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Alpine Climbing Skills Week in the Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies | Canada
5.00
4 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to join Skills Week

  • Trip Highlight

    Become a confident alpinist in the amazing Banff National Park

  • Trip Highlight

    Breathing the Canadian alpine air is therapeutic on its own

  • Trip Highlight

    Perfect your alpine climbing skills with expert guides

The Canadian Rocky Mountains of Banff offer everything from stunning glacial lakes to snowy mountain tops with picture-perfect villages along the way. Its spectacular geography makes for amazing summits and jaw-dropping panoramas, while its glaciation makes for fine snow and ice climbing. Alpine climbing is the highlight of the oldest Canadian National Park, so the options for aspiring mountaineers are endless! This adventure will take you to Mt. Athabasca — one of the most accessible and enjoyable peaks in the Canadian Rockies, settled on the ridge between the Athabasca and Saskatchewan Glaciers, reaching a phenomenal 3,491m (11,453 ft)!

Season

June to September

Nearest city

Calgary, AB, is just over 1.5 hours away from Banff and 4 hours away from Columbia Icefields

Duration

6 days

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Book This Adventure

Alpine Climbing Skills Week in the Canadian Rockies

6 days

Join your guide on this six-day adventure, full of climbing in and around Banff, Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefields! The area offers so many classic Rockies high points, with a variety of routes to choose from! This comprehensive mountain training week is designed to upgrade your basic hiking and scrambling skills to solid alpinist skills, which will allow you to explore further and higher than you’ve ever imagined! You will spend a lot of time on rock, snow and ice terrain acquiring new climbing techniques and skills important for alpine climbing. This will all be done in a safe and organized manner with an experienced guide by your side!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day One: Arrival

After landing in Calgary, make your way to Columbia Icefields and set off on your week-long adventure in the Banff area. Spend the day learning about snow and ice climbing and crevasse rescue skills from your AMGA-certified guide with years of experience in the field.

Day Two and Three: Practice and Summit

During your first three days you will focus on learning. There will also be an opportunity to climb 1-2 peaks, one being the famous Mt. Athabasca and another smaller peak such as A2 or Hilda peak, depending on the group dynamics and previous experience. Mt. Athabasca is suitable for both beginner and experienced alpinists. There are several good routes on the mountain, and all of them involve early alpine starts from the Icefields Parkway with a total elevation gain of 1500m.

Day Four: Practice your skills in Lake Louise

Head to Lake Louise for a comprehensive school of rock climbing skills, sport and traditional climbing. Spend your next three days practicing single-pitch and alpine rock climbing in different, yet stunning locations only Canadian Rockies offer. All the skills taught will be adapted to the group’s ability. Enjoy the views over some of the most adventurous mountain routes in a picture-postcard setting.

Day Five: Rock climb in Banff

Spend your fifth day on one of the many Banff multi-pitch classics to learn multi-pitch efficiencies and technical decent (multi-pitch rappelling). There will be plenty of opportunities to do mock leads and practice many of the skills for your future climbing adventures!

Day Six: Departure

Today’s itinerary will be completely up to you —
tailor the day according to your wishes and focus on perfecting your skills! After six days of lessons and practice, prepare for departure and start planning your next adventure when you will explore further and higher than you have ever imagined!

Reviews

Reviews (4)

Great introduction to outdoor sport climbing in Banff
Andy E about Alpine Air Adventures / Jeff Bullock on TripAdvisor

Jeff provided the logistics for a great day on the crags with Christian.

Though we had some experience in the gym, we had never been outside. As such, Christian tailored the experience to meet our needs. He more than met our expectations by giving us the introduction to outside climbing that we were looking for.

We highly recommend Alpine Air Adventures for guided sport climbing in Banff.

Thank you Christian and Jeff!

Great experience!
Tereza about Alpine Air Adventures on TripAdvisor
Highly recommended! Did AST1 with Tamara and it was fantastic!!! Small group, well organized, professionally run and very enjoyable. Thanks for the great weekend!
Making your adventure a reality
MParker_117 about Alpine Air Adventures on TripAdvisor
The small but dedicated team at Alpine Air Adventures is eager to make sure you get the adventure you are seeking. There are several guiding companies in the area and I reached out to them all when planning my trip to Banff. AAA was responsive, answered all my questions and provided additional details to help pick my route, and they were also among the most affordable. As a small shop, they can keep their costs down while their service remains high. My guide listened to what I wanted, used his local knowledge and expertise to pick out a climb that ticked all my boxes, then took me on an adventure that I won’t soon forget. What really made this a standout experience was he assessed my abilities and adjusted his methods accordingly. I have been climbing for years and do not need to be babysat on route, he quickly realized that and we got into a rhythm and it felt like I was climbing with an old friend rather than a guide. If you’re looking for a guide service in the Banff area, do youself a favor and give AAA a call.
Another great couple trips with Jeff
Peter O about Jeff Bullock on TripAdvisor
Another great couple trips with Jeff (both multi-day mountaineering and a rock climbing outing). As always he’s a great guide that’s fun to spend time with and climb with safely and efficiently. Have been out with him many times and plan on many more.
Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Banff National Park

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Banff area, please refer to the official Alberta website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • Experienced ACMG/IFMGA certified local rock-climbing guides with extensive knowledge of the area
  • Six days of alpine rock climbing
  • Group technical gear

What’s not included:

  • Mountaineering boots
  • Personal climbing equipment
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Camping gear
  • Accommodation

Accommodation options include:

  • Ice fields Campground
  • Hilda Hostel
  • Glacier View Lodge
  • Lake Louise Alpine Center

What if I’ve never alpine climbed before?

If you’ve never alpine climbed before, we recommend taking an introduction to climbing course or spending a day with a guide learning the basics prior to booking this adventure. Alpine climbing is not for first-time rock climbers, but if you have some experience in rock climbing, there are routes that you can successfully complete with the help of a guide. This course is meant to develop existing skills that will take your climbing to the next level. You will spend time on rock, snow and ice terrain to round out the skill set with guides that have years and years of mountain experience to share with you.

Some of the skills you will learn over the course of the week are:

  • Pre-trip planning
  • Route selection
  • Navigation
  • Leadership
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Glacier travel
  • Snow and Ice:
    • Anchors – V-threads, ice screws, T-slots, snow pickets
    • Rappelling on snow, ice and rock including multi-pitch rappelling
    • Using crampons and ice axe
  • Rock:
    • Anchors – using bolts and traditional gear
    • Lead climbing – on bolts and traditional gear
    • Multi-pitch climbing skills, with climbing routes ranging from 5.5-5.10 depending on skill level
    • Moving on alpine rock terrain

How fit do I need to be?

This week of alpine climbing adventure is ideal for beginner to intermediate alpine climbers. You will need a good level of fitness as you will be moving for a minimum of three hours on the rocks plus some additional hiking. Even though rock climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength, a week in the alpine environment will test you. Be prepared for full days of strenuous climbing in cold temperatures and changeable weather conditions.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Fleece or wool hat
  • Neck gaiter
  • Face mask
  • Lightweight and midweight gloves
  • Hardshell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
  • Lightweight wind shell
  • Down or synthetic jacket with hood
  • Long-sleeved base layer
  • Long base layer pants (tights work well in the summer)
  • Hardshell pants
  • Softshell pants (wind-proof or wind-resistant)
  • Leg gaiters (ankle to mid calf height works best in summer)
  • Liner socks and wool socks
  • Underwear
  • Mountaineering boots that work with crampons (can be rented)
  • Rock shoes (can be rented)
  • Daypack large enough to carry all the items listed (around 40L)
  • Sunglasses or a visor hat
  • Headlamp
  • Helmet
  • Ice axe (can be rented)
  • Harness (can be rented)
  • 12-point crampons (can be rented)
  • 3 locking caribiners, 2 non locking caribiners
  • 2x5m 6mm prussic cord
  • 1x 60 cm sewn sling
  • Belay device
  • Micro traction and or Tiblok optional
  • 2x 13 cm ice screws
  • Chalk bag
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Food you can eat on-the-go
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, blister kit, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Pillow, light and small
  • Sleeping bag (3 season,-7 deg c it can dip below freezing in summer)
  • Car camping sleep pad for Columbia Icefields
  • Tent for Columbia Icefields
  • Stove and cooking pots utensils for car camping
  • Pee bottle — optional
  • Camera — optional

Technical gear list

All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

  • Helmet
  • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device and chalk bag
  • Ropes
  • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent mountaineering boots and rock shoes from Gear Up.

All other technical equipment can be rented from AAA for $25.00 per day. Full kits include cord and biners.

All rentals can be found in Canmore. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes, price, and age requirements

Group sizes and deposit:

  • For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1, pricing is per person and the tours are not private. The ratio during the trip will be 3:1 during the Athabasca sumit, 2:1 on alpine rock routes and 6:1 for instructional days.
  • It takes a minimum of 2 people for the skills week to run.
  • All prices are in USD. The cost of the trip is $1199+GST in CAD.
  • A 20% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The balance of payment is due one month prior to the departure date.

Climbing days can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

  • Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this climbing adventure.
  • If you plan to climb with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Banff National Park, most people fly into Calgary International Airport. Once you get to Calgary, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Banff, and just over 4 hours to reach Columbia Icefields.

On Day 1 the group will meet at the Columbia Icefields campground for 08:30 by the entrance kiosk. A final logistics email will be sent to you a few days before the tip start date to finalize any last-minute logistics.

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1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
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