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Mountaineering Courses in Squamish & Whistler

Monte Johnston, Black Sheep Adventure Sports
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1 Person
4 day
Monte Johnston, Black Sheep Adventure Sports
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  • Whether you seek to refine your alpine skills or take on specific objectives like Rainier or the Tantalus Traverse, we've got you covered. This comprehensive course includes everything from navigation and trip planning to alpine rock, snow, and ice climbing, and technical descents. Based in Squamish, you'll explore stunning locations like the Tantalus Range and Garibaldi during field training and summit objectives. In short, you'll gain invaluable expertise on a 5-day course while surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. Get ready to take your alpine skills to new heights!

    • Participants will gain proficiency in trip planning, navigation, alpine rock, snow, and ice climbing, technical descents, and self-arrest techniques. They will also learn about snow anchors, using ice axes and crampons, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, rock protection, alpine movement, rope usage, emergency response, steep snow climbing, gear preparation, route selection, and improvised descents. This well-rounded course provides the knowledge and expertise needed to confidently tackle challenging alpine terrains and take mountaineering skills to the next level.

    • Arrive in Squamish in the morning/afternoon of Day 1. Upon arrival, you’ll dive straight into trip planning, covering essential topics such as navigation and weather considerations to ensure a safe and successful adventure. Today’s half-day lesson will take place in the afternoon or in the evening (depending on your arrival)

      Mountaineering course takers during a navigation lesson near Squamish, BC.
    • The second day is all about hone in your rock skills. Join your guide for a technical rock skills field day where we’ll focus on trad gear placement, anchor building, multi-pitch climbing, station management, rappelling, and short pitching & simul-climbing techniques.

    • Put your new skills to the test on an alpine rock route like Blackcomb Buttress or Sky Pilot. You’ll gain valuable insights into terrain assessment, smooth transitions, and develop a keen sense of mountain awareness.

      Mountaineers on a technical section during a summit ascent in southern British Columbia.
    • The fourth day is reserved for snow and ice skills. During this field day, your group will delve into glacier travel, snow and ice protection, anchor building, steep snow climbing, and improvised descents, preparing you for the challenges of alpine terrain.

      A mountaineer covering near-vertical snowy terrain in the Tantalus Range, BC.
    • The culmination of your training will be a student-led climb on an alpine route such as Garibaldi, Matier, Dione, or Serratus. This day will test your trip planning abilities, terrain assessment, smooth transitions, and mountain awareness skills.

      A mountaineer moving along a snowy mountain ridge in British Columbia near Squamish and Whistler.
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced, local ACMG-certified mountaineering guide with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 4- or 5-day mountaineering course in the Squamish and Whistler areas (depending on the itinerary)
        • Group technical equipment
        • Group safety and emergency equipment
        • Permits

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation (including lift passes and other specialist transportation)
        • Accommodations and meals
        • Travel and medical insurance
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • For both British Columbia mountaineering courses, participants should possess a high level of physical fitness and a passion for outdoor adventures. The specific skills and experience needed, however, vary based on the chosen course.

      In the introductory course, technical skills are not mandatory, but prior climbing and scrambling experience is advantageous. However, some kind of outdoors background with extensive hiking experience is essential. In short, all participants should have enough stamina for potential climbs, while all the technical knowledge and skills will be taught.

      For the advanced mountaineering course, in addition to the aforementioned fitness requirements, some mountaineering experience is required. Participants should also have some training or experience in crevasse rescue.

    • To participate in the intro to mountaineering course in the Squamish and Whistler areas, you don’t need to have any mountaineering experience, but rock climbing and scrambling experience will be beneficial.

      The advanced mountaineering course requires you to have some mountaineering experience, as well as experience/training in crevasse rescue. You should have some basic insights into how to use the technical gear, as well as some basic rock climbing and scrambling skills.

      An outdoors background (hiking and/or backpacking) and very good general level of fitness are required for both courses.

    • Here’s what you need for your mountaineering course in the Squamish and Whistler areas:

      For general equipment, you will need:

        • 45-55 L Backpack
        • Trekking poles
        • Warm single or double boots
        • Sunglasses
        • Sunscreen and lip balm
        • Headlamp and spare batteries
        • Camera (optional)

      For clothing, you will need:

        • Wool and/or synthetic socks
        • Synthetic or wool base layer, top, and bottom
        • Multipurpose climbing pants
        • Waterproof breathable jacket, and pants
        • Light jacket or sweater
        • Warm outer jacket
        • Toque (beanie) – wool or synthetic
        • Brimmed cap
        • Face warmer or buff
        • Light leather gloves
        • Insulated gloves
        • Gaiters (optional)

      For technical mountaineering equipment, you will need:

        • Helmet
        • Harness
        • Belay device
        • Locking carabiner x 4
        • Non-locking carabiner x 3
        • 5m x 7mm Prusik Cord x 1
        • Crampons
        • Ice ax
        • Ice screw

      For personal overnight equipment, you will need:

        • Tent
        • Sleeping bag
        • Sleeping mat
        • Lighter, small stove, and pot
        • Fuel
        • Eating cup and spoon
        • Light camp shoes
        • Reusable lunch bag
        • Water bottle and/or thermos (min. 1L capacity)

      Keep in mind that this is a comprehensive list of all the equipment you may need and that your packing list may differ depending on which course you book. It should also be noted that you will carry your meals during the summit objectives. Most technical equipment can be rented from the guiding service upon request. You’ll get a chance to discuss the equipment list in more detail with your guide prior to the course.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For these group courses, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
        • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

      Mountaineering courses in the Squamish and Whistler areas can be arranged for larger and private groups. Contact us to arrange a custom package with a date that best suits you!

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
        • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

      If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • To get to Squamish, the base for your mountaineering course, most people fly into Vancouver International Airport, which is 1.5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

      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 shop or a predetermined location. Depending on whether you’ve booked the introductory or the advanced course, the course will begin in the morning or in the afternoon/evening.

    • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

      Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

      We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in British Columbia, please refer to the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Travel Information on Canada.

      If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

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