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 summit hiking 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 amphitheater, 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
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 Parks Canada. Maximum group size is 4, minimum 2.
Transportation is not included for this program. We will rely on guest’s 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.
Yamnuska guests receive exclusive rates with Clique hotels & resorts upon booking an adventure with either Yamnuska Mountain Adventures or Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska. (Please note that some rates are non-refundable)
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
Equipment and Clothing
We supply group climbing gear such as ropes and hardware but we recommend that you bring your own personal climbing gear (e.g. harness, helmet, ice axe), clothing and general equipment. We can lend you some personal items should you require. Make sure you let us know, in advance, what you will need to borrow.
The equipment and clothing you bring with you will play a large role in the quality of your experience. Read the following suggestion list carefully. If you have any questions or need clarification don’t hesitate to call or write. There is room for substitution and changes but if you have any doubt, do contact us.
We suggest layers of light, easily carried clothing that allows for fast and easy adjustment to best suit fast changing weather 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.
You will need to bring:
- Wool/blend socks
- Long underwear – top – synthetic or wool
- Soft shell climbing pants – these should be windproof nylon/synthetic blend mountaineering pants
- Mid-weight top – synthetic or wool
- Soft shell jacket – this should be a windproof nylon/synthetic blend jacket
- Outer jacket and pants – waterproof with a hood on the jacket and side zips on the pants (Gore-Tex)
- Insulated jacket – synthetic or down
- Gaiters – ensure they fit over your mountaineering boots
- Mountaineering gloves – light weight and medium to heavy weight pairs
- Hat – synthetic or wool that covers your ears and fits under a helmet
- Sunhat – with wide brim
You will need to bring: (Items in blue are available to rent from Yamnuska). You must give us plenty of notice if wanting to rent or loan gear.
- Mountaineering boots – You will need mountaineering boots with rigid soles that are crampon compatible. 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.
- Day pack – Big enough to fit extra clothing, equipment and your food. A 30-35 liter capacity is suitable.
- Ice Axe – regular glacier axe, minimum 55cm length.
- Crampons – must fit your boots
- Belay device
- Sunglasses – with 100% UV protection
- Sun cream – extra strength
- Lip cream – with UV protection
- Headlamp – with fresh batteries
- Water bottle – 2 liter minimum
- Blister kit – ‘moleskin’, ‘second skin’ etc.
- First aid items – keep this small (band-aids, ibuprofen & aspirin/tylenol, etc.)
- Trekking pole – must be collapsible (optional)
- Sleeping Bag
- Personal Cooking Equipment
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 120 cm sewn sling and 2 x locking biners, 1 x 16-22 cm ice screw.
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.
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 travelers 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 the 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’s trip.
Private guiding options also available. Please contact us to discuss this option.
$625 includes guided climbing and instruction, camping fees and 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.