[About our Guides]
[Prices & Booking]
"Thanks a lot for
the courses! They were great.... I learned tonnes, and they far
exceeded my expectations. Thanks for putting so much effort into your
teaching/leading and sharing so much of the Rockies!"
Colin - Vancouver, BC
Alpine Skills Course Blog postings:
- May 25-29th, 2020
- June 8-12th, 2020
- Sep 14-18th, 2020
Cost: $1195 + GST - includes guiding & equipment use.
Maximum Group Size: 4
Custom Dates: Custom courses of any length are available May - October for groups of 1 to 8. Inquire for pricing.
us for a registration package. A deposit of $350 is required to book your spot on this course, with the
remainder due 4 weeks prior to the start date.
CRAG's 5 day Alpine
Skills Course is the perfect way to kick start your mountaineering
career! This challenging course will be run with a small group of just 4 keen
participants and one guide. This small group size allows all team
members to learn the skills that are most relevent to their goals
& abilities. Under the direction of the guide, everyone will
participate in the decision making, route finding, leading, and all the
other skills required to safely climb mountains. A unique aspect of
this course is that there will be at least two attempts on major
Rockies peaks, climbs that would not be possible with a larger group!
Below is some more
information about the course but if you have any questions please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
at any time.
There are many possible topics and we pride ourselves on having small
enough group sizes to customize the instruction to meet the needs of
all participants. The main goal of the course is to help participants
become self-sufficient in a variety of mountaineering terrain. Some of
the specific topics covered will include:
- Alpine rock
- Glacier travel
- Snow &
- Anchor building
& belaying on snow, ice, and rock
- Rapelling snow,
ice, and rock
- Rock protection
- Route finding
- Ropework skills
& avalanche basics
forecasting & assessment
- Map &
- Light &
- Gear selection
& ways to continue learning
Weather, conditions, and participants abilities may affect the order of
activities and climbing objectives chosen. However, here is a sample
outline of the course:
1 - Glacier travel circuit at
the Columbia Icefields. Participants will have chances to lead the rope
team and participate in decision making. Along the way we will practice
some ice climbing, more advanced crevasse rescue, navigation, anchor
building, and many other skills. The night will be spent at the
Columbia Icefields Campground.
2 - Mt. Athabasca attempt!
Athabasca is one of the best climbing peaks in the Canadian Rockies and
has been many climbers first big mountain. This will be a long day with
a pre-dawn start. See our Mt. Athabasca
page for pictures & information. The most likely route we will
climb is the Silverhorn but of course it depends upon snow &
weather conditions. The night will be spent at the Columbia Icefields
Campground, or you can choose to book a room at the Saskatchewan River
Crossing resort or Rampart Creek Hostel.
3 - Rock climbing &
alpine rock skills. The day will be spent at a rock climbing area where
we will learn the basics of rock protection, anchor building, ropework
in alpine terrain, and doing some rock climbing. We will also practice climbing rock terrain with boots & crampons, a common mountaineering scenario! The night will be
spent camping near the Saskatchewan River Crossing (45 minutes from the
Icefields), or you can choose to get a room at the Saskatchewan River
Crossing resort, David Thompson Resort, or the motel or hostel in Nordegg if you prefer.
4 - Progression of alpine rock climbing skills. We will continue improving the skills from the day before and while doing a bunch of climbing will also learn rescue skills, rope ascending, multipitch descents, and other ropework techniques. In the afternoon we will prepare for our final mountain of the week!
5 - Alpine ascent! There are a few different mountains we may attempt on the final day. The choice of peaks will depend on conditions, everyones interests, and the weather, but the most common one is another fun & challenging peak at the Icefields known as "A2". This peak is a bit smaller than Mt. Athabasca but is more
challenging with a complex glacier, a rocky ridge, and two pitches of climbing snowy rock with our crampons and mountaineering axes. It's a great way to put all the new skills into practice and leads us to a spectacular rocky summit with excellent views! The descent will involve some downclimbing, possibly a rappel, and then reversing our tracks across the glacier.
The Alpine Skills Course is a very physically demanding week in the
mountains with not a lot of time for rest. Therefore, the biggest
prerequisite is good physical fitness! You don't need to be an Olympic
athlete but you must be able to complete long days on your feet while
carrying a light pack. If you are unsure about your abilities, please
contact us at any time.
Experience: All participants
must have basic hiking, camping, and general outdoors skills. You need to be comfortable being self-sufficient with all the camping & such so that we can focus our energy on the climbing.
- Scrambling Experience: All participants must have hiked or scrambled at least a couple of mountains so that you have
an idea of what is involved fitness-wise for mountaineering in the Rockies. Small peaks such as Ha Ling or East End of Rundle are just fine, although be aware that the peaks we attempt during the course will be much longer and more demanding!
Travel & Crevasse Rescue:
All participants must have basic glacier travel & crevasse
rescue skills including experience with crampons. A 2 day Glacier
Travel Course is scheduled
immediately prior to the Alpine Skills Course for those without
previous experience. Almost all participants combine the two courses for an awesome 7 days in the mountains!
Experience: No previous technical climbing
experience of any sort is required. However, if you do have some
climbing skills, the small group size will allow plenty of
opportunities to improve & learn new techniques!
All climbing gear is provided free of charge except for mountaineering boots.
Contact us for a registration package which includes a detailed gear