Mount Fay sits proudly above Moraine Lake and offers excellent and varied climbing from the approach right up to the summit. Climbing first through solid quartzite bands we then access the steep limestone pitches that lead to the Fay Glacier. A short walk across the glacier leads to the snowy chutes and the interesting and exposed summit ridge of Mt Fay. We typically base ourselves out of the Neil Colgan Alpine Hut for multi-day trips but with an early enough start we can go right to the top of Mt Fay or Mt Little. The hut offers a great base for the backdrop of the impressive Valley of the Ten Peaks and Lake Louise group including Mt Temple. Multi-day summit mountaineering trips offer a lot of flexibility and the opportunity to climb more than one route on Mt Fay or to summit Mt Little as well. The west ridge of Mount Fay or the north face routes are all very accessible right from the hut and depending on conditions and the time of year are all excellent objectives.
Mt Fay was first climbed during a guided ascent in 1904 by Christian Kaufmann. The highly technical East Face of Mt Fay was first climbed by a team including Yamnuska’s own Barry Blanchard in 1984.
Please contact our office to organize your dates for this custom alpine expedition. We do this trip with a maximum of 1:2 guide to guest ratio. As part of our 6 Day Lake Louise Mountaineering Trip, we include a 3-day trip into the Mt Fay area. If the dates work you could also join us on our 3-day Moraine Lake Alpine Classics program. We recommend a minimum of a two-day trip (one night in the hut) but if time permits a three-day option is ideal for maximum flexibility.
Climb Mt Fay
For multi-day trips, your guide will meet you at the Yamnuska office in Canmore at 7:00 am on the first day of your trip. It is possible to make other arrangements and meet in Lake Louise if required (in which case a transportation charge for the guide will apply).
For a single-day trip, your guide will meet you in Canmore but at a much early start. Please contact the office to discuss this option.
We access the route along the Moraine Lake Road in Lake Louise. A casual walk around Moraine Lake leads to an interesting log crossing and a large bowl that must be ascended before the climbing starts. Long sections of moving over lower angle rock position us for two pitches of steep but well-featured climbing. The final pitches on the ‘approach’ involve a spectacular steep pitch and an airy traverse towards the Fay Glacier. The glacier provides easy access to the chutes leading to the West Ridge of the mountain and the summit.
To descend we will retrace our route returning to Moraine Lake.
The first day is usually an approach to the hut where we enjoy a good meal and then get some sleep. If energy and time permit we can get a great vantage point from the top of Mt Little before dinner.
Please contact our office to organize this trip.
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 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.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore.
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
Accommodation and Meals
Accommodations and meals can be included in this program for multi-day trips. Please contact the office to discuss options.
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.
Clothing and Gear
We supply group climbing gear such as ropes and hardware. You must bring your own personal climbing gear (e.g. harness, helmet, ice axe), clothing, and general equipment. We can lend some personal items should you require them. Make sure you let us know, in advance, what you will need to borrow.
We suggest layers of light, easily carried clothing that allows for fast and easy adjustment to best suit fast changing temperature conditions. Cotton clothing is not appropriate as it causes rapid heat loss when wet. Feel free to call us if you have any questions about what to bring. This list covers items needed for all likely conditions during the mountaineering season. Your guide will go through your clothing and gear with you prior to the course.
You will need to bring:
•LONG UNDERWEAR (top and bottom) They should be synthetic such as Capilene or Merino Wool.
•SOCKS They should also be synthetic/Merino blend. A good quality pair of socks goes a long way to preventing blisters! Some people like to use a thin liner sock underneath.
•MIDWEIGHT FLEECE (top only) Some type of midweight top, whether it is a synthetic Polartec material or Merino wool.
•INSULATED JACKET. This is essential for staying warm while taking breaks or when the weather gets cold and nasty!
•SOFTSHELL (Pants and Jacket) Softshell pieces have the advantage of offering great weather protection, while still being highly breathable. They can be worn for all but the wettest conditions. In the summer, the Yamnuska staff uniform jacket is the Patagonia Simple Guide Jacket.
•WATERPROOF HARDSHELL (Pants and Jacket) A hardshell setup is essential for when the weather turns really wet. Because you end up carrying these around a lot of the time, it is fine to pick something that is lighter weight. It is important for the pants to have a full-length zip to fit over boots. Gore-Tex, H2NO or similar materials work great.
•GLOVES At least 2 pairs. One should be a lighter-weight fleece or softshell material. The other pair should be warm and waterproof.
•WARM HAT (that covers ears and fits under a helmet).
•SUNHAT with a wide brim.
•GAITERS In addition to keeping snow out of your boots, gaiters protect your pants from crampon points and reduce tripping hazards.
You will need to bring:
•DAYPACK – Big enough to fit extra clothing, equipment, and your food for a day. A 30-35 Liter capacity is suitable.•MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: You will need mountaineering boots with crampon compatible soles. As always, the most important feature of a mountaineering boot is comfort. Different brands seem to suit different feet. If buying, try a few different pairs and if they are not comfortable don’t buy them. There are many good brands. They include Asolo, Kayland, La Sportiva, and Scarpa.
•ICE AXE – regular glacier axe, minimum 55cm length. Yamnuska uses the Petzl Summit Axe
•CRAMPONS – must fit your boots. Yamnuska uses the Petzl Vasak Crampon
•SUNGLASSES with good UV protection
•Extra Strength SUNSCREEN.
•Lip Cream with UV protection
•HEADLAMP with fresh batteries.
•WATER BOTTLE (2L minimum).
•BLISTER KIT (‘moleskin’, ‘Second Skin’)
•FIRST-AID Items (band-aids, ibuprofen & aspirin / Tylenol is enough as guides have a kit also).
•SLEEPING BAG (for multi-day trips)
•TREKKING POLE (recommended, must be collapsible).
OPTIONAL MOUNTAINEERING GEAR
We supply the following items, but if you have your own, please feel free to bring them; nut tool, belay device with pear-shaped carabiner, 1 x 5m 7mm prussik, 1 x 20cm sewn sling and 2 x locking biners.
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.
Private guiding options are available. Please contact us to discuss this option.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
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?
Guests signing up for the Fast and Light ‘Fay in a Day’ trip need to be in excellent hiking shape, be comfortable seconding 5.6 rock, and have had previous experience with crampons and an ice axe in a general mountaineering setting.