Canada Rockies Alpine Guides - CRAG -Mountaineering and Climbing in Alberta's Rocky Mountains
Canadian Rockies Climbing Calendar

Use this page as a general outline of the climbing seasons in the Canadian Rockies to get an idea of what type of climbing is best during the time of year you plan on visiting the Rockies. Scheduled courses, clinics, and mountaineering trips are also included at the beginning of each section.

Waterfall Ice Climbing Seasons in the Canadian Rockies
Winter 2019/20 courses
Intro Ice Weekend: Dec 14-15th(FULL); Jan 4-5th; Mar 7-8th
Intermediate Ice Weekend: Nov 30-Dec 1st(FULL); Dec 21-22nd; Jan 11-12th(FULL); Feb 29th-Mar 1st; Mar 21-22nd
Mixed Climbing Weekend: Nov 23-24th(FULL); Jan 18-19th(FULL)
Ice Skills Week (5 days): Dec 16-20th(FULL); Jan 27-31st(FULL)

The Canadian Rockies are blessed with not only the best ice in the world, but also a very long winter season. This is a true ice climbers paradise! During October and November a number of tantalizing drips begin to appear throughout the range. It is not until mid November however, that the ice conditions usually shape up and the classic routes see their first ascents of the year. Late November right through until early April are the prime times to plan your ice climbing holiday. Drytooling lessons are available year round.

Rock Climbing Seasons in the Alberta Rockies
2020 Courses:
Intro Rock Climbing: June 13-14th; Sep 5-6th
Sport Lead Course: May 2-3rd; July 11-12th; Aug 22-23rd
Trad Climbing Course: May 30-31st; June 27-28th
Rock Skills Course (3 days): June 15-17th; Aug 17-19th (FULL)
Advanced Rock Climbing Week (5 days): Jul 13-17th

The rock climbing season in the Canadian Rockies usually begins in early May and lasts until early October. That said, many sunny areas, including Mt. Yamnuska, can often be found in dry, warm conditions at various points throughout the shoulder seasons and even in the winter. July & August have the most reliable good weather.

Mountain Climbing Seasons in the Canadian Rockies
2020 Courses:
Glacier Travel Course: May 16-17th; Jun 6-7th; Jun 20-21st; Sep 12-13th; Sep 26-27th; Oct 3-4th
Alpine Skills Course (5 days): May 18-22nd (FULL); June 8-12th (FULL); June 22-26th (FULL); Sep 14-18th
Mt. Temple SW Slopes ascents (1 day): Aug 9th; Aug 23rd (FULL)

Most mountains can be climbed year round under a variety of different conditions but choice of route and difficulty of the climbing changes throughout the year. An outline of mountaineering conditions in the Canadian Rockies is as follows:

Spring (mid May to mid June)
Alpine Rock Routes on the smaller peaks and south faces such as Castle Mtn., Mt. Louis and Mt. Abraham (III 5.8) generally come into good shape during this period. The bigger peaks and north facing routes hold snow until late June most years.
Alpine Snow & Ice Routes quickly come in and out of condition during the spring due to changing weather and snowpack. Early starts and cold nights can find many routes, such as those on Mt. Athabasca and Mt. Andromeda in excellent climbing shape. On the other hand, warm temperatures can make travel difficult or unsafe in the lingering snowpack and alternative objectives may have to be chosen.
Mixed Alpine Routes such as Astroid Alley on Mt. Andromeda can be in good conditions, particularily in May before things warm up too much.

Summer (mid June to September)
Alpine Rock Routes on the higher peaks such as Mt. Temple and Edith Cavell are at their driest. Late July through August is the best times to plan an ascent of one of the more difficult and large routes such as the North Faces of Mt. Temple, Mt. Cline, and Mt. Edith Cavell or the Wishbone Arete on Mt. Robson. The higher ridge routes such as the North Ridge of Mt. Assiniboine or SE Ridge of Mt. Victoria are also in prime conditions.
Alpine Snow & Ice Routes such as Mt. Athabasca's Silverhorn, Mt. Andromeda's North Bowl and Mt. Victoria's North Face are generally best during this season, particularly in late June & July. The routes on Mt. Robson are usually best in late July or August.
Mixed Alpine Routes come in and out of shape as temperatures fluctuate. Routes such as the North Face of Athabasca can be in great condition but the harder routes like Astroid Alley are generally too dangerous at this time of year.

Fall (October to December)
Alpine Rock Routes will have snow on them most of the time. In early October the lower rock peaks such as Castle Mountain may still be in good shape. Later on, ascents may be possible on some rock routes but conditions will usually be much more difficult than during the summer.
Alpine Snow & Ice Routes can be in good shape whenever avalanche conditions allow for an ascent.
Mixed Alpine Routes are often in their prime. This is the best time to plan an ascent of hard routes such as Astroid Alley on Andromeda.

Winter (December to April)
Climbing mountains during the winter is not for everybody and conditions can be highly variable. However, for those willing to face the harsh elements, the rewards make it well worth the effort. However, it is impossible to predict conditions and the majority of the time it isn't reasonable to head up on the big peaks during the winter. Because of this it is important to remain highly flexible with objectives and to realize that ice climbing days often take the place of alpine climbing days if conditions do not allow for safe travel up high.
Alpine Rock Routes are covered in snow but may occasionally be climbable, particularly south facing routes on the east side of the range such as Mt. Abraham's Shoulder Route, Mt. Fable's South Ridge, and Mt. Lorrette.
Alpine Snow & Ice Routes are sometimes climbable but will be more difficult than during the rest of the year. The snowpack we get in the Canadian Rockies is soft and very challenging to travel through, so most of the time it's not realistic to try and get anywhere on foot up high.
Mixed Alpine Routes can be in excellent shape but are very dependant on day to day weather and snowpack conditions. Some of the smaller front range ones such as Coire Dubh Integral near Canmore offer an excellent introduction to this type of climbing and are usually climbable all winter.

Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides (CRAG) - - Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Mountain climbing adventures and courses in the Canadian Rockies & Columbia mountains of Alberta and B.C. - Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, and Alpine Climbing Guiding.

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