hot drinks will be supplied by Yamnuska. Breakfasts, lunches, and trail snacks are NOT included but can be purchased with the full backcountry food package. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free, or any similar type of single restriction menu requests, there will be a surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 or more restrictions, an additional surcharge will apply. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
Food Package: Those taking the food package will have nutritious and delicious breakfasts, lunches, and trail snacks supplied. Meals are prepared by our in-house chef from fresh, nutritious ingredients. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. To minimize weight and the risk of you not properly planning food, we recommend the full meal package. The cost is $72 plus GST (a surcharge will apply for those with special dietary needs).
The following personal technical gear is available upon request. Please feel free to bring your own equipment:
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
- Ice tools
- Belay device, carabiners, slings
We recommend you bring:
- Boots* (must be crampon compatible)
- Daypack* (30-45 litres)
- Thermos flask and/or water bottle (1-2 litres combined volume)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks (evening meals included in the program)
*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
- Boots/Shoes (for the hostel in the evenings)
- Personal toiletries
- Face mask
- Book (evening reading material)
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 including tax at the time of booking. The final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the program.
We ask that you familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
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.
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.
$995 CDN includes guiding and instruction, hostel accommodation, evening meals (dinner), and the use of specialized group climbing gear.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, Transportation, Gratuities & 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST).
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
Beginner ice climbing and belaying experience are required.