in the Canadian
Step inside the magical world of the Canadian Rockies
Spreading over 75,000 square miles along British Columbia and Alberta, the Rockies encompass five mountain ranges and five national parks, each famous for its spectacular scenery and endless outdoor opportunities. Spend a week in nature filled with amazing views and challenging climbs, and develop alpine skills that will substantially increase your security while exploring the majestic backcountry.
Miles of winding roads feature picture-perfect mountains and lakes around every bend and lead you to Banff—Canada's oldest National Park—famous for epic backcountry hiking trails, alpine terrain, and stunning icy turquoise lakes.
- SUBARCTIC CLMATE
- 5 MOUNTAIN RANGES
- 51°10' N and 115°34' E
- GLACIATED TERRAIN
- 75,000 SQUARE MILES
The ultimate classroom for a confident alpinist
A Lifetime of learning
Alpine climbing takes things a step further than any other climbing sport. It is an endeavor requiring a lot of technical skill and, truth be told, probably more practice than you could imagine. Once you master alpine skills such as climbing techniques and risk management, you will be able to access otherwise inaccessible places.
The towering peaks, pristine glaciers, and exposed rock faces of the Canadian Rockies are an alpinist's dream—the perfect place to hone in your skills and get some real hands-on experience.
Gain New Skills
PLANNING & NAVIGATING
There are miles upon miles of boundless impressive Alpine terrain waiting to be explored, but the key to a successful adventure is a thorough route selection and a sense of orientation.
GLACIER TRAVEL SKILLS
Breathtaking glaciers are what makes alpine climbing so epic, but for all their beauty, they are equally as dangerous. Perfecting glacier travel skills and crevasse rescue can only happen with training and experience.
Master anchors, belaying, advanced knots, and multi-pitch climbing. Moving on Alpine rock terrain can be tricky, but with the right skills, you'll have better chances of reaching your ultimate goal.
SNOW & ICE EQUIPMENT
Using ropes, anchors, ice axes, and crampons require a lot of technical knowledge. Start with each technique on the ground and gradually apply it to steeper Banff terrain.
SAFETY & RESCUE
Navigating rock faces across multiple pitches—especially in an Alpine environment—involves risky and dangerous situations. Learning proper rescue and safety techniques can save your life.
THE HUMAN DYNAMIC & MOUNTAIN SENSE
The best way to get a sense of mountain environments is to spend some time in the mountains. Learn to think critically and independently—patience and exercising good judgment are often undervalued skills.
New experience awaits around each bend
The finest collection of true alpine climbs in the world
PRACTICE & LEARN IN A
The Canadian Rocky Mountains of Banff boast several hundred alpine climbs —enough to last a lifetime— featuring anything from glaciers, stunning lakes, endless icefields, and peaks exceeding 11,000'.
Spend three days on Mt. Athabasca, one of the best terrains for developing alpine skills, and explore this staggering yet accessible 11,000 ft mountain. Its northern face features a massive glacier littered with features and lined with ridges that seem like they were made to be climbed. As you summit, the views of the surrounding mountains, like Mt. Columbia, will blow you away.
Lake Louise, steeped in mountaineering history, will serve as a backdrop for the rest of the course. Boasting an array of dramatic peaks, it is an excellent option for anyone looking to test their technical skillset.
When he first stepped foot in the mountains, Jeff knew this was home. He's been wondering what adventures the snow-capped peaks have had in store since he was 12.
Jeff started training for his ACMG/IFMGA mountain guide certificate in 2002 and started his own business, Alpine Air Adventures. To this day, he has yet to find a better feeling than sharing his passion for adventure you can only find high up in the alpine kingdom of the Canadian Rockies.
Jeff provided the logistics for a great day on the crags with Christian. Thought we had some experience in the gym, we had never been outside. Christian tailored the experience to meet out needs and gave us a great intro to outside climbing we were looking for!
Highly recommended! Did AST1 with Tamara and it was fantastic!!! Small group, well organized, professionally run and very enjoyable. Thanks for the great weekend!
AAA was responsive, answered all my questions and provided so much detail—they were also among the most affordable! My guide listened to what I wanted, assessed my abilities, used his knowledge and expertise, and took me on an adventure I won’t soon forget!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
To ensure your place, reserve the dates you want with a 5% deposit on next year’s adventure. Read about our cancellation policy on our FAQ page.
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 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
- Camping gear
Accommodation options include:
- Ice fields Campground
- Hilda Hostel
- Glacier View Lodge
- Lake Louise Alpine Center
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
- 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
- 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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device and chalk bag
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
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 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 $1435+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.
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.