Our extensive experience training youth and Army Cadets is applied to this fun and challenging week of mountaineering instruction for 15 - 17 year olds. Being exposed to the mountain environment at a young age typically instills a lifelong love of the outdoors. Our instructional approach is tailored to the learning styles and needs of active and motivated teens. Our guides are excellent mentors and personal coaches who present mountaineering skills in a fun and interactive manner. This is hands down the most amazing summer camp program any teen could attend.
We welcome parents to attend the program.
There is considerable flexibility built into the delivery of this course, no course is exactly the same. Snow and weather conditions will dictate the order of presentation to some degree given we are based on a glacier for the week. The course may also move over to other huts. Key topics will be constantly revisited during the program.
- Snow School: Movement on snow - Use of Ice Axe - Self Arrests - Snow Anchors
- Ice School: Walking with Crampons - Ice Anchors
- Glacier Safety: Glacier Morphology - Choosing a Safe Route - Rope Use for Glaciers - Crevasse Rescue
- Navigation: Map and Compass Use - Whiteout Procedures - Route Planning
- Safe Movement: Trail Techniques and Pacing - Use of Rope on Snow, Ice and Mixed Terrain
- Accident and Emergency Procedures
- CLIMBS!!! 'Introduction to Mountaineering' is a 'hands-on' course. Skills are explained, demonstrated in the field and then put into practice by participants during glacier crossings and peak ascents. Expect to be sharing the lead, solving route finding problems and fully involved in decision making.
Meeting Place & Time
The program begins at the Yamnuska office at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore, at 8:30 am on the first day.
The course is based out of Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefields just north of Lake Louise. The peaks range from 2900 meters to 3200 meters in height and are of just the right difficulty for instruction. The extensive glaciers are ideal for gaining experience in both safe travel among crevasses and in whiteout navigation when the weather turns bad.
Participants are responsible for their own transport to Canmore which is a 1hour (100km) drive west from Calgary. Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. Greyhound Bus Lines serves Canmore from points east and west along the Trans-Canada Highway. We provide transport to and from the trailhead. You should plan to arrive in Canmore the day before the course.
Accommodation & Meals
During the trip we stay in alpine huts operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. Sleeping areas are communal and facilities basic.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. For your convenience we can arrange hotel accommodations in Canmore for $160 per night. Double or single occupancy, the cost is the same. This accommodation can be booked with the trip online or by calling us. Subject to availability.
You can also make your own arrangements. In addition the Alpine Club of Canada Clubhouse is a good hostel here in Canmore with good facilities and reasonable prices.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
All meals, snacks and drinks are supplied from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 6. Mountain meals are made from lightweight ingredients. Please let us know, well in advance, if you have any dietary restrictions or prefer a vegetarian menu. Your assistance with meal duties will be appreciated.
Equipment and Clothing
You will need to bring all your own clothing, mountaineering boots (rentals available), backpack and sleeping bag. We supply technical gear (ice axes, crampons, harnesses etc.) and other group safety items. The equipment and clothing you bring to this program will have a big impact upon the quality of your experience. Please be sure to bring all items requested. If you are unsure about anything please do not hesitate to call and ask us.
We suggest layers of light, easily carried clothing that allow for fast and easy adjustment to best suit fast changing temperature conditions. We discourage cotton clothing as it causes rapid heat loss when wet. Feel free to call us if you have any questions about what to bring. This list covers items needed for all likely conditions during the mountaineering season. Your guide will go through your clothing and gear with you prior to the course.
You will need to bring:
- LONG UNDERWEAR, top and bottom, polypro, wool, capilene or fleece.
- WOOL/BLEND SOCKS (extra pairs).
- Warm LONG PANTS to climb in. These could be windproof nylon/synthetic blend mountaineering pants, fleece pants, nylon exercise pants with light long johns or wool trousers.
- Light SHIRT or T-SHIRT.
- Wool or fleece LONG SLEEVE SHIRT with collar.
- FLEECE SWEATER (medium weight).
- Heavyweight fleece or insulated JACKET.
- Cotton SHORTS.
- Water proof OUTER JACKET with hood (Gore-Tex).
- Waterproof OUTER PANTS, preferably with sidezips on legs.
- Waterproof knee-length GAITERS that will fit over large boots .
- Waterproof mountaineering GLOVES or wool / fleece mitts /gloves plus waterproof overmitts.
- WARM HAT (that covers ears).
- SUNHAT with wide brim.
- NECK TUBE.
- RUNNING SHOES (you may wear these on approach to hut and at the hut).
You will need to bring:
- SLEEPING BAG. In summer the huts don't get too cold so don't bring a winter bag. We suggest a bag rated down to 0 Celsius (320 F.) but if your bag doesn't quite get down that far don't worry too much. Make sure you bring a stuff sac that will reduce your bag to its minimum size (i.e. one with compression straps) so you don't use up all the room in your pack.
- BACKPACK. Big enough to fit extra clothing, sleeping bag, and share of food. Internal frame packs are most comfortable. A 60-70 Litre pack is suitable.
- MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: You will need mountaineering boots designed specifically for this use. Most hiking boots are not suitable not being firm enough, waterproof and not made to take crampons. Mountaineering boots are made from leather or plastic. Leather boots have either a semi-rigid or a rigid sole. Plastic boots have rigid soles. The most important feature of a mountaineering boot is comfort. Different brands seem to suit different feet. If buying try a few different pairs and if they are not comfortable don't buy them. There are many good brands. They include Asolo, Kayland, Koflach, la Sportiva and Scarpa.
- DAYPACK. This is optional and only recommended if your backpack is too unwieldy for advanced climbs. Large enough to carry spare clothing, lunch, water and climbing gear.
- SUNGLASSES with good UV protection, we suggest 'glacier glasses'.
- Extra Strength SUN CREAM.
- Lip Cream
- HEADLAMP with fresh batteries.
- WATER BOTTLE (1L minimum).
- POCKET KNIFE
- BLISTER KIT ('moleskin', 'Second Skin')
- FIRST-AID Items (band-aids, ibuprofen & aspirin / Tylenol is enough as guides have a kit also).
- CAMERA and spare film.
- TREKKING POLE (S) (optional).
- EAR PLUGS for dorm sleeping.
- Music Player & / or READING MATTER (optional of course).
We supply & pre place at the Hut the following items, but if you have your own & don't mind carrying the extra weight to the Hut, please feel free to bring along:
- ICE AXE. We suggest a general mountaineering axe optimum 70cm length.
- CRAMPONS. Must fit your boots.
- HARNESS. Sit harness preferred.
- CLIMBING HELMET.
- PRUSSICK SLINGS.
- LOCKING & NON-LOCKING CARABINERS