Intro to Ice Climbing - Whistler and Squamish

Intro To Ice Climbing

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Introductory ice climbing training on ice walls


  • Cost:
  • $749

Location: Whistler/Pemberton  Duration: 2 Days  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 course is designed by expert ice climber and mountain guide Eric Dumerac.

Contact the office to request a specific course date: 1-604-938-9242 or

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The following dates are available for this course.

If you would like different dates, or to book a private course, please contact us.

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Course Information

This comprehensive two day ice climbing course focuses on providing students with a safe and reliable ice climbing system that promotes fast progression. Utilizing the latest in modern equipment, techniques and instruction, critical lessons include hazard management, climbing commands, ice terminology, route selection, ice grades, and more.

The first day will cover our 10 lesson plan. Day two we will focus on fine-tuning ice climbing technique, 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) and setting up top-ropes.

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

By the end of the weekend you will 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 Coast Mountain Range.

*All Courses subject to a minimum number of participants. 48 hour notice will be given if minimum number has not been reached.

Day One

  • Meet & Greet, sign waivers, safety discussion, and gear check
  • Location is determined by the guide on the day based on conditions
  • Lunch break at around noon
  • End of day debrief

Day Two

  • Meet for safety discussion and gear check
  • Drive to field location
  • Lunch break at around noon
  • End of day. Course debrief and next step recommendations
  • Course closure & equipment returns

Things to bring:

– Mountaineering, Ski or snowboard boots*

* Please let us know if you need to rent boots appropriate for this experience, and we will help arrange rentals.

– 2 technical ice axes

– Crampons

– Helmet

– Harness

– Belay Device

– Warm clothing (wool/synthetic recommended)

– Warm socks (wool/synthetic recommended)

– Insulating jacket (down or similar)

– Shell jacket (Gore-tex or similar)

– Shell trousers

– Warm gloves and shell gloves

– Snacks/Lunch

– Water

– Sunscreen

– Warm hat

– Sunglasses


– chemical toe warmers

– 30L day pack (we can provide if you don’t have one)

Ice Tools are provided by Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures, but if you have your own, please bring these with you so you can practice using your own gear.

Day One

  • 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, ideal ice placement
  • 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
Safety reminder: Current hazards and safety protocols for ice Climbing.Equipment: Adjust crampons, harnesses, helmets and backpack set up
Ice climbing warm up
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

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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.

Learn about training courses at the academy: 

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.

Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA. We also accept bank e-transfers and cash.

• For 1-2 day adventures/courses booking must be paid in full.
• For longer adventures/courses a deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking.
• The remaining balance is due 30 days before the start date.
• Bookings made less than 30 days before adventure/course must be paid in full.

Next day bookings are taken up until 5pm the day before any tour or course. *Subject to guide availability

Full Terms & Conditions

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 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 Tours

  • With less than 48 hours of the tour start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • With more than 48 hours notice:  We will reschedule or refund with no penalty.
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 of the course date: 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 of the course date: 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 19) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where a parent or legal guardian is not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well, they must sign a waiver and have a parent 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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