Learn to Ice Climb

Tired of restricting your climbing to gym plastic each winter? Or always wanted to get into this cool sport but intimidated and not sure where to start? Whether it's placing ice screws, using tools and crampons efficiently or assessing hazards, our entry level ice climbing course will teach the necessary skills to kickstart your ice climbing journey.

An ACMG certified instructor will deliver two days of personalized instruction and hands-on coaching at a minimum guide to participant ratio of 6:1.  You will also receive an ACC Ice Climbing Leader Handbook

If you're coming from outside the Bow Valley, why not top off your experience with a stay at our beautiful Canmore Clubhouse hostel.

* If you want to make the most of your adventure, your guide, Kris, is available for private sessions on the Friday or Monday before or after the weekend. If you are interested, please contact him via www.guidetherockies.ca

Camp Objectives

Learning Objectives


Core skills you can expect to develop on this camp include: 
  • Selection and use of ice climbing equipment such as crampons and tools
  • Introduction to effective ice climbing clothing and layering systems 
  • Efficient ice movement technique
  • Ice screw placements and stances
  • Hazard awareness and route selection
  • Ice anchors
  • V-threads
  • Trip preparation and planning

Climbing Objectives

Canmore is a world-class destination for ice climbing. Depending on what forms, regions that you may have a chance to sample include: 
  • King Creek
  • Wedge Smear 
  • Evan Thomas Creek
  • Haffner Creek
  • Bear Spirit
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Junkyards (Grassi Lake)
Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 
  •  
  • Each day will begin with a meeting at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. on Main Street (8th St), Canmore. This will allow you to grab some breakfast and/or lunch and arrange carpooling to the day's climbing area. Climbing areas will change daily and are determined by the guide(s) with the consideration of input from participants.
    • Day 1Meet the group at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. at 7:00 am (MST). We'll begin the course by quickly reviewing basic skills such as belaying and fitting crampons before swiftly moving on to the course learning objectives, starting with skills like efficient ice movement, screw placements and hazard awareness.
    • Day 2: Same meeting time and place. Today we'll step up the intensity of the learning and physical challenge with an option to try slightly steeper lines. The more advanced learning objectives will also be covered including skills like: resting positions, V-threads, trip planning.
Is this Camp For Me?
Entry Level

This camp is designed for people with either no or very limited ice climbing experience. However, you should have at least basic rope handling skills from rock or indoor climbing e.g. tie-in knots, belaying methods, clipping quickdraws etc. 

You will need to provide your own personal equipment e.g. boots, crampons, tools etc. but don't worry if you haven't purchased these yet. Gear Up in Canmore can rent you everything you need and ACC members get a 10% discount!
Food, Accommodation and Guiding

Food
To keep the cost of this camp as low as possible for you, food is not provided on this camp. Be sure to bring along a packed lunch and your favourite snack to fuel the field day!

Accommodation
Accommodation is not included in this course. 

Guiding

We have a dedicated team of instructors (below) who are excited to provide you with knowledge to start of your backcountry experiences safely. We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So for our field day on Day 3, we bring in an extra guide/instructor where necessary to keep participant-to-guide ratios below a maximum of 6:1. 

The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!

Rentals

If you don't have everything on the gear list and aren't ready to invest in your own, there are many awesome local businesses that rent out all of the equipment you will need.  Be sure to reserve your rentals ahead of time to make sure everything you need is available for you when you need it.

  • Coming from the Bow Valley? Check out GearUp in Canmore. ACC members get 10% off all gear rentals!
  • Coming from Calgary? We recommend renting your gear from MEC, the University of Calgary Outdoors Center, or the Norseman.
  • Coming from the Revelstoke? Give Revelstoke Powder Rentals a try.

 

Mountaineering Hazards

  • Rockfall and icefall
    • Rockfall and icefall can be caused by natural forces, or by people travelling through the terrain (Climbing/Scrambling/Hiking) 
    • What are the risks
    • Impact from a falling rock or ice can result in injury or death and can also damage equipment such as ropes.
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Your guide will ask you to put on a helmet when in the mountains
  • Avalanche
    • Avalanches can occur in the terrain you will be entering. Caused by natural forces, or by people travelling through the terrain  
    • What are the risks
    • Anyone caught in a avalanche is at risk of personal injury, death, and or property damage or loss
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Daily risk assessment processes
    • Guest training if avalanches are a risk on your trip
  • Terrain
    • Cornices
    • Crevasses
    • Trees, tree wells, and tree stumps
    • Creeks
    • Rocks and Boulders
    • Variable and difficult walking terrain
    • Impact or collision with other persons or objects
    • Encounters with domestic or wild animals
    • Contact with poisonous flora or fauna
    • Loss of balance or control
    • Slips, trips, and falls
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
    • Radios and/or other communication devices
  • Falls and belaying
    • Mountaineering and ice climbing present the risk of falling from the wall causing the climber to collide with the wall or ground 
    • There is also the risk of a belay failure, which can contribute to a ground fall
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide will review best belay practices with you or will control the belay
  • Communication, rescue, and medical treatment
    • Communication can be difficult and in the event of an accident rescue and treatment may not be available
    • Adverse weather may also delay the arrival of treatment or transportation out of the field,
    • Alpine weather conditions can be extreme and change rapidly without warning making travel by helicopter, snowmobile, snowcat, dangerous
    • If an injury occurs in challenging terrain movement to an evacuation point may be slow
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Emergency response plans
    • Satellite communication tools
  • Other
    • Slips trips and falls indoor or outdoor
    • Infectious disease contracted via direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to influenza or Covid-19
    • Equipment failure
    • Negligence of other persons, including other guests
    • Negligence of the guide Including failure to to take reasonable steps to safeguard or protect you from or warn you of risk, dangers, hazards, oh participating in ACC activities
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
    • Satellite communication tools

Your Guides

KRIS IRWIN

Kris is an ACMG Alpine Guide and lives in Banff with his wife Ellen and their daughters Aria and Annie. He is certified to lead all types of rock, ice, and mountain climbs and has been climbing in the mountains at home and abroad since 2004. Although he feels most at home on the classic ice climbs in the Rockies he has also made several first ascents in Alaska in the past few years. Kris is one of the most active waterfall ice climbing guides in the winter and in the summer can be seen leading guests throughout the Rockies, Bugaboos and Rogers Pass. An excellent instructor and personable guide, Kris always gets rave reviews from his guests


Common Course destinations

Details

  •  Dec 17-18 2022
  • Jan 14-15 2023
  • $395 + Tax
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More Information

Please try to register online before calling. If you are having issues please try to have your emergency contact information and course questionnaire filled out before calling.

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(403)-678-3200 ext 312

Cancellation Policy  
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Travel Insurance

 


INCLUDED WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

  • 2 days guiding and instruction by ACMG alpine guides at maximum 6:1 ratios
  • All group gear including ropes, top-rope anchoring equipment etc.
  • ACC Ice Climbing Leader Handbook

PARTICIPANTS MUST PROVIDE

  • Transportation to and from field locations (participants are expected to carpool)
  • Accommodation is available at the ACC Clubhouse  for an addition charge.
  • Meals and lunches
  • Personal gear (see gear list)

ORGANIZING FANTASTIC ACC ADVENTURES FOR OVER 100 YEARS

  • Local Knowledge: Based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
  • Dedicated resources: Full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
  • Not-for-profit: Any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community