The classic North Summit of Mount Victoria in Canada, as seen from Lake Louise, is likely the most photographed peak in the world! This mountain climbing trip involves glacier travel, steep snow and ice, and some easy rock climbing to reach the summit. Though less frequently climbed and lower in elevation than the South Summit, the 11’000 foot North Summit offers superb views, especially at sunrise, of Mounts Lefroy, Temple, and Huber. Icefall from the hanging East Face glacier can sporadically be heard tumbling to the gorge below and reveals the power and grandeur of the Canadian Rockies from our safe vantage high above. Join us for an unforgettable adventure and the experience of climbing one of Canada’s most memorable 11’000-foot peaks.
Day 1: We will meet all guests at our Canmore office location at 11 am, where we will go over the objective and do a gear check before we travel to Lake Louise. Once in Lake Louise, we will begin our approach to our high bivy where we will spend the night perched next to the glacier and high above Lake Louise. The approach is to the bivy site is approximately a 3-hour walk that will take us by the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House and up the old Swiss Guides Trail. Our bivy site is at approximately 2400m where we will enjoy a fine meal and prepare for our objective the following day.
Day 2: This summit requires an early start and we will be aiming to leave the bivy site at first light. From the bivy, we will quickly reach the toe of the glacier and ascend it to below the more technical portion of the climb. Crossing the bergschrund can often be challenging before we head up the steeper snow slopes leading to the rock band guarding the col between North Victoria and Mt Collier. Views of Mt Lefroy and the horizon are unmatched during sunrise. Depending on conditions we can either climb a short rock band or traverse around it until the snow ridge is regained. The Northeast Ridge leads us to the small, rocky summit.
This is a challenging objective and guests should have prior intermediate mountaineering experience and a high level of fitness. You can expect to be out for a 10 –12-hour day on the summit day.
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.
Transportation while on the program is not included. We rely on guests’ personal vehicles to reach program locations. If flying in we recommend you rent a car from Calgary Airport.
Accommodation & Meals
On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 3- and 2-person weather-proof tents.
All meals, snacks, and drinks are supplied from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 2. For guests with dietary restrictions, we can modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, a surcharge may apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. 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.
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 and 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 camping and 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)
- Multiday pack* (55–65 litres)
- Daypack* (30-40 liters), (optional)
- Sleeping bag*
- Sleeping pad*
- Water bottle (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)
- 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
Additional gear info:
Backpack: It is possible to use just one multiday backpack (55-65 litres) if it is comfortable to wear while climbing. If bringing an additional day pack, this should be very light and compressible in order to fit inside the bigger pack on the approach hike.
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. 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.
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.
Includes guides, out-trip meals, use of specialized climbing gear and group camping gear, and bivy permit.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, Lunch on day 1, 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.
More climbing: Yamnuska guides and instructors are also available for private climbing in the Rockies and elsewhere before and after the program.
Is it for you?
This is a challenging objective and guests should have prior intermediate mountaineering experience and a high level of fitness. You can expect to be out for a 10-12-hour day on Summit Day.