Top three reasons to go mountaineering in Mt. Columbia
Ski your heart out in the magnificent backcountry of Mt. Columbia
Enjoy the breathtaking views of Canada’s untouched nature
Test your mountaineering skills on Alberta’s challenging and captivating peaks
In Alberta’s Canadian Rockies, the elevations may be moderate, but the mountaineering is of the highest quality. Easily approachable, full of thrilling technical challenges, and offering phenomenal skiing straight from the peaks, the area hosts 11 of the 54 highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Standing at 12,300 ft (3,747 m), there are plenty of challenging climbs for intermediate and advanced mountaineers, as well as some phenomenal vistas that will keep you coming back for more. The numerous objectives at reasonable altitudes provide the ideal training grounds for those looking to take on even bigger mountaineering challenges in the future. Climb and ski Mount Columbia’s backcountry with Canada’s signature crystal lakes, dense forests, and snow-capped peaks as the backdrop—what’s not to love!
Late March through May
Calgary, AB, is 4 hours away from the Columbia Icefields, the starting point of the tour
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
Mt. Columbia Ski Mountaineering Expedition
Conquer the mighty Mt. Columbia buried in the ancient ice of the Columbia Icefields, on this picturesque 4-day adventure! Test your mountaineering skills on Alberta’s highest peak with an expert guide accompanying you and keeping you safe on your trip. If you’ve never seen the sunset from 10,000+ feet (3,000+ meters) while relaxing in your comfy sleeping bag, this adventure is a must!
Meet your guide
Alpine Air Adventures
Was out with Jeff/AAA for a few days – totally awesome! Always felt safe skiing/climbing, and we were able to pick up objectives to match my skills/goals and to push my confidence on bigger things. Already looking forward to our next trip out.
I have been on multiple trips with Alpine Air Adventures and I am always impressed with the level of skill and decision-making when it comes to safety in the mountains. I choose to go with Alpine Air Adventures because Jeff is very flexible and easy to book with. I am able to get a small custom trip and an experience I wouldn’t get with a big operator. Whether it’s skiing or climbing big mountains, or rock and ice climbing, AAA will give you a great experience in the hills.
Jeff has the ability to make you feel at ease in the mountains. His quick humor and his technical knowledge allow you to learn and explore in an environment that is comfortable, safe and super fun!
Things to know
Covid measures in Mt. Columbia, Alberta
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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Mt. Columbia, Alberta, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 travel guidelines and the Alberta Health Service’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
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 you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local ski mountaineering guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 4 days of backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering
- Tent accommodations during the tour
- Food and snacks
- Use of stoves and other group equipment
What’s not included:
- Skiing and avalanche safety equipment
- Pre and post-trip accommodations
How fit do I need to be?
In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a decent level of fitness. You will be on your feet for 4 full days. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
What if I’ve never ski mountaineered before?
This expedition is suitable for intermediate to advanced mountaineers, backcountry skiers, and boarders. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best-hidden gems the area has to offer.
What about required equipment?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis, or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear, and socks
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel, and probe can be rented in Banff
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented in Banff
Ski rental locations are in Banff, Alberta, and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The group size for these tours is usually between 1–4 people with one guide.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to mountaineer with friends and family.
Ski mountaineering in Mt. Columbia can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to mountaineer on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has ski mountaineers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Mt. Columbia, most people fly into Calgary International Airport 1.5 hours from Banff, Alberta. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus to Banff. It’s an additional 2-hour drive from Banff to Columbia Icefields.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide’s Bunkhouse in Banff, in the Columbia Icefields, or in another predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.