The Little Yoho Valley in Yoho National Park is home to some of the most incredible scenery and terrain of anywhere in the Canadian Rockies. Based out of the historic Stanley Mitchell Hut, our aim of this guided mountaineering trip is to summit two intermediate mountaineering peaks throughout the three days. Objectives include The President, The Vice President, Mt McArthur, Mt Kerr, and Isolated Peak.
If you have completed our Snow and Ice Long Weekend Mountaineering Course for Beginners or Intro to Mountaineering Programs this trip will be a great next challenge for you. The objectives attempted on this mountain climbing course are excellent next steps for anyone with beginner-level training as it exposes you to more intermediate-type terrain.
Thanks to @contactrudy for this incredible video sharing his experience on the Yoho Peaks trip in 2020.
Day 1: Meet at our office in Canmore at 8:30 am. After issuing food and gear we pack up and then drive west to Takakkaw Falls near Field, BC (west of Lake Louise).
A pleasant hike up the Yoho Valley will bring us to the Stanley Mitchell Hut in the late afternoon. After settling into the hut, we’ll prepare ourselves for the next day’s climb.
Days 2-3: Each day we choose a suitable mountaineering objective. There are several large, glaciated peaks surrounding the upper valley, all of which are good intermediate peaks. These include: The President (10,295 ft., 3138m) on the south side of the valley is normally climbed via the north-facing President Glacier to the President Col and then following the East Ridge to the Summit. This peak can also be climbed via the SW Ridge. The Vice President (10,058 ft., 3066 m) is climbed directly from the President Col. Mount MacArthur (9,911 ft., 3021m) is on the north side of the Valley as is Isolated Peak (9,334 ft., 2845m). Both are reached via the MacArthur Glacier which is accessed below Isolated Col. At the head of the valley, above Kiwetinok Pass is Mount Kerr (9,394 ft., 2863m) which is more of a rock scramble involving route finding and terrain evaluation skills.
After finishing our Day 3 objective we will pack up at the hut and hike out. We either hike out the Yoho Valley Trail or the Ice line Trail as time allows. The scenic Iceline trail follows the contours of the Emerald Glacier and offers spectacular views of the Yoho Valley and President Range.
Instructors and Group Size
The maximum guide to guest ratio is 1:4 although the ratio will often be less. Our guides are enthusiastic and extremely talented, holding guide certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and licensed to operate in the area by Parks Canada. The maximum group size is 8.
Meeting Time & Place
The program begins at the Yamnuska office at 8:30 am on the first day. The Yamnuska office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park. See this map for location.
Participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore which is a 1 hour (100km) drive west of Calgary.
Transportation while on the program is not included. We rely on guests’ personal vehicles to reach program locations. Park Entry Passes are not included in the program price and are the responsibility of the guest.
It is wise to arrive in Canmore the day before the course (see “accommodation” below).
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
During the program, we will be staying in the Stanley Mitchell Hut which is operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. Set in the meadows below the peaks, this is one of the Club’s most scenic huts. A log cabin built in the 1930s, it features communal sleeping and living areas. Cooking and lighting are propane-fueled and water is hauled from the nearest creek.
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 either at your hotel or our office.
All meals, snacks, and drinks are supplied from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3. Mountain meals are made from lightweight ingredients.
For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free, or any similar type of single restriction menu requests, there will be a surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 or more restrictions, an additional surcharge will apply. 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. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged.
Please let us know the details by filling out a Food Questionnaire when you sign up for the program.
Clothing and Gear
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 the following personal technical gear. Please feel free to bring your own items if desired:
- Mountaineering ice axe
- Climbing harness
- Climbing helmet
- Ice screw
- Prussic cord, slings, carabiners
We recommend you bring:
- Boots* (must be crampon compatible)
- Multiday pack* (60–75 litres)
- Daypack* (30-40 litres), (optional)
- Sleeping bag*
- Water bottle
- 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 (recommended)
- Music player and lightweight reading material (optional)
*These items are available for rent. Please advise us in advance. Rental Gear
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:
Backpack: It is possible to use just one multiday backpack, as long as it is comfortable enough 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.
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 Celsius. 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.
Boots: A good pair of boots is essential. They need to be warm and crampon compatible. You are welcome to try the Scarpa Mont Blanc boots that Yamuska rents.
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.
Helmet: A comfortable, all-around climbing helmet that can fit over your winter hat.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. A 35% deposit (including GST) is required at the time of booking. The final payment is due eight weeks before the start of the program. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Canadian Cheques, Money Orders, and Bank Drafts. Credit card payments are easiest, especially for international travellers.
We ask that you make yourself familiar 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.
$1225 CDN includes guiding and instruction, hut accommodation, out-trip meals, Park Permits, and use of specialized group climbing gear.
Not included: Canmore accommodation, Park Entry Passes, Gratuities & 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST).
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?
Participants need prior basic mountaineering experience. You must be fit and in good physical shape. This program is ideal for alumni of our Snow and Ice Long Weekend and Beginner Mountaineering Course. The targeted peaks are not overly technical but we will have long days on varied terrain.