Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing
Whistler / Squamish

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing – 2 Day Course

Rock Climbing Course


  • Cost:
  • $299

Location: Squamish or Whistler   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: None  

The ultimate 2 day, fully comprehensive intro to outdoor rock climbing. The world-class destination of Squamish, BC offers both sport and trad climbing. This course prepares climbers by offering the full set of critical skills necessary to safely and effectively begin both sport and trad climbing. Learn in the safest, most supportive environment with our cutting-edge curriculum and professional instruction from our certified ACMG, MSAA guides.

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Course Information

Our Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing course is designed to not only to provide students with a safe and reliable system to rock climb outdoors with confidence, but also an overview of trad climbing and its specific movements skills and specialized equipment. This will allow beginner climbers to safely undertake both sport climbing and trad climbing. An important set of skills considering the great number of sport routes; the majority of the climbing routes in Squamish are trad routes.  Suitable for those with or without previous climbing experience.

Sport routes are protected by in-situ bolts in the rock, while trad routes are protected by placing trad gear into cracks.

We use a systematic approach to introduce and refine 14 critical outdoor rock climbing lessons over 2 days.

A comprehensive skill-focused Itinerary:

  • Basic climbing equipment and its use
  • Outdoor climbing safety and hazard management for both sport and trad climbing
  • Knots
  • Belaying and safely tying into the rope
  • Sport and Trad climbing terminology and commands
  • Rock climbing movement and trad climbing skills
  • Rope management
  • Trad Climbing equipment overview
  • Anchor building and assessment
  • Seconding, cleaning and racking trad gear
  • Top-rope set up
  • Rappelling skills
  • Threading the anchor for lowering
  • Mock leading
  • Route selection and climbing grades
  • Overall skills practice, coaching and refinement

With this course our goal is to ensure that all participants are able to independently begin both sport and trad climbing by  building a strong foundation to allow for ultimate safety, excellent technique and a rapid progression.

We use a fully comprehensive curriculum that has been developed by leading, certified rock climbing guides.

The course is run over 2 full days, with a low student to guide ratio and with your guide following our carefully crafted curriculum and lesson plan. This ensures each participant receives the full curriculum,  coaching, and personalized instruction.

As noted, the two day course provides an additional overview of trad climbing equipment, extremely beneficial trad climbing movement skills and of course practices and refines the skills learned on day one for the ultimate beginners skill set. As you progress in the future, you may consider our excellent Intro to Trad which focuses in depth on trad placements and complex anchor building as well as our multi-pitch course to enjoy the soaring multi-pitch routes.

You can take comfort in knowing that our instructors are certified guides who possess a great depth of experience, excel at their trade and that Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures is the Sea to Sky corridor’s longest established and most trusted local mountain school!


Day One

  • You will be emailed a full logistics package as well as a course lesson handout.
  • You will meet your certified professional guide at pre-arranged meeting point. Your guide will be in our trademark red uniform.
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, safety discussion and gear check.
  • Discuss current weather and the objectives of the day.
  • Drive or walk to course location.
  • Lessons 1 – 14
  • End of day. Debrief, discuss following day.

Day Two

  • Meet your guide at pre-arranged meeting point
  • Discuss current weather and the objectives of the day, look at the guide book and select appropriate routes
  • Drive to course location
  • Lessons 15 – 28
  • Introduction to trad climbing movement
  • Trad climbing gear overview, cleaning and racking
  • Continuing rock climbing technique refinement with quality feedback and fine-tuning.
  • End of day. Debrief, discussion of course and next step recommendations.
  • Course close.


Weather conditions along the Coast Mountain Range are constantly changing. Plan ahead, look into weather trends, and prepare for all weather conditions.

  • Climbing pants (light pants that allow maximum mobility)
  • T-shirt
  • Mid layer fleece or wool top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket
  • Down or synthetic insulating “puffy” jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Light gloves
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Approach shoes
  • Daypack 25-35L

Individual Equipment

  • Rock shoes
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device
  • 6 locking carabiners
  • 120 or 240 cm sling
  • Chalk bag

Group Equipment

  • Rope
  • Anchor building equipment
  • Trad climbing gear

Food and water are not included.

If you do not have personal climbing equipment please contact us for rental of helmets, harness, and climbing shoes. Other items should be purchased.

Ropes and other climbing equipment will be provided.

If you own your own equipment and choose to use it please let us know in advance. It is beneficial to practice using your own equipment under the supervision of a professional.

Day One

  • Lesson 1 Equipment & Use: fit for climbing shoes, harness, helmet
  • Lesson 2 Environment : leave no trace and wildlife discussion.
  • Lesson 3 On site safety: outdoor rock climbing hazards and safety
  • Lesson 4 Rock climbing terminology and commands
  • Lesson 5 Essential climbing knots
  • Lesson 6 Rock Climbing Movement : learn basic climbing techniques, balance,  hand grips foot placements and more.
  • Lesson 7 Belaying & safely tying into the rope: current belay techniques using  belay device and gri-gri, getting others to safely belay you, safety checks.
  • Lesson 8 Rope management: Learn about ropes, what you should buy, how to coil your rope for storage and transport and rope handling at the outdoor crag
  • Lesson 9 Anchors: Introduction to different anchors, building, quality assessment and use
  • Lesson 10 Top-rope set up: Accessing a climb either by leading a route or from the top to set up a top-rope.
  • Lesson 11  Rappelling skills: setting up a rappel with safety considerations such as route length, threading the anchor for rappel, rope end knots and prussic back-up.
  • Lesson 12 Threading the anchor: Anchor threading skills including safety considerations such threading a bite, lowering on a bite or rope end, route length and commands.
  • Lesson 13 Climbing grades: Understanding different climbing grades and your ability
  • Lesson 14 Route selection: Reading guidebooks, understanding the route topo

Day Two

On this day, apart from instructing the trad climbing items, your guide takes a careful but more supervisory and coaching role in order to encourage skill mastery which every participants needs in order to undertake safe independent climbing after the course.

  • Lesson 15 Morning meeting, weather, conditions and learning to use guidebooks and choosing a route
  • Lesson 16: Safety reminder: current hazards and safety protocols in rock climbing.
  • Climbing: warm up
  • Lesson 17 Safety, commands and rope management review
  • Lesson 18 Tying in and Belaying review
  • Lesson 19 Threading and Lowering and/or Rappelling review
  • Lesson 20 Climbing: professional coaching and movement skills
  • Lesson 21 Introduction to trad climbing movement skills (finger, hand and foot jams in cracks and related skills)
  • Lesson 22 The trad rack: An overview of the traditional climbing equipment and briefly how it works
  • Lesson 23 Seconding, cleaning and racking trad gear
  • Lesson 24 Mock Leads in preparation for the next phases of traditional and lead climbing: this is being belayed but with a second rope to “pretending” to lead. This sets up our participants to lead routes when they are ready to
  • Lesson 25 Threading the anchor and lowering off review
  • End of course, debrief and next steps

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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 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
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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