Outdoor Rock Climbing Course Intro: Banff & Canmore AB
Banff / Canmore

Intro To Outdoor Rock Climbing


  • Cost:
  • $299

Location: Canmore and Banff, Canadian Rockies   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: None  

A cutting edge course providing participants with the complete skill set needed to competently rock climb outdoors in a safe and autonomous manner, while establishing a solid foundation for rapid future progression.

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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 course is  designed to provide participants with a fully comprehensive curriculum of the indispensable skills necessary to climb outdoors safely, competently and autonomously. Furthermore this  fast track course establishes a solid foundation which affords participants a rapid future progression.

To achieve this we use a systematic approach over 2 full days to introduce and refine 17 critical outdoor rock climbing lessons including specialized training and personal coaching.

Instructors are ACMG certified through the Thomson University Canadian Mountain & Ski Guide Program.  The venues we utilize are world class climbing areas near Canmore and Banff (within an hours drive of Calgary), which we have set up and designed to be the perfect outdoor rock school. There are also routes there to meet every ability level.

Our comprehensive skill-focused Itinerary includes:

  • Climbing safety and hazard management
  • Equipment
  • Rock Climbing Movement skills
  • Knots and Climbing Systems
  • Rock Climbing Terminology
  • Guide Books, Route Selection and Climbing Grades
  • Belaying: Top Roping and Lead Belaying (spotting)
  • Intro to Anchors (building, assessment and utilization)
  • Threading Anchors, Rappelling and Descent Systems
  • Seconding Sport & Trad Routes
  • Setting up Top-ropes
  • Intro to Lead Climbing
  • Rock Climbing Development Strategy

Establishing a solid skill set and foundation is a most important part of ones development as a climber. As such only the highest quality, fully comprehensive course is suitable. This is something we understand, take this very seriously and have worked diligently to fulfill,  a fact much appreciated by discerning participants. Rest assured and be confident in entrusting your skills to us, after all, providing you quality training and your satisfaction is a matter of professional pride!

Cutting edge comprehensive courses, carefully crafted curriculum, refined delivery and expert instruction.

MSAA is recognized as a premiere mountain school, owned and operated by ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guides (the highest and only globally recognized professional mountain certification). Proud to have over 20 years of experience, operating since 1992.

Day One

  • 09:00 Morning meeting: formal introductions, sign waivers, safety discussion and backpack/equipment check
  • Drive to course location
  • Begin course (Lessons 1 – 12)
  • Coaching & skill refinement throughout the day
  • Lunch at around noon
  • 16:30 End of day. Debrief, discuss following day

Day Two

  • 09:00 Meet at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. (Downtown location, Canmore)
  • Morning Meeting: coffee or tea, review, equipment check.
  • Drive to course location
  • Resume Course Instruction ( Lessons 13-17)
  • Lunch at around noon
  • More climbing: Continuing rock climbing technique refinement with quality feedback and fine-tuning
  • Course debrief and next step recommendations
  • Conclusion of course


During the summer months weather conditions are constantly changing. Be prepared for both hot or cold days and even rain. There are several rain protected climbing venues. So please dress according to the forecast for the course days.

We recommend the following:

  • Climbing pants or sweatpants
  • T-shirt
  • Mid layer fleece
  • Rain jacket
  • Puffy or warm jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Thin gloves for belaying
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sturdy hiking shoes or boots
  • Backpack large enough to carry personal and group gear.
  • Lunch and snacks

Outdoor Rock Climbing Equipment

  • Rock shoes
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device
  • Locking carabiner
  • Chalk bag

We have rental equipment available if needed, but we highly recommend using your own gear so you can get comfortable with it under the guide’s instruction.

All group climbing equipment will be brought along for this course by your guide.

• Lesson 1 Outdoor rock climbing equipment
• Lesson 2 Environment: Rock climbing ethics
• Lesson 3 Crag objective & subjective climbing hazards and safety protocols
• Lesson 4 Rock climbing movement, technique and climbing grades
• Lesson 5 Essential climbing knots (figure eight, clove-hitch, munter, girth-hitch)
• Lesson 6 Intro to natural and bolted crag anchors and anchor assessment
• Lesson 7 Threading the anchor: Ring bolts, chains, cold shuts and natural anchors
• Lesson 8 Communication: climbing commands, terminology and communication with your climbing partner
• Lesson 9 Learning to use guidebooks, reading route topos and choosing a route
• Lesson 10 Belaying top roped climbs with belay device and Gri-gri:
• Lesson 11 Belaying lead climbers: system checks, safety and spotting
• Lesson 12 Lowering, Rappelling and route walk offs; system checks and safety
• Day 2: At a different location then day 1: All previous lessons continued and next phase:
• Lesson 13 Top-roping: setting anchors and ropes for top-roping
• Lesson 14 Seconding sport and trad routes, removing & racking quickdraws/trad gear
• Lesson 15 Intro to Lead climbing (mock lead set up uses a second belay rope negating fall potential)
• Lesson 16 Rock climbing skill development strategy: Top roping, on-sighting, projecting, red pointing
• Lesson 17 Next steps discussion: Rock climbing performance, trad climbing, multi-pitch rock & rock rescue
• Professional coaching & personalized instruction throughout the course

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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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