Intro To Basic Mountaineering: Banff & Canmore AB
Banff / Canmore

Intro To Basic Mountaineering

Intro to Basic Mountaineering Canada


  • Cost:
  • 2 people: $550 per person (surcharges may apply)

Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: Crevasse rescue  

The Canadian Rockies are renowned for summer mountaineering, with many peaks reaching over 11,000ft. Join our Intro to Mountaineering course and begin to explore the Rockies with confidence. In this course you will learn the basic mountaineering skills needed to safely climb a snow and ice peak. June 15-16, Aug 17-18

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Course Information

The Canadian Rockies are renowned for summer mountaineering, with many peaks reaching over 11,000ft. Join Mountain Skills Academy for our Intro to mountaineering course and begin to explore the Rockies with confidence. In this course you will learn the basic mountaineering skills needed to safely climb a snow and ice peak.

On day one we will focus on skill development and on day 2 we will put your skills to use by climbing a peak.

Although not a pre-requisite, it is highly recommended that participants take a crevasse rescue course prior to taking this course as most peaks require a glacier approach. If you would like to take a comprehensive mountaineering course that includes instruction in glacier travel and crevasse rescue, consider our Mountaineering Super Course.Â

Why learn from MSA?

Low Guide to Participant Ratio. Distinctive shift from the norm. Ratios are 1:4 on day one and if the objective is more technical on day 2 then 1:2. This allows for personalized mentoring and the ability to accomplish more complex and technical objectives.Â

World Class Destinations.We run this program either in the Canadian Rockies based out of Lake Louise, the Selkirk Mountains based out of the Wheeler Hut in Rogers Pass, or Purcell Mountains based out of the Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboo Provincial Park.

Flexible terrain. We have the flexibility to choose the area with the best conditions at the time. Sometimes we will be in one mountain range for part of the course and move to another for the rest of our course, so you have the best learning experience.

Comfortable base. Our base camps are comfortable indoor accommodation (huts, hostels) where we can also hold the evening session.

Carefully designed. The course is designed by leading alpinists and certified IFMGA Mountain Guides, incorporating the best of both the European and Canadian approaches.

All inclusive. The price includes all necessary equipment and 1 night accommodation.

*A fully catered option is available for only $33.00 a day extra. Includes 3 meals  a day, designed by Backcountry Bistro for caloric value, light weight and taste.

Day One

  • 7:00am Meeting location to be announced
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers
  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather, local conditions, objectives, gear check
  • Drive to location
  • Snow and Ice School – movement on snow and ice, use of ice axes, how to self-arrest, snow and ice anchors
  • Course objectives
  • Lunch at around noon
  • 4:30pm End of day. Debrief, discuss following day

Day Two

  • Departure time to be announced – depending on objective and conditions
  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather, local conditions, objectives, gear check
  • Climb a peak suitable for the current conditions
  • Lunch at around noon
  • End of day. Debrief, discuss next steps


*During the summer months in the Canadian Rockies weather conditions are constantly changing. Be prepared for both hot or cold days and even rain. There are several rain protected climbing venues we endeavour to utilise but it is essential that you pack enough clothing to be prepared for any weather conditions. So please dress according to the forecast for the course days and pack clothes for varied conditions.

We recommend the following:

  • Head lamp with extra batteries
  • Soft shell type climbing pants
  • Warm top and bottom underlayers and socks
  • Synthetic t-shirt
  • Mid layer fleece
  • Weatherproof shell jacket
  • Down or synthetic insulated “puffy” jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Warm mountain or ice climbing gloves
  • Thinner warmer weather gloves
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Daypack 35-45 L
  • Earplugs for hut/hostel
  • Toiletries including toilet paper
  • Camera
  • We recommend that you bring a hiking pole


For your Introductory Mountaineering Course we provide the following essential alpine mountaineering equipment.

If you already own some or all of this equipment we highly recommend that you use it as it is best to be familiar with your own equipment. Please let us know when you register.

The following mountaineering equipment is included:

  • Mountaineering boots
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering Axe
  • Crampons
  • 2 x 60m single ropes
  • Belay device
  • Ice screws
  • Snow Picket
  • 4 locking carabiners
  • 6 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m x 7mm prussic
  • 1 x 1.5 x 7mm prussic
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 6 trad draws (1 x 60cm sling + 2 non-locking carabiners = 1 trad draw)

Your guide/instructor will also bring along:

  • First aid kit with splint
  • Cell phone / satellite phone
  • Guide’s tarp
  • Programmable Radio

Day One

  • Lesson 1 Mountain Environment: Leave no trace and WILDLIFE discussion.
  • Lesson 2 Snow School: Movement on Snow with piolet cannes positions (kicking steps, cross step, rest step)
  • Lesson 3 Snow School: Use of Ice Axes, chopping steps, piolet traction position, ice climbing, down climbing and dealing with low angled ice
  • Lesson 4 Snow School: How to Self Arrest in different positions
  • Lesson 5 Snow and ice mountaineering anchors: ice screws, t-slots, snow/ice bollards, snow pickets, v-thread and improvised anchors
  • Lesson 6 Crevasse rescue from a real crevasse- team rescue scenario
  • Lesson 7 Introduction to short roping and taking coils
  • Lesson 8 Body and terrain belays in snow & ice terrain
  • Lesson 9 Mountaineering rope handling
  • Lesson 10 Situational awareness, recognizing and anticipating transitions- changing from roped, belayed, short roped and unroped methods in snow/ice conditions
  • Lesson 11 Alpine ice climbing technique- ice, névé, mixed mediums & placing protection
  • Lesson 12 Climb an alpine ice & snow objective
  • Lesson 13 Glissading
  • Lesson 14 The mountain environment- risk and hazard management- recognize and mitigate (overnight freeze, rockfall, cornice, crevasse, steep terrain etc)
  • Lesson 15 Mountain sense and route finding
  • Lesson 16 Alpine snow & ice route strategy

Day Two

  • Lesson 17 Challenging alpine Snow and Ice objective

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

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 your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

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.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to 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. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.  *Does not apply to First Aid and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 24 hours: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no reschedule.
  • Outside of 24 hours: $25 rescheduling fee per booking or full refund.
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, 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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