This instructional mountaineering course reflects the most current standards and practices. Based out of the Bow Hut on Banff National Park's Wapta Icefields, this program is designed for outdoor enthusiasts wanting a solid foundation in mountain skills in all mountaineering mediums. The peaks range from 2900 meters to 3200 meters and are of just the right difficulty for instruction. The extensive glaciers are ideal for gaining experience in both safe travel among crevasses and in whiteout navigation when the weather turns bad. During the day, we focus our time and energy developing technical skills and climbing peaks with the evenings being spent sharing stories and lessons with fellow mountaineers. This Canadian Rockies mountaineering course meets the prerequisites of high altitude expeditions requiring participants to have basic mountaineering skills prior to being accepted for a climb.
This trip is rated moderate with basic mountaineering technical level. You will need a good level of fitness as you will be traveling several kilometers of glacier each day, often having to break trail in soft snow. Any training you can do in advance, particularly that involving hiking up steep terrain, will enhance your enjoyment of this adventure. No prior mountaineering experience is needed.
Technical Grading Description: The conditions are relatively straightforward and not technically difficult. Expect generally low angled slopes with no prolonged steep or exposed sections and glacier travel where participants are roped together. Abseiling may be required in short sections. The peaks attempted are of moderate difficulty and it is often appropriate to allow students the lead.
We meet in Canmore at 8:30am for introductions, a review of course goals and itinerary and an equipment check. After packing up, we drive an hour and a half north to Bow Lake where we commence the hike to Bow Hut, which is located at 2350m on a shoulder adjacent to the snout of the Bow Glacier. This beautiful hike through canyons and over moraines will take us between 3 and 5 hours. We travel 6km and climb 610m.
The Bow Hut is our base for the week. Its proximity to the glacier and to several peaks makes it easy for us to get out on to suitable instruction terrain every day. It's a perfect area for instruction. We may spend nights in one of the other huts in the region. Peaks often climbed on the course include Mt. Olive (3110m.), Mt. St. Nicholas (2900m.), Mt. Gordon (3200m.), Mt. Thompson (3050m.), Mt. Balfour (3230m.) & Mt. Rhondda (3110m.)
Final day. A last chance to review techniques before we hike back down to Bow Lake and return to Canmore in the late afternoon.
This trip was a perfect "first taste" into the world of mountaineering. Clients are sure to learn a lot about safety and rescue on the mountain and can leave the course feeling much more confident in these areas, which is one of the most important aspects when mountain climbing. Anyone who is fit, open-minded and a team player will have an amazing time on this course. It was definitely a memorable experience for me and a highlight of my 30's!
L. Delorme, Ontario, Canada, 10 Aug 2017
Per Person, Twin Share