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Intro To Ice Climbing


Duration: 2 DaysCost: $272.00 pp
Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies
Fitness: Average Ability: Introductory
Prerequisites: None

Our Intro to Ice Climbing course is designed for those with no previous ice climbing experience, rock climbers and mountaineers looking to develop basic ice climbing skills.

This comprehensive two day course focuses on providing students with a safe and reliable ice climbing system that promotes fast progression.

Make a Booking

Dates to be posted in October.

If you have specific dates in mind you can send us a Request Alternative Dates email and we'll do our best to help you out.

You can also request a Private Course!

Course Information

Our Intro to Ice Climbing course is designed for those with no previous ice climbing experience, rock climbers and mountaineers looking to develop basic ice climbing skills.

This beginner ice climbing course is designed by expert ice climber and ACMG IFMGA Mountain Guide Eric Dumerac.

This comprehensive two day course focuses on providing students with a safe and reliable ice climbing system that promotes fast progression.

We utilize the latest in modern equipment, techniques and instruction.

Day one critical lessons include:

  • Hazard management
  • Climbing commands
  • Ice terminology
  • Route selection
  • Ice grades

On day two we will focus on fine-tuning ice climbing technique, and critical skills are covered including:

  • Placing and removing ice screws
  • Building reliable anchors
  • Making and assessing v-thread anchors
  • Rappelling on ice
  • Rope handling
  • Leading ice (with mock lead safety)
  • Setting up top-ropes

To prepare climbers to safely venture on their own additional skills include obtaining avalanche & weather forecast, determining proper route choice, using guidebooks, equipment considerations, how to best rack up, and more.

By the end of the weekend you’ll not only have had an incredible two days but you will be ready to head out on your own and take on some of the world’s best routes right here in the Canadian Rockies.

Day One

  • 09:00 Meet at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co Bow Valley Trail
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, discuss current weather, local conditons, gear check
  • Drive to field location, this will be determined by the guide on the day based on conditions
  • Lessons 1 – 10
  • Lunch at around noon
  • 16:00 End of day. Debrief. Discuss following day
  • Return to Canmore

Day Two

  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather and local conditions, gear check
  • Drive to field location
  • Lessons 1 and 2
  • Safety reminder: Current hazards and safety protocols for ice Climbing.Equipment: Adjust crampons, harnesses, helmets and backpack set up
  • Ice climbing warm up
  • Lessons 3 – 10
  • 16:00 End of day
  • Course debrief and next step recommendations
  • Course closure & return to Canmore

We are happy to help source any rental gear you need for your trip


  • 2 technical ice axes
  • Crampons
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device
  • Personal prussik
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Down or synthetic “puffy” insulated jacket
  • Warm under layers and socks
  • Light grippy gloves, preferably waterproof
  • Warm mitts or gloves
  • Warm hat, balaclava
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Lunch, snacks, water, thermos with hot drink (optional)

You are welcome to bring your own climbing gear if you have it.

We can arrange rental of a complete set of ice climbing gear for $30 per day, please let us know when you register if you require this.
If you are looking to continue climbing beyond this weekend we strongly recommend purchasing at least your own harness, helmet, locking carabiner and belay device.
Please bring these along to the course so we can teach you the correct usage techniques and get you climbing comfortably in your own gear.

Day 1

  • Lesson 1 Equipment: Adjust crampons, harnesses, helmets and backpack set-ups.
  • Lesson 2 Environment: Leave no trace and wildlife discussion.
  • Lesson 3 Onsite safety: Current hazards and safety protocols.
  • Lesson 4 Crampons: Low angle ice cramponing and front pointing techniques.
  • Lesson 5 Ice & tools: Momentum axe swing, proper stance (shoulders square, elbow up & pointing), ideal ice placement (convexities)
  • Lesson 6: Ice movement, stability, stance and balance.Lesson 7 Knots: Knots and tying into the rope.
  • Lesson 8 Belaying, rope management, commands and safety systems for top rope climbing.
  • Lesson 9 MSA 3PX technique – summarized; Three points of contact, safe & stable position, effortless forward movement, economy of movement – straight arm or locked off position, the perfect swing, the perfect kick, dynamic forward motion
  • Lesson 10 Perfecting 3PX technique towards expert technique (staggered ice axes, pacing and resting, advanced dynamic forward motion, steep ice technique)

Day Two

  • Lesson 1 Evaluate Weather & CAA Avalanche Forecast.
  • Lesson 2 Choose an appropriate venue and route – use Parks Canada ATES Scale
  • Lesson 3 Ice screws, protection placement stances, v-threads, bolted anchors, screamer draws, v-thread hooking tool, screw quick clips
  • Lesson 4 Rappelling system: anchor/testing backing up v-threads
  • Lesson 5 Setting up top ropes
  • Lesson 6 How to best rack up and prepare for lead climbing: belayer position, climbing commands, picking a route, guidebooks
  • Lesson 7 Demo lead climb
  • Lesson 8 Mock leads (this is mock leading with the safety of a top rope)
  • Lesson 9 Cleaning ice screws
  • Lesson 10 Actual lead with safety, feedback and fine-tuning

Transport to Field Locations

Participants in this course will meet their guide at an agreed time and location, usually a local cafe, in Canmore on the morning of the first day. From there you will be expected to have private transport to get to the course location. If you don't have private transport we can arrange transport with the guide for $20 per day.

Accommodation in Canmore

Accommodation is not included in the course price however we offer significantly discounted pricing arrangements through a selection of local providers ranging from hostel dorm beds to hotel suites. If you require accommodation in Canmore for the length of your course please let us know when you register and we can make the arrangements. Often course participants split the cost of a room and are able to enjoy the amenity of a full service hotel at the price of a hostel dorm bed.

Food for Backcountry Field Days

Please make sure you pack plenty of high energy food and snacks as well as fluids to keep you at your best all day long. There are plenty of restaurants and supermarkets in Canmore, and if you completely forget we start the day at a local coffee shop so you'll be able to grab something for lunch from there. A thermos of tea or coffee is also a great idea.

We're flexible!

Request ALternative Dates

Request Alternative Dates

Have particular dates in mind? Let us know! If we have enough requests we'll add them to this course.

Request ALternative Dates

Request a Private Course

We organise private courses and trips. Click here to start filling out the request form.

Request ALternative Dates

Buddy Up!

Share the cost of the guide! Let us know which activity you would like to do and we'll do our best to find you a buddy.

Important Information

We offer two types of Insurance and strongly recommend you purchase both through our provider or otherwise.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Please see the relevant full policy document:

For Canadians taking a hut trip see here

For international visitors taking any of our courses or trips see here

Cancellation Insurance

While no one makes a booking with the intent of not being able to undertake their course, the fact of the matter is there are an endless number of legitimate reasons why such an eventuality might occur. Cancellation insurance costs approximately 4% of the cost of your trip and covers you for any reasonable eventuality that prevents your attendance. We strongly recommend this worthwhile investment.

Please read TIC’s full Cancellation Insurance policy here. If you wish to purchase insurance we recommend Travel Underwriters and they can be found at or 1800-663-5389

All course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept Credit Card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

If conditions force us to altogether cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. If you require cancellation for any other reason unfortunately this isn’t possible less than 8 weeks (56 days) from the commencement of your course as we have already begun to incur costs related to your booking at this time. We offer cancellation insurance through TIC and we strongly recommend you take this at the time of booking. Please see the insurance tab for more details. Alternatively if you are able to find someone else to take your place please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.

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