Technical Alpinism: Coast Mountains, BC
Whistler / Squamish

Technical Alpinism


  • Cost:
  • $1749

Location: Coast Mountain Range or Rockies   Duration: 1 Week   Fitness: Very Good   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: Crevasse rescue  

Ridges to faces, rock to snow and ice, single push alpine missions to high altitude expeditions. Whatever your alpine aspirations are, we would like to help you discover a world of technical alpine ascents in a way that allows you to do so with maximum safety, efficiency and success.

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Course Information

Ridges, faces, rock, snow, ice, single push alpine missions and high altitude expeditions: we would like to help you discover the world of mountains and summits in a way that allows you to do so with maximum safety, efficiency, and success.

This course prepares climbers for technical ascents that involves steep snow, alpine rock, ice and mixed climbing. Learn to move efficiently and safely in alpine terrain, across complex glaciers and bergschrunds. Learn how to deal safely and with speed through lower angled scrambling and easy climbing sections that may otherwise take undue time or done in an unsafe manner. Tackle narrow winding ridges that may not take protection and require specialized short roping. Transition and climb effectively on technical terrain that may alternate from belayed snow to ice, to rock. Learn piton craft, alpine rock and ice protection, improvised anchors, mitigating alpine hazards, route finding, technical descents and much more.

The Coast Mountains offer some of the best technical alpinism in the world.


Day One

  • 08:00 meet Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures office in Whistler
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers
  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather, local conditions, objectives, gear check
  • Drive to a local mountaineering objective such as the Joffre group in Duffy Lakes Provincial Park or the Tantalus Range
  • Hike to glacier for glacier travel and crevasse rescue review
  • Evening Meeting: Discuss course objectives, climbing route descriptions and topos. Navigation and route planning.

Days Two to Seven

Peaks will be climbed and the Alpine technique taught including:

  • Trip planning
  • Alpine specific climbing protection (traditional gear, snow pickets/flutes, ice screws, piton craft and terrain anchors)
  • Glacier travel, managing crevasse fields and bergschrunds
  • Understanding, recognizing and mitigating mountain hazards
  • Short roping and alpine transitions
  • Alpine climbing techniques & strategy
  • The Light & Fast Technique
  • Day Seven Evening Meeting: hike out and return to Whistler,  course debrief and discussion of next steps

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

Weather conditions are constantly changing in the Canadian alpine. Be prepared for both hot or cold days and even rain. There are several rain protected climbing venues we endeavor to utilize 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 varying conditions.

We recommend the following:

  • Head Lamp with extra batteries
  • Soft shell type climbing pants
  • Insulating top and bottom underlayers and socks
  • Synthetic or wool tee shirt
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket
  • Down or synthetic insulated “puffy” jacket
  • Warm Hat and ballcap
  • Warm mountain or ice climbing gloves
  • Light gloves
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Daypack 35-45 L
  • Toiletries including toilet paper
  • Camera
  • A hiking pole is recommended


  • Mountaineering boots
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering axe
  • Crampons
  • 2 x 60m single ropes
  • Belay device
  • Ice screws
  • Trad climbing rack
  • Set of pitons & hammer
  • Anchor material and knife
  • Snow Picket (optional depending on objectives)
  • 4 locking carabiners
  • 6 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m 7mm prussik
  • 1 x 1.5m 7mm prussik
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 6 alpine / trad draws (2 non-locking carabiners and 1 60cm sling = 1 draw)

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.

Guide Gear

  • Personal climbing equipment, group ropes and alpine rack
  • First aid kit, splint, blister kit
  • Cell phone/satellite phone
  • Guide’s Tarp
  • Programmable Radio
  • Trip planning:
    • Assessing conditions
    • Choosing proper route; route description, topo, equipment and trip plan (navigation)
  • The alpine pack and equipment
  • Alpine specific climbing protection:
    • Trad gear and anchors reviewed
    • Using terrain and natural anchors
    • Piton craft
    • Ice and snow anchors
    • Improvised anchors
  • Glacier travel, managing crevasse fields, crossing or rappelling bergschrunds and mitigating weak snow bridges, rockfall and cornices
  • Understanding, recognizing and mitigating mountain hazards
  • Short roping and alpine transitions
    • Taking coils, belay stances, body belays, direct anchor belays, moving together, counter balance short rope ridge stances
  • Alpine climbing techniques & strategy
    • The Light & Fast Technique
    • Route finding & error correction
    • Technical alpine climbing with boots and or crampons, moving together, running belays, short roping and short pitching, leading in blocks, etc
    • Crampon french technique and advanced piolet mountaineering axe technique
  • Advanced rope handling and efficient transitions
  • Technical descents
  • The bivouac
  • Practicing all skills on technical alpine ascents
  • Day Seven Evening Meeting: hike out from the Bugaboos and return to Canmore,  course debrief and discussion of 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 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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