Based out of Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefields this beginner mountaineering course in Canada is for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to learn to mountain climb.
Based out of Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefields, this Beginner Mountaineering Course in Canada is for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to learn to mountain climb. The glacier and surrounding peaks are our classroom. We provide food, accommodations, transport to the trail head and technical gear – all you need is your adventurous attitude!
This is Canada’s premier beginner mountaineering instruction course. For almost four decades our course has produced many dedicated mountaineers and has been the catalyst to life-long climbing friendships. Based out of the Bow Hut on the Banff National Park Wapta Icefields this comprehensive course is designed for outdoor enthusiasts who want to learn to mountain climb. The glacier and surrounding peaks will be our classroom for the duration of this course. Unlike other mountaineering classes, we provide food, hut accommodations, transport to the trailhead, and group/technical gear – all you need to bring is your adventurous attitude!
Our introduction to mountaineering course curriculum is constantly updated to reflect the most current mountaineering standards and practices. Our climbing guides are passionate mountaineers and educators who are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.
During the day, build your skills and climb high mountain peaks. In the evening, share stories and lessons with your fellow mountaineers while relaxing in the comfortable Bow Hut.
Beginner Mountaineering Course at Wapta Icefields, Canada: Itinerary
Day 1: We meet at the Yamnuska Office in Canmore at 8:30 am for introductions, a review of course goals and itinerary, and an equipment check. After packing up, it’s an hour and a half drive north to Bow Lake where we commence the hike to Bow Hut, which is located at 2350m on a shoulder adjacent to the snout of the Bow Glacier. This will take us between 3 and 5 hours. We travel 7km and climb 400m.
Day 2 – 5: The Bow Hut is our base for the week. Its proximity to the glaciers and to several peaks makes it easy for us to get out on suitable instruction terrain every day. It’s a perfect area for instruction. We may spend nights in one of the other huts in the region. Peaks often climbed on the course include Mt. Olive (3110m.), Mt. St. Nicholas (2900m.), Mt. Gordon (3200m.), Mt. Thompson (3050m.) & Mt. Rhondda (3110m.)
Note: From Day 2 the course agenda and the amount of time spent on each subject will depend upon conditions in the program area, the weather, group and individual abilities, and learning speeds.
Day 6: Final day. An opportunity to review techniques before we hike back down to Bow Lake and return to Canmore in the late afternoon.
There is considerable flexibility built into the delivery of this course, no course is exactly the same. Snow and weather conditions will dictate the order of presentation to some degree given we are based on a glacier for the week. The course may also move over to other huts. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program.
Snow School: Movement on snow – Use of Ice Axe – Self Arrests – Snow Anchors
Ice School: Walking with Crampons – Ice Anchors
Glacier Safety: Glacier Morphology – Choosing a Safe Route – Rope Use for Glaciers – Crevasse Rescue
Navigation: Map and Compass Use – Whiteout Procedures – Route Planning
Safe Movement: Trail Techniques and Pacing – Use of Rope on Snow, Ice, and Mixed Terrain
Accident and Emergency Procedures
CLIMBS!!! ‘Introduction to Mountaineering’ is a hands-on course. Skills are explained, demonstrated in the field, and then put into practice by participants during glacier crossings and peak ascents. Expect to be sharing the lead, solving route-finding problems, and fully involved in decision making.