Along the Icefields Parkway, just north of Lake Louise, Mount Hector was the second Canadian Rockies 11,000-foot peak to be climbed in 1895. Standing on the summit you will be following in the footsteps of some of the Canadian Rockies’ most famous mountaineers: Charles Fay, Charles Thompson, and Philip Abbot. Abbott wrote about the ascent in Appalachia “I have never seen anything which equalled the view from the summit of Mt. Hector, and I do not expect to see anything which will excel it…There was nothing visible but the unbroken wilderness of ice and snow and crag, an ocean without shores whose waves were mountain ranges.” During this guided climbing trip, you’ll enjoy a slightly more modern view of the breathtaking peaks, valleys, and icefields that surround you.
Mount Hector requires a good level of physical fitness. Most of the guided trekking tour is non-technical with two exceptions. There is a long glacier walk up and down the mountain which does have some large crevasses. This requires good visibility for route finding and navigation. The final section is a scramble to the true summit which does have some exposure. You will be roped up for this.
We will meet all guests at our office in Canmore at 3:00 am MST on the day of the climb. We will check and issue gear then head to the trailhead 19 km north on the Icefields Parkway, north of Lake Louise. This climb takes about 10 – 12 hours, so please come prepared for a full day out in the mountains with lots of snacks, a lunch, and appropriate clothing and footwear. The initial approach will take us through creek beds, woods, and into the open slopes before hitting the peaks’ North Glacier. We’ll rope up as we head over the heavily crevassed glacier and continue the steady climb towards the peak. Several switchbacks up the steep snow slopes followed by a short scramble through the rocks lead us to the summit. Before descending we’ll take in the expansive views of the Wapta and Waputik Icefields. We will then begin our descent, heading back the way we came with memories of another successful adventure.
Departures can be set up on a private basis for individuals, families, or groups. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure and we will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group’s size and trip options.
Guides & 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 the Province of Alberta. The maximum group size is 6, minimum 2.
Transportation is not included in this program. We will rely on guests’ vehicles to reach the trailhead.
Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km 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.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodations and 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
We supply group and personal climbing gear such as ropes, harnesses, and ice axes. You must bring your own personal gear, clothing and general equipment. If you arrive without the appropriate clothing and gear for the day your guide may require that you not attend without reimbursement. Read the following suggestions and lists carefully. If you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to call or email prior to your departure.
Yamnuska provides the following personal technical gear. Please feel free to bring your own if desired:
- Mountaineering ice axe
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
We recommend you bring:
- Light mountaineering boots or mountaineering boots* (must be crampon compatible)
- Daypack* (30-40 litres)
- Lunch, snacks
- Water bottle (full!)
- Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
- 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.)
- Trekking pole (optional)*
*These items are available for rent. Please advise us in advance.
When scrambling in a high mountain environment, 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:
- Mountaineering boots
- Socks (synthetic/wool)
- Light synthetic shirt
- Softshell pants and jacket
- Midweight synthetic or down jacket
- Heavyweight insulated jacket
- Waterproof hardshell jacket with hood
- Waterproof hard-shell pants
- Midweight gloves
- Warm hat that fits under a helmet
- Sun hat
Additional gear info:
Mountaineering boots: A good pair of boots is essential. They need to be warm and crampon compatible. Yamnuska uses Scarpa Mont Blanc boots
Daypack: For single-day climbing trips your pack should be 30–40 litres.
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 55-75cm 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
Helmet: A comfortable, all-around climbing helmet that can fit over your winter hat.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. Full payment is required at the time of booking. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Canadian Cheques, Money Orders, and Bank Drafts. Credit card payments are easiest, especially for international travellers.
We ask that you review 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. 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.
Cost: $410 CDN
Includes guides and use of specialized climbing gear.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, transportation, gratuities & taxes.
Departures can be set up on a private basis for individuals, families, or groups. We can organize a private departure and leave the trip open for more people to join. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure and we will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group’s size and trip options.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
This is a moderate objective, and while some previous glaciated mountaineering experience is required, this is a great trip for those trying to gain more summits and who have a moderate-high level of fitness