Mt. Andromeda sits on the Continental Divide at the east end of the Columbia Icefields. Neighbouring the often climbed Mount Athabasca, Mount Andromeda stands at 11,319 feet (3450 metres) and has an unobstructed view of the Columbia Icefields.
Skyladder is the classic Alberta mountain climbing route on this peak arcing up to its summit ridge. First climbed in 1961, Skyladder involves glacier travel and 40-45-degree snow and ice climbing with excellent views of the Athabasca Glacier to the north and the Saskatchewan Glacier to the south.
Please note that if our scheduled climbing dates don’t work for you, you can still enjoy this summit mountaineering trip. We would be happy to organize a more convenient time for you with up to two climbers. Please contact our office to arrange.
Day 1: Meet your guide at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office at 4:00 pm (MST). Please bring all of your gear with you. We’ll ensure that everyone is properly equipped, distribute any gear on loan or rent, and discuss the route. We’ll then drive up to the Columbia Icefields Campground and prepare for the day ahead of us.
Day 2: An early morning start (approx. 3:00 am) allows us to enjoy the incredible beauty of a mountain sunrise. Traversing right on moraines below the NE Face amphitheatre, we slowly gain the lower and heavily crevassed glacier to traverse the bench that will take us to the bottom of the Skyladder route. After crossing the bergschrund, we begin the steepest section of snow and ice climbing that will lead us to the South Ridge and the summit traverse. Reaching the top of Mt Andromeda, be sure to take in the breathtaking panorama with views of Mounts Columbia and Bryce in the distance. Our descent will take us along the East Ridge down to the AA col from where several rappels take us down to the bergschrund. After crossing the bergschrund, a walk across the glacier takes us to the Snowcoach road and our walk out.
Guides and Group Size
The maximum guide to guest ratio is 1:2. Our guides are enthusiastic and extremely talented. They hold certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and we are licensed to operate in the area by Parks Canada. The maximum group size is 4, minimum 2.
Transportation is not included in this program. We will rely on guests’ vehicles to reach the trailhead.
Canmore is situated 100 km (65 miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20 km west), and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Vehicle rental is available both in Calgary and in Canmore.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore.
Accommodation and Meals
Camping on night 1 at the Columbia Icefields Campground is included in the cost. Meals are not included.
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.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
Equipment & Clothing
The equipment and clothing you bring to this course will play a large role in the quality of your experience. Read the following suggestions and lists carefully. If you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to call or email.
Yamnuska provides group climbing gear and the following personal technical gear. Please feel free to bring your own items if desired:
- Mountaineering ice axe
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
- Prussic cord, slings, carabiners
We recommend you bring:
- Mountaineering boots* (must be crampon compatible)
- Daypack* (30-40 litres), (optional)
- Sleeping bag*
- Sleeping pad*
- Water bottle (1-2 litres)
- Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
- Headlamp (with fresh batteries)
- Blister kit
- First aid items (Our guides carry a first aid kit, but you may bring your own Band-Aids and anti-inflammatory medication if desired.)
- Personal toiletries including hand sanitizer
- Trekking pole (optional)
- Music player and lightweight reading material (optional)
- Personal camping equipment including cooking equipment, plastic mug, bowl, and eating utensils
*These items are available for rent. Please advise us in advance.
When mountaineering, it is important to be able to adjust to the changing conditions. 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 (lightweight synthetic or wool)
- Socks (synthetic/wool, at least two pairs)
- Light synthetic shirt
- Softshell pants and jacket
- Midweight synthetic or down jacket
- Heavyweight insulated 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)
- 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
- Sun hat
- Running shoes or sandals
Additional gear info:
Daypack: For single day climbing trips your pack should be 30–40 litres.
Sleeping bag: We recommend a three-season bag rated at approximately -7°C. A down bag will be lighter and more compressible for the weight than a synthetic bag. A compression stuff sack is recommended to reduce volume.
Mountaineering boots: A good pair of boots is essential. They need to be warm and crampon compatible. Yamnuska uses Scarpa Mont Blanc boots.
Crampons: Mountaineering crampons should have anti-snow-balling plates, and need to be compatible with your boots. We use the Petzl Vasak.
Mountaineering ice axe: Your ice axe should be 55-75 cm, and should be equipped with an adze. Yamnuska provides the Petzl Summit Axe.
Climbing harness: Should be sized to fit over your cold-weather clothing. It is recommended to have a harness with a belay/rappel loop.
Climbing helmet: A comfortable, all-around climbing helmet that can fit over your winter hat.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require full payment on booking. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Electronic Transfer, Money Orders, and Bank Drafts. Credit card payments are easiest, especially for international travellers.
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.
Private guiding options are also available. Please contact us to discuss this option.
$635 includes guided climbing and instruction, camping fees, and the use of specialized group climbing gear.
Not included: Transportation, Canmore accommodation, gratuities, or Sales Tax.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
More climbing: Yamnuska guides and instructors are also available for private climbing before and after the program.
Is it for you?
Guests signing up for this climb require previous experience with glacier travel and moderate angled ice climbing. Excellent fitness is also required.