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Program Guide 2011 • 2012 Final Summit Push of Mount St. Nicholas photo Jesse de Montigny


who we are Yamnuska Mountain Adventures

Since 1977 Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has been the leading provider of mountain adventure and training in Canada. From our beginnings as an adult wilderness program at the YMCA’s Yamnuska Center, we have grown to be recognized internationally for our superior guest service, exemplary safety record and the highest standard of program instruction. We are proud to call the climbing mecca of Canmore, Alberta our home but consider the mountains of western Canada our classroom and playground. Our internationally certified guides have experience climbing all over the world yet we find ourselves in the Canadian Rockies because there truly is no other place like it. Our vision is simple:

Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is passionately committed to providing mountain experiences and services in a sustainable and respectful manner with safety as our top priority.

Guest Service

All of our guides are ACMG/IFMGA certified and in addition to their excep-

tional technical skill, our team is trained to give you the quality experience you deserve. We pride ourselves on setting the standard for staff training and guest service. Our modern 4,000 square foot facility has a classroom, full service kitchen, and guide’s lounge for your comfort and convenience. We maintain an inventory of technical mountain gear for you to use on our programs.

ski slope – you climb it. We are an active member of Leave No Trace and our guides act as custodians of our mountain parks and protected areas. Our respect for nature and the environment is deeply embedded in the core values of our organization, and we are committed to passing these values on to future generations of mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Safety

As Canada’s largest mountain skills instruction school, our safety and risk management plans are unmatched. A full-time, on-call duty manager ensures that we are prepared to deal with any emergency or program requirement around the clock. Our rigorous safety policies and procedures have been developed through our experience from more than 30 years of training and working with military organizations from around the world.

Sustainability

We believe in self propelled mountain experiences. With us, you “earn your turns” and we believe there is only one way to get to the top of a mountain or 1.866.678.4164

200 - 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore, Alberta, Canada T1W 3E9 Toll Free North America: 1.866.678.4164 Phone: 403.678.4164 Fax: 403.678.4450 Email: info@yamnuska.com


our professional guides Dave Stark  Director of Operations

Dave Stark has been instructing and guiding in the mountains of Western Canada since 1981. As a certified ACMG/ IFMGA Mountain Guide, his climbing resume spans the globe with climbing and mountaineering experience on five continents. He has guided groups on high alpine peaks in North and South America, Asia, and Antarctica. As the Director of Operations at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, Dave is in charge of the guides and all aspects of the field programming. In addition to his supervisory and training duties he still actively guides Yamnuska guests and mentors the next generation of aspiring guides.

Barry Blanchard  Associate Director

A six month trip to the French Alps in 1980 set the course of Barry’s life: to climb the steepest and most complicated faces of the world’s great peaks. Barry moved to the Rocky Mountains in 1982 to pursue his mountain guiding career and since then has set a high standard of first ascents and pushed the boundaries of modern alpinism. He is a certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide and has guided with Yamnuska for the majority of his career. Barry lives in Canmore, Alberta, with his wife Catherine Mulvihill, whom he met on a Mt Everest expedition, and their daughters Rosemary and Eowyn. Barry is an Associate Director of Yamnuska involved in the promotion of modern alpinism and mentoring our junior guides.

Jesse de Montigny  Assistant Director of Operations

Jesse moved to the Bow Valley in 1998 to take part in Yamnuska’s three month Mountain Skills Semester program and never left. Using this as a springboard for his skills development, he has pursued his passion to become a certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide. Some of Jesse’s personal mountain achievements have included: a 175km ski tour through the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to the Columbia Icefields, climbing the north face of Mt Temple, and climbing 5.12+ routes around the world. As the Assistant Director of Operations for Yamnuska, Jesse uses his skills both in the field and in the office to provide our guests with the best mountain experience possible. Jesse lives in Canmore with his wife Christine and daughters Sierra and Kylee.

Grant Meekins  Senior Guide

Born and raised in the Yukon Territory, Grant transferred his focus from Nordic ski racing to backcountry skiing and climbing and has never looked back! After starting his guiding career in 1998, Grant quickly became respected as a clear, patient instructor, and as an excellent ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide. He has numerous first ascents to his credit, and has climbed several of the world’s most difficult mixed climbs. Bilingual in French and English, Grant has a calm, easy-going manner, and gets satisfaction out of helping people attain their mountain dreams. Grant lives in Canmore with his wife, the world champion extreme skier Maegan Carney and their son Lincoln.

Nick Sharpe  Senior Guide

Nick moved to Canada in 2002 from the UK. As a key member of the Royal Air Force’s Mountain Rescue Service, Nick brings a wealth of professional mountain skills and over 22 years of rescue team training experience to Yamnuska’s guiding staff. Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, Nick was an extremely active climber surprising the locals with on-sight ascents of some of the leading climbs of the day, both in summer and winter. He has many European Alpine seasons under his belt and has climbed around the world. Nick certified in the UK and Europe with the British Mountain Guides Association attaining the coveted IFMGA Mountain Guides certification. Now a full-time resident in Canmore, Nick climbs and guides year-round and enjoys introducing his two boys to their vast Canadian playground.

Steve Blagbrough  Senior Guide

“Stevie B” is a certified IFMGA Mountain Guide from the UK who joined Yamnuska in 2001 from a position at the prestigious Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. Steve’s strong commitment to guiding and instruction has produced great benefit to Semester students and anyone else lucky enough to have him as an instructor or guide. Steve has been active in the outdoors for the past twenty years, mostly as a professional instructor, not only in mountaineering but also in many related pursuits such as kayaking and sailing. He has a particular interest in avalanche safety and is one of the main instructors on Yamnuska’s avalanche safety courses.

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our professional guides Jason Billing

Jason began climbing at the ripe age of 13 and his love for climbing has since taken him to beautiful spots all over the world - Australia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, and the United States. After all this international exposure, he still thinks that: “the Rocky Mountains are the best, just so much variety in all seasons, so much space and untouched wilderness, so many amazing climbs and mountains.” Jason has been guiding with Yamnuska since 2007 and has become known for his patient and clear teaching style, and his approachable, friendly personality.

Nick Rapaich

Nick spent his entire childhood and teenage years downhill racing and freestyle skiing. Originally from Ontario, he moved to Banff when he was 23 to work for a heli-ski company as a Registered Massage Therapist. It was there that he began his training to become a guide with the ACMG. Nick has been working as a climbing and ski guide for Yamnuska since 2004 and is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with his guests. Also an avid photographer, you will most likely see yourself in many of his mountain shots if you are lucky enough to be on one of his trips!

Pat Delaney

Pat’s vertical addiction has taken him around the world in search of rock, ice and snow. After spending much of his early guiding career setting routes and climbing testpieces in Squamish, BC, Pat was drawn east to Canmore by the limitless Rock and Ice climbing in the Bow Valley. A very active member of the climbing community, Pat’s achievements and new routes are well known throughout the valley. Guiding with Yamnuska since 2005, Pat’s attention to detail and focus on meeting and surpassing his guest’s goals are qualities that make him a great guide. Pat has also become one of the top mixed climbers in the country. He is bilingual in French and English.

Matt Mueller

Matt has been guiding for Yamnuska since 2004. Before that he spent 10 years traveling and doing his best to spend the majority of his time in the mountains climbing and skiing. Trips to some of the larger ranges of the world, both in a professional and recreational style, have given Matt a broad skill set that he enjoys passing on to his guests. Matt’s current direction in climbing is working with Yamnuska to develop quality programs that provide the same sense of adventure that got him hooked on climbing back in 1994.

Erica Roles

Erica has been working as a guide for Yamnuska since 2006. Born in the UK, she moved to Canada with her family in 1998. She fell in love with the mountains of Western Canada and made her home in the Bow Valley. Initially she began her career as a Pro Ski Patroller at Lake Louise. Wanting to share her passion for the mountains with other people led her to a career in guiding. She now works year-round as an ACMG guide – rock and alpine climbing in the summer, skiing and ice climbing in the winter.

Simon Robins

Simon loves the mountains. From boulders to big walls and frozen waterfalls to icy peaks – he loves climbing it all. Simon has been climbing since 1991, and draws on these years of experience to instruct and guide Yamnuska’s guests in a wide variety of incredible mountain settings. From his humble beginnings as a gym rat in the flat prairies of Edmonton, Simon’s adventures expanded with trips to the Canadian Rockies and then onto the mountain ranges of British Columbia, throughout the United States and South East Asia. Simon’s talents range from onsighting 5.13 rock climbs to skiing 300 km on a 30 day trip over the spine of the Canadian Rockies. Simon joined Yamnuska in 2007 and whether its rock climbing, mountaineering or ski touring he enjoys being able to share mountain adventures with his guests.

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our professional guides James Madden

For his second birthday James got an old pair of wooden skies on which he spent every waking moment skiing around his living room. This small beginning snowballed into a life of adventure and exploration! Growing up in a small town in BC he turned to the mountains at 16 with his older brother looking to pursue his passions for outdoor sport. James grew fond of not only being out in the wilderness but also teaching and taking others with him to experience these great places. James has since participated in climbing expeditions to Baffin Island and Alaska as part of the training for his ACMG certifications. Ski touring in the winter months and rock guiding in the summer, James has been a guide for Yamnuska since 2007 and always looks forward to sharing his experiences with our guests!

Carl Johnston

Carl grew up scrambling granite and limestone outcrops in Ontario. His fascination with big peaks was revealed while on a family vacation at age 12 when he attempted a spontaneous solo crossing of the Columbia Glacier. The escape failed but he has enjoyed surprising people in the mountains ever since.While at university, climbing adventures yielded remote first ascents on some of the East’s biggest faces.. Back then, favorite days involved a light pack, little sleep and lots of terrain. They still do. Carl joined Yamnuska in 2000 and has been enthusiastically sharing his addiction to the mountains ever since. Besides being a guide and ACMG instructor, Carl is a paramedic. When not busy in the Rockies, he enjoys exploring the world’s other great mountain ranges. Carl and his partner, Nadege, live in Canmoree.

Tim Auger

Tim began climbing in the early 1960’s and built his passion into a career as an ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide. During high school and university he climbed on The Chief at Squamish,and has the first ascent of University Wall and the second ascent of The Grand Wall. In 1977, a summer job in Yoho National Park introduced him to the Rockies, and led to a lifetime career as a National Park Warden where he specialized in visitor safety and search and rescue programs. In the winter seasons Tim worked in the Park’s avalanche forecasting and control programs and public avalanche information service. He also participated in the creation of a special program to test pilots who will be accepted for helicopter mountain rescue services in the National Parks of Canada. In 2004, after nearly 35 years, Tim retired from the park service and since then has guided part-time for Yamnuska.

Mike trehearne

The first time Mike stepped into a pair of skis he was three years old. Growing up in Lethbridge, AB, allowed a lot of time to be spent climbing and skiing in the Canadian Rockies. Numerous trips to the European Alps as well as Alaska, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States have given him his base as a climber/skier and as a guide. Mike has been working with Yamnuska since 2006, and is best known to his guests for the patience in his teaching/coaching style, his openness and approachability but mostly for his endless enthusiasm and energy.

Alison Cardinal

Alison grew up in Northern Ireland, and after completing a geology degree at Glasgow University in Scotland, she spent every weekend climbing in the Scottish Highlands and in Europe. She then moved to Canada for our climbing and skiiing and never went home. After a brief stint raft guiding, she decided to focus her professional career around guiding backpacking and skiing trips for Yamnuska. Alison loves to share her passion and experience in adventure sports with guests from around the globe. She lives in Canmore with her husband Bill, and son Matthew.

Tamara Dyckshoorn

Tamara grew up in the western prairies of Canada and moved to Alberta in 1994 to be closer to the mountains. After completing a degree in Outdoor Pursuits she has enjoyed introducing and leading teens, adults and seniors in a broad variety of outdoor adventures. In 2006 she joined Yamnuska’s guiding team instructing on ski programs and leading backpacking trips into the wilderness of Canada’s Mountain Parks. An avid outdoors woman, her interests delve into many aspects of mountain sport including single-track mountain biking, mountaineering and fly fishing in the alpine lakes and rivers that surround her home near Canmore. In the winter season, backcountry skiing is her true passion. Tamara lives near Canmore with her husband Nick.

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contents Mountain skills semester

08

mountaineering

10

rock climbing

16

Hiking & backpacking

18

ice climbing

22

skiing

25

avalanche training

29

custom adventures

30

backcountry food services

31

difficulty ratingS Experience required

Fitness Level

1 Easy

1 Low

Moderate 2

2 Regular

3 Difficult

3 High

Very Difficult 4

4 Excellent

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advice H

ere at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, we are often asked for advice from our guests on how to get the most out of our programs. We endeavour to provide as much information as possible because being properly prepared will increase the enjoyment, ease and learning on all of our programs. The following is a list of preparations and advice that guests should consider.

1 • Fitness

Fitness is typically the number one factor for enjoyment and success on our trips. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has a variety of programs to meet most people’s fitness levels. When choosing a program, make sure you check the fitness requirements and be honest about your own level of fitness. Regular extended walks or hikes with a pack, jogging, cycling, and using the gym are great ways to train for your trip and ensure that you are prepared to get the most out of your Yamnuska experience. Questions about the difficulty of a program? No problem. Give our knowledgeable office staff a call to discuss your questions and get advice on which program is best suited to you.

2 • Clothing and Equipment

While most technical equipment will be provided on your program, basic personal clothing and equipment will be your responsibility. There are a variety of manufacturers that make high quality clothing and equipment for mountain adventures. Function and fit are the keys to purchasing regardless of manufacturer. Full equipment and clothing lists can be found on our website under the program of choice, but the following will give you a basic starting point.

Rule number 1: no cotton

While cotton is comfortable for casual wear, it does a poor job of providing protection for mountain activities. In fact, cotton loses up to 90% of its insulating value when wet. Synthetic fibers and wool are the materials of choice for outdoor activities.

Rule number 2: use a layering system

Having multiple clothing layers will allow you to adjust your body temperature for different energy outputs and weather conditions. An example of a layering system would be: wool long underwear (top and bottom), light weight fleece or wool-blend shirt, soft shell pants/jacket, “Gore-tex” pants and jacket, and an insulated jacket (synthetic or down). With this selection of clothing it is possible to use a variety of layering options to suit almost any mountain condition. Arriving prepared with proper clothing will make difficult weather conditions as comfortable as possible.

Rule number 3: buy the right footwear

Purchasing footwear is always a difficult task. Whether it’s ski boots, mountaineering boots, hiking boots or rock shoes, getting the right fit is the key to happy feet. First, give us a call if you are not sure of the right type of footwear needed. Next, leave enough time to talk to knowledgeable retail staff about the kind of footwear you need. Some brands are narrower or wider than others, some have “Gore-tex” linings, some are insulated and the list goes on. Once you have a good idea of what you need, try on as many different brands as possible to find the one that fits the best. Although mountain footwear is expensive, buying the one that fits the best will save your feet as well as potentially having to re-buy a pair that fits properly. Once you have your new footwear at home, spend the time to properly break them in by using them on walks and short day hikes (except rock shoes). For ski boots, use them on your local ski hill for a few days before you take them into the backcountry.

3 • Technical Equipment

Yamnuska provides technical equipment on most programs, (refer to the program information for full details) however feel free to bring your personal equipment. We do ask that your equipment be in good repair and it will be checked by your guide for your safety prior to the trip.

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4 • Elevation

The Yamnuska Office, located in Canmore, Alberta, is at 1309 meters. Most people do not have issues arriving at this elevation however if you have had trouble acclimatizing to altitude in the past, consider arriving in Canmore a day or two before your program to allow your body to adjust. Some of our programs such as the Wapta Traverse and Intro to Mountaineering sleep at 2,000 meters on the first day.

5 • Respect

Joining Yamnuska for a mountain adventure is a fantastic undertaking and it is important to arrive with the right mindset to get the most out of your program. When journeying into the high places of the world one must keep in mind that entering into this environment requires respect. Canadian mountain culture is steeped in a fantastic history that ties into our country’s roots. It is important to remember that the mountains represent more than just a great place to get out and develop skills or complete an objective. The mountains are a place to re-connect to the environment and get away from the stresses of everyday life. Keeping an open mind and being inclusive of others on your program will maximize your guide’s ability to meet everyone’s goals and expectations. With proper planning, mountain adventures are very fulfilling and you will be tempted to come back time and time again. With a little advice from the experts and some pre trip preparations you will be setting yourself up for success on whatever level course suits your needs. Once again, feel free to call our office with any questions. We look forward to seeing you, well prepared, in the mountains! Jesse de Montigny Assistant Director of Operations


mountain skills semester

T

he Mountain Skills Semester is designed from the cumulative experience of over 30 years of professional guiding in the Canadian Rockies and internationally. We have focused on the most important skills required to travel safely and confidently in the mountains. These skills are presented in a logical progression from basic safety protocols and technical gear handling to intermediate and advanced techniques that are constantly being reviewed and updated. The MSS program is almost entirely a hands-on technical skills course. Over 90 percent of the 3 month program is spent outdoors learning the skills and techniques to shape our students into competent recreational mountaineers in most terrain or conditions. This is reflected in the certifications that you receive upon completion of the semester including: 80-Hour Wilderness First Aid course, Canadian Avalanche Centre’s Avalanche Skills Training Level 2, ACMG Climbing Gym Instructor Level 1, Interpretative Guide’s Association Apprentice Interpreter accreditation, and of course the Yamnuska MSS Certificate. With these certifications and the wealth of experience that the MSS program provides, students can go directly into working in the outdoor tourism and recreation industry. It is also a great starting place for further training and career-tracking ACMG guiding certifications. In fact, many of our current guides started out with our semester and are now working for us as certified guides. Yamnuska’s location in Canmore, Alberta Canada is prime for accessing some of the best rock & ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering that can be found anywhere in the world! Our guides & staff live in this area because they are passionate about mountain sports and they are the perfect ambassadors to induct you into this elite community. Most field sites are within a 1 – 2 hour drive of our office, so we spend more time in the wilderness and less time in a vehicle. All of Yamnuska’s guides are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and recognized by the

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IFMGA. They are professionally trained to teach mountain skills and are selected for their ability to clearly convey the key skills in a fun and effective manner. We focus on the “hard skills” of mountain travel and safety and teach them in progression to form well rounded mountaineers. Many other competing programs have more of a “soft adventure” focus and teach numerous days of theoretical skills in a classroom setting. There are also many other semester programs that have a large water component which involve either marine or fresh water paddle sports. In our opinion, the most important skills for safe mountain travel are gained from travelling and professional instruction in the mountain environment. Building on this base one can progress to advanced technical mountaineering, skiing, and climbing objectives. As with most athletics, building this core of safety, knowledge, and fitness will help students in whichever other outdoor sports they choose to pursue. The reasons people take this program and their backgrounds prior to entering the semester are very diverse but the common end result is a life changing experience. Many of our students tell us the sense of accomplishment they feel at the end of the semester is unlike anything they have ever experienced. The confidence that comes with this accomplishment lasts well beyond the three month semester and permeates into every aspect of day to day life after the program. Our semester students become like our extended family and we aim to offer you as much support as we can. Secure storage, internet access, travel arrangements, messaging services, and advice on local attractions and destinations are examples of the support you can expect from our team of professional administrative staff here at the office. We look forward to seeing you out in the mountains on this incredible adventure!

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mountain skills semester

Curriculum: • Ice Climbing

• Mountaineering

• Avalanche Training

• Wilderness First Aid

• Mixed Climbing

• Advanced hiking and backpacking

• Downhill Skiing (Boarding)

• Rock Climbing

• Backcountry Skiing (Boarding)

• Trip Planning

• Ski Touring

• Wilderness Food Systems

• Glacier Travel

• Navigation & Weather

• Ski Mountaineering

• Group Management

• Crevasse Rescue

• Winter Camping

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

(ski skills required)

Duration: 3 months

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Mountaineering Yamnuska’s mountaineering programs are world famous. The Canadian Rockies provide a perfect testing ground for aspiring mountaineers and allow for incredible personal challenge and growth. Many successful mountaineers have taken their first mountain training with Yamnuska.

Intro to Mountaineering For over three decades, our Intro to Mountaineering program has produced many dedicated mountaineers and has been the catalyst to long-term climbing friendships. This comprehensive program is specifically designed for hikers or other outdoor enthusiasts with little or no mountaineering experience who wish to learn how to approach more challenging mountain objectives. Based out of the Bow Hut on the spectacular Wapta Icefields, guests enjoy comfortable backcountry hut accommodations while learning the basic skills of mountaineering. The glacier will be our classroom for the week and newly learned skills will be tested directly on the peaks that tower over the icefield around us. The Bow Hut has ideal beginner terrain while being challenging and diverse enough to allow for a comprehensive curriculum. Throughout the course of the week students will often be at the front of the rope making decisions on route selection and glacier navigation while under the tutelage of seasoned Yamnuska guides.

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We provide the food and technical equipment for this expedition-style program so the only thing you need to bring is your personal gear, your desire to learn and your sense of adventure. As a graduate of this program you will have the basic skills for many easy mountain peaks as well as the knowledge and training to advance to more complex mountain objectives with us on scheduled or private programs. This course meets the criteria of high altitude expedition companies who require participants to have basic mountaineering skills prior to being accepted for a climb.

Women’s Intro to Mountaineering This beginner course mirrors the curriculum of our Intro to Mountaineering program but is for women only and taught by one of our highly skilled female guides. This fun week is ideal for adventurous women who prefer to learn and experience the mountains with other women. This program is notorious for being a fun, relaxed and chal1.866.678.4164

lenging week that is filled with laughter and no shortage of achievement.

Youth Intro to Mountaineering

Our extensive experience training youth and army cadets is applied to this fun and challenging week of mountaineering instruction. Being exposed to the mountain environment and developing skills at a young age typically leads to a lifelong love of the mountains and outdoor pursuits. Our curriculum is tailored to the learning styles and needs of active teens and our guides are outstanding personal coaches and teachers who present these skills in a fun and interactive manner. Our youth experience is unmatched by any other and is a thrilling experience for fit and adventurous teens. Parents are welcome to join us as well! Experience Required: Fitness Level:

1 2

Duration: 6 days


Mountaineering Snow & Ice Long Weekend

Mountaineers tend to have a reputation around the world as high risk takers and extreme athletes. Although many people aspire to experience the sights and thrills of mountaineering, for many of us the sport may seem a bit “out there”. The Snow and Ice Long Weekend is an excellent, low commitment introduction to the mystical world of mountaineering and mountain climbing. As our most popular summer program, many of our guests choose this course as their taste of the sport without having to invest a lot of time or money. From here you can decide if mountaineering is for you and take one of our longer programs. The only thing you need is a hiking level of fitness and a sense of adventure.

Bugaboos Granite The ‘Bugs’ are one of North America’s most famous climbing areas. This world renowned alpine paradise with its awesome granite spires, beautiful glaciers and lush green valleys, attracts alpinists from around the world. The objective of this program is simple: climbing and instruction on the area’s famous classic rock routes. In addition to Bugaboo, Pigeon and Snowpatch Spires, there are many enjoyable routes on other nearby spires. This program is designed for intermediate rock climbers who also have some mountaineering experience.

We provide all of the technical equipment and base the course on the world famous Columbia Icefields where we teach you a curriculum that has been developed from over 30 years of experience. After two days of training on snow travel and ice travel techniques, you will be confident at using the technical equipment and proficient with the safety systems that allow us to traverse glaciers and conquer peaks. On the third day we put it all together with a summit bid of the famous Mt Athabasca. This classic peak is for many, their first summit and is a fantastic way to be welcomed into the elite community of mountaineers! The Columbia Icefields is ideal for this weekend course due to its proximity to the highway, abundance of beginner terrain and the many accommodation options within minutes of the training sites. Each year thousands of visitors to the Columbia Icefields drive by the peaks and glaciers, snap a few pictures and say they were “in the mountains”. Come experience the mountains the way they were meant to be enjoyed, on top of a summit! Experience Required:

1

Fitness Level:

2

Duration: 3 days

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mountaineering Yoho Peaks

Intro to Alpine Ice

The Little Yoho Valley in Yoho National Park is home to some of the most incredible scenery and terrain of any one place in the Rockies. This guided program is based out of the historic Stanley Mitchell Hut and aims to have intermediate mountaineers add three or four more peaks to notch on their belts! We aim for a number of summits including the President, Vice President, Mount McArthur, Mount Kerr and Isolated Peak. This program is a great next step from the Snow and Ice Long Weekend or our Intro to Mountaineering courses.

The great peaks of the Columbia Icefields rise abruptly next to the BanffJasper Parkway. Heavy glaciation means alpine ice climbing, not only for the experts challenging famous routes such as the ‘Andromeda Strain’ but also for those of us wishing to learn and to experience for the first time the visceral excitement that alpine ice provides. We build technical skills over the first three instructional days and put all of them to use on an alpine ice mountain route for the final day. The skills learned will provide the necessary base for advanced summits such as Mt Robson. The icy peak of Athabasca is a great classroom and its steeper routes great objectives for this program. Designed for intermediate mountaineers with some peak experience, this program is a great progression from our Louise Classics trip.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 3

Duration: 4 days

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Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 4 days

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Mt Assiniboine & Mt Robson

Yamnuska offers private five day departures to these most popular and magnificent of Rockies peaks. Mt Assiniboine is often referred to as the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies. This intermediate alpine rock route is both visually stunning as well as physically demanding. Access is by helicopter and climbers typically spend between 2 – 4 nights at the Hind Hut high in the alpine. At 3954 meters. Mt Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies and for that reason is a much sought after test piece for experienced mountaineers. This summit is more of a classical glaciated peak with steeper snow and ice slopes that must be climbed to reach the peak. This is a fantastic objective for those with Alpine Ice experience and a number of intermediate summits under their belt. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

4 4

Duration: 3 to 5 days


mountaineering

Louise Classics

11,000’ers

The mountains surrounding Lake Louise, Alberta are the birthplace of Canadian mountaineering. Often referred to as the “Classic Peaks” of the Canadian Rockies, Mt. Victoria, Lefroy, and Fay are rich in Canadian mountaineering history and tie deeply into our cultural history and mountain traditions. From the turquoise waters of Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, lofty glacier capped peaks soar into the sky making this one of the most picturesque spots in the park. This program is a perfect extension of our Intro to Mountaineering or Yoho Peaks programs as you need to have some basic mountaineering skills and some peak ascents under your belt. We spend the first three days based out of the second highest permanent structure in Canada, the historic Abbot Hut. From here we set our sights on the classic mountaineering objectives of Mt. Lefroy and Mt Victoria and build your experience from basic to intermediate level.

Each year, Yamnuska’s guiding staff puts together a target list from among the highest mountains in the Canadian Rockies. Based on our experience and what our guests tell us they would like to climb, we pick three of the fifty four peaks that soar over 11,000 ft and set our sights on the summit.

The second half of the trip begins at Moraine Lake where we enter the Valley of the 10 Peaks and make our way up to the highest habitable structure in Canada, the Neil Colgan Hut. From this base we will attempt climbs on Mt. Fay and Mt. Little as well as any other peaks that time and energy allow for. This program is suited for people with a basic mountaineering course and a high level of fitness who want to continue their skill development with hands-on experience of classic peaks. Enjoy the company of other guests who are like minded and share the success of your first intermediate level mountain experience. Many of our past guests have gone on to climb together and become life-long climbing partners. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

We pick a moderate, challenging and advanced objective each year to give our guests the opportunity to start ticking peaks off their list of these world class climbing objectives. Whether your plan is to summit all 54 peaks or climb a favorite, our experienced guides will improve your chances of being successful. The experience level required varies depending on the objective but fitness is critical in summiting any of our 11,000 ft peaks. The Canadian Rockies aren’t the highest mountains in the world, but those of us who climb them know they offer some of the best alpine objectives of any continent. The rugged Canadian landscape and heavily glaciated peaks make for one of the last few remaining pristine landscapes in the world. You won’t find gondolas or hundreds of other climbers on our mountains. Enjoy the solitude and challenge of climbing to the highest points in Canada with our guides who call these mountains home. Beginner and expert climbers alike will find a challenge that suits their skill level and objectives. We also offer private guiding trips for any mountaineering objective you have. Please refer to our Custom Adventure section.

3 4

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

Duration: 6 days

2 4

to

4

Duration: variable

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Cavell North face  • Barry Blanchard S

teve pulled up to our office in a stone white 2010 Dodge Charger. If the car could talk it would have said, “Muscle”. “So this is the way we roll.” I said. “Hey, I ordered a Prius, but this was all that they had.” “Oh well, we’ll get to Jasper fast.” I’d been emailing with Steve since late winter when he’d dropped me a line stating that he wanted to climb a route on the North Face of Mt Edith Cavell. Many a Mountain Guide wouldn’t entertain a grand course north face route, but hey, the steepest flanks on the great glaciated peaks have always been where my heart is. I am first and foremost an alpinist, so some of we Mountain Guides will, and do love, to go there. I’d guided the classic East Ridge of Cavell a handful of times and in 1988, when I was in the prime of my youth -29- I’d even managed to do the first winter ascent of the North Face over two brutally cold days in early March with my good buddy Ward Robinson. Digging deeper back I have vivid memories of being chased off of the wall by a rather large rock fall during the heat of one summer in the mid eighties. The sky was screaming with stones and white-hot explosions of instantaneously shrapnelized rock left quarter sized hits of chalk like powder all around my belayer. The air reeked of cordite. We ran away fast.

Angel Glacier just across from the route, and I thought that we might be able to rappel back to the bivy after summitting and descending to a low col to the west. I explained my logic and game plan to Steve. “Seems like a lot of time and logistics”, he commented. “They’re big walls, they take a lot of knocking to push over.” The Charger was loaded and we sped north to Jasper. It was raining when we pulled into town, so we did what all sensible men do when faced with time in a tourist town, we ate. The rain ended and we rolled up a brand-spanking-new blacktop road surface all the way to Cavell. Four ropelengths of good quartzite and several thousand feet of scrambling

The steepest flanks on the great glaciated peaks have always been where my heart is...

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We left the bivy gear in my pack liner and walked away at half past five. My crampons sank into good firm summer snow. We had 20 meters of rope between us with stopper knots tied into it every couple of meters. I felt confident that if one of us fell into a crevasse a knot would have a good chance of suspending the unlucky fellow’s weight by jamming in this snow. Near to the face a 100 meter wide wasteland from a recent rock fall cum landslide forced us to skirt around. Clean razor edges of newly exposed quartzite jutted from a matrix of crap colored mud, pulverized stone, and snow that looked like it had been scraped over by a bulldozer. Old fears smoldered to life in my gut: what if it got too hot? would there be more rock fall? The forecast was for moderate temperatures, but it hadn’t frozen at our bivy, water ran all night. The glacier angled up and I cut a long sidestepping traverse rising left, then tacked right to gain a platform close to the bergshrund. The spike of my ice axe crunched through several millimeters of frozen crust on the snow’s surface. The frost had come, thank you Edith Cavell. I dug a t-slot anchor, belayed Steve up and anchored him too it. Crossing the bergshrund was a delicate act of balance, kinda’ like tiptoeing across a giant checkerboard made out of marshmallows suspended above an elevator shaft. The first amber rays of dawn had cut the horizon. The upper wall glowed in golden light. Heat was being pumped into it.

Going back in the first week of August seemed marginal to me and I encouraged Steve to think on some alternatives like the NE Ridge of Howse Peak -as massive and committing as Cavellbut, being a ridgeline rather than a face, potentially safer from rock fall. Then late winter snows blanketed the Southern Rockies, Howse Peak was snowy and wet and out of the question. There seemed to be less snow farther north, and the weather forecast looked promising –hopefully warm enough to rock climb yet with an overnight frost to lock the loose rock into place until we gained the vertical part of the wall and protection from rock fall because of the roofing that steepness would grant. The 1961 Beckey/Chouinard/Doody was the showpiece line on the wall and the object of Steve’s fancy. I reasoned that we would need to bivouac on the upper

placed it to keep it warm, and to hear it.

saw us stretching my sheet-of-plywood sized bivy tarp atop my ski poles to form a pup tent -but with only the fly, and not the tent. The night was calm and clear. Melt water ran in rivulets down the glacier’s surface and we boiled it for soup and pasta and tea. I slept warm and well until the alarm on my watch shrieked 4 AM! from inside my toque where I’d

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Steve climbed well. The delicacy of the bergshrund didn’t faze him, nothing fazed him. He’d been climbing since the 70s and had even done some rock guiding in his time. I was encouraged to see him deal with the challenges as they presented themselves; the ropes between us were coming to life. I was yanking those gold and green ropes through my belay device when I heard the clatter of rock fall. “ROCK! ROCK! ROCK!” I yelled while pivoting to cram myself in tight under a roof. A brief case sized projectile roared from the sky and augured into a ledge out to the left.


It trenched out a whole bunch more smaller rocks and the whole bombardment smacked into the glacier thumping in a scatter shot pattern of craters. “I’M OK!” Steve bellowed. Relief. He climbed to me and we yanked off our crampons. I took off right aiming for the ridgeline proper. The climbing would harder there, but steeper and more sheltered from rockfall due to its architecture. But the climbing was steeper and more time consuming than the way most parties went out left on shallower, easier and faster ground. But that is where the rock had fallen (having said that it was the only rock fall we had that day). Ropelength followed ropelength. Mazes of low end fifth class quartzite where I

loose and serious. The line led up a 25 meter high exfoliating flake that is in the process of shedding itself from the mountain. The protection here was all questionable and most of the holds loose. When I got high enough to see that the flake had a one foot wide cleave splitting it from the wall I swallowed hard and dry and tried not to pull out on it. My anxiety amped up until I was finally able to stand on top of the flake and pull onto secure rock above. Eventually I pulled onto a small ledge and constructed a bomber anchor. It had been a long pitch. I balanced in my harness and belayed Steve and looked out on the soaring rock and glaciers and far, far below the verdant hills and forests and lakes and pepper specs of vehicles, and people, way, way down there. “Good lead man. That felt like serious

which was a steep offwidth adorned with flakes. Steve took it in stride and that spoke further of his wide experience on rock. Many ropelengths on shallower ground followed. Late in the day the sun came onto the face again, then left it about the time we strapped our crampons back on, and grabbed both ice tools, for the summit icefields. Damp saturated snow lay over moist ice. We hooked picks onto the last of the rock then pounded up three full ropelengths of left rising ice to clear the rotten summit shale bands and overhanging cornices. The sun was gone and the mountain was locking up with frost, 11 pm. We turned on our headlamps. Clouds obscured the summit ridgeline. My depth perception was lost to the white of the cloud and the white of the snow and the flat glow of my headlamp. “I think that we should maybe rap down to the edge of the ice face and bivy.” I said. “If I do that I’ll be shaking uncontrollably from hypothermia within a half hour.” Steve stated. Midnight, I pulled over the top into a bitter wind and staggered down onto the backside to belay. I wrestled my way into all of my clothing as Steve climbed. The cold was real, and it was threatening. Steve topped out and we shock hands, a cold sky full of stars overhead. He pulled on all of his layers and by headlamp we walked off toward the descent.

always sought out the easiest, and safest line. Thick bumpers of snow sat on the major ledges like meringue on a wedding cake and I kicked steps while thrusting the shaft of my ice hammer in. Mid day, one thousand feet up the wall, we hit the crux. The ridgeline merged onto a vertical buttress. I racked up and launched enjoying 10 meters of the good quality quartzite that I’d read about. Then there was a small shale overhang that got me scratching for gear for 15 minutes until I managed a couple of nuts and a piton. Above that physical little roof the climbing became steep,

5.10” Steve said grabbing the anchor. “Ya, I think that the route has changed and that flake is going to landslide. Out left is the way to go there now … maybe next time, if there ever is a next time!” An airy traverse took us around an edge to the left and into a fine corner. Below me I saw some gear that someone hadn’t been able to extract and told me that others had indeed gone out left, and that the two options came together here. The rock was fine alpine quartzite and Steve and I enjoyed the final two ropelengths of the buttress, the last of

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Moving meant keeping warm. We stumbled our way down for hours. Then fatigue forced us to stop and lie dozing on our packs until we were shivering more than sleeping and we’d get up to move some more. And then the dawn, and the sun, and the decision that rappelling to our bivouac was just too much for us then, and the long walk out the Astoria River to the Charger, then Jasper and food, and a shower and sleep and more food and beer and more sleep. It was so fine to be in the valley floor. We could go back up and retrieve our bivy gear tomorrow. Barry Blanchard is an Associate Director of Yamnuska and an internationally certified IFMGA- mountain guide.

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rock climbing Yamnuska Mountain Adventures’ rock climbing programs provide progressive training from beginner level to advanced. Instructors are certified guides and leading edge climbers who are selected for their teaching ability and dynamic personalities. Individuals, families and groups are all welcome!

Outdoor Rock Intro

Rock Evolution

Our beginner rock climbing course focuses on the fundamental skills for recreational climbing on a variety of natural rock formations. Basic rock skills are the foundation for any type of climbing and developing these skills under the supervision of a skilled professional will allow for rapid progression in the sport.

Rock Evolution is a comprehensive beginner program that starts with the same curriculum as our Outdoor Rock Intro and then progresses to multi-pitch climbs, gear placement, and more coaching on movement skills. This five-day course is designed to accelerate the beginner learning curve with a focused program on all aspects of modern rock climbing techniques.

This course is for people who have never climbed before or who have spent some time climbing in an indoor climbing gym (if you are an experienced gym climber, check out our Rock Transition course). Our goal during this weekend course is to give you the skills to safely climb or ‘second’ on trad and sports routes. We start with the fundamentals of selecting and fitting gear, and then progress to rope handling and belay techniques before hitting the rock for some focused coaching on movement skills. This is all accomplished outdoors at one of the excellent local rock climbing sites.

The Canadian Rockies are famous for the wide variety of rock types and climbing areas that can be easily accessed from our base in Canmore, Alberta. Set in the stunning backdrop of Canada’s first national park and the majestic summits that surround the Bow Valley, we will have the opportunity to climb in a different location every day. With expert and indepth knowledge of the area’s crags, your guide will be able to match the group’s progression to the appropriate climbing areas and thus get you out climbing more routes at a higher level, faster than any other program.

After the weekend join us for the “plus day” where you can immediately start applying your new skills on your first multipitch route. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

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Experience Required: Fitness Level:

Duration: 2 days

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Duration: 5 days 1.866.678.4164


Rock Climbing Rock Transition

Trad Rock Systems

Hot Rock

One of our most popular weekend rock climbing courses, this program is a great way for experienced gym climbers to take their passion for climbing outdoors! Transitioning from the climbing gym environment to the natural rock that abounds in the Canadian Rockies is much easier with the guidance of an experienced rock guide. With years of experience teaching and coaching climbing techniques as well as an in depth knowledge of the local climbing areas, our guides will have you “red pointing” natural rock routes in no time!

This is a great progression from our Rock Transition or Rock Evolution courses. Our rock team designed this program for experienced rock climbers who want to learn how to protect routes that are not bolted by using natural climbing protection. Our guides will teach you how to build anchors and place gear on “Trad” routes while providing coaching on the climbing skills necessary for successful leads.

One of our most adventurous climbing programs will see you seconding on some of the most picturesque and towering multi-pitch routes that can be found in the Canadian Rockies! We approach this week as a rock climbing safari, pairing guests with similar skills and objectives with one of our guides and heading out for five days of superlative climbing. If you can second on 5.7 or higher rock routes, and don’t mind getting some air under your feet, this is the program for you!

Skills such as hazard evaluation, switchovers, anchor building, and placing/ cleaning gear are not taught at climbing gyms but are essential to the outdoor rock climber. Your guides will cover all of these skills as well as giving you detailed and personalized coaching on your climbing technique. Each Monday after all of our weekend programs we offer an additional “plus day” which will get you out climbing on one of the incredible multi-pitch routes in the Canmore area. Stay the extra day and find out how exhilarating topping out on your first peak can be!

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 2 days

If you’re already seconding ‘gear routes’, leading indoor or outdoor sport routes and are comfortable climbing 5.7 then this would be the perfect program for you. Adding the “plus day” on the Monday following the program will allow you to continue your skills development and test your mettle on one of the fantastic multi-pitch traditional routes in the Bow Valley.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 2

Duration: 2 days

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The agenda for Hot Rock is completely customized for the group. Based out of our office in Canmore, Alberta, we have access to some of the best locations for instructional sport and multi-pitch climbing of anywhere in Canada! Some local favorites are the face of Mt. Yamnuska, Ha Ling Peak, Castle Mountain, and numerous alpine rock routes along the Bow Valley corridor in Banff National Park. While you climb the best routes in the Rockies, your guide will give you detailed feedback and provide personalized coaching and instruction while challenging you to reach your goals.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 5 days

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hiking & backpacking The Canadian Rockies surrounding Banff and Canmore, Alberta, provide some of the best hiking and backpacking that can be found anywhere in the world. Surrounded by towering peaks and with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, our trips strive to provide guests with an exceptional active mountain adventure.

Canadian Rockies Walking Tour

Hiking in the Canadian Rockies is one of the best ways to enjoy an active vacation with you and your family! Surrounded by eight National and Provincial Mountain Parks, Canmore is blessed with some of the best and most scenic hikes of anywhere in the world. The scenery is classically magnificent – steely grey limestone peaks are clothed in forests, waterfalls, craggy cliffs and, not far west of Canmore, glaciers. The forest cover of the valley floors is broken by frequent lakes, bubbling mountain streams and beaver ponds. Towards treeline the forest thins and alpine larches appear as the trees give way to flower-speckled alpine meadows. This hotel-based hiking vacation will have you enjoying some of the best trails and sights that can be found in the area. We spend two nights in each of Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise hiking each day to different locations and exploring these wonderful mountains.

Scrambling Skills Most mountaineers start off as experienced hikers who graduate to climbing peaks from hiking in the valleys between them. Although the transition is a logical one, becoming comfortable with exposure and travelling on rock is an important step. Scrambling is the next level of hiking where you use your hands to gain ridges and the routes are not always obvious. Terrain evaluation and route finding once off the beaten trail are skills that are often overlooked and this course focuses on developing those competencies. This is not a technical climbing course and no rope skills are taught.

Experience Required:

1

Experience Required:

2

Fitness Level:

1

Fitness Level:

2

Duration: 7 days

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Duration: 2 days

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hiking & Backpacking Wapta Ice Hike Looking for a completely different backcountry hiking experience with the thrill of hiking across a glacier? Our Wapta Ice Hike is an amazing hut-to-hut adventure that will see you donning crampons and wielding an ice axe to traverse the Wapta Icefield. If you have never spent time on a glacier, it is an absolutely incredible experience. No trails, few people and excellent opportunities to scramble up peaks and stand on the top of the continental divide. We spend one night each at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Bow and Peyto Huts which are situated on rocky outcroppings high in the alpine near the toe of the glaciers. This unique hiking program is perfect for fit hikers or first time backpackers who want to learn about basic mountain safety and are looking for a unique way to experience the mountains.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 3 days

Mt Robson The tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies doesn’t need to be climbed to be fully enjoyed. The alpine meadows and stunning vistas that abound in Mount Robson Provincial Park offer some incredible hiking opportunities with the majestic peak as a constant backdrop. Our easiest backpacking program begins with a helicopter drop off deep in the park and away from the crowds. We spend two days sampling some of the excellent day hiking to be had in the region before shouldering our packs for the easy three day hike back to civilization.

Experience Required:

1

Fitness Level:

1

Duration: 6 days

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Hiking & backpacking

Bluerock

Skoki Circuit

Assiniboine Backpacking

This relaxed trip is ideal for those who want to start their summer backcountry season early. Exploring one of the beautiful front ranges in the Canadian Rockies, the Sheep River Valley is absolutely bursting with wildflowers at this time of year.

The Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise is the birthplace of mountaineering in Canada. The Skoki region, lying just to the east, has been a favorite with mountain travelers for well over a century. This trip explores the flower speckled subalpine meadows and sapphire-blue lakes that fill the valleys between rugged peaks.

Mt Assiniboine provincial park in British Columbia is one of the crown jewels of Canada’s mountain parks. Considered the “Matterhorn” of the Canadian Rockies, Mt Assiniboine dominates the skyline while we explore the meadows and valleys around the trout filled alpine lakes of the park.

Away from the crowds and off the beaten path, this trip is great for beginners or those looking to experience the beauty of an alpine setting for the first time.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

1 2

Duration: 4 days

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With shorter distances and minimal elevation gain, the Skoki Circuit is a great trip for those wishing to get off of the crowded hiking trails, but do not want to partake in a strenuous backpacking trip.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

1 2

Duration: 4 days

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We begin this adventure with a helicopter drop-off which takes us away from the busy trails and into the heart of the backcountry. After two days of hiking in the area, we don our backpacks and hike North into Banff National Park. This trip is great for those who love hiking and want to try out backpacking for the first time, or nature lovers who want to get a chance to see some wildlife and excellent scenery. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 5 days


Hiking & backpacking Rockwall Highline

Banff Highline

The Rockwall Highline in Kootenay National Park is a classic backcountry backpacking experience. As its name suggests, this trip follows the massive limestone wall of peaks that form the Vermilion Range of the Canadian Rockies. Climbing over high mountain passes and beside turquoise-blue glaciers, you will enjoy unmatched views of the main range of the Rockies as well as massive waterfalls and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

One of our most popular hikes and for good reason! We picked the most beautiful and accessible sections of the continental divide and hike South though Banff National Park, across the famous Sunshine Meadows, and into Assiniboine Provincial Park over this weeklong adventure. This amazing trip crosses some of the most scenic passes and travels through some of the best hiking terrain that the Rockies’ has to offer.

This program is designed for those who have some backpacking experience or who are looking for a longer and more challenging backpacking program over a mixed variety of mountain terrain.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 7 days

Mt Assiniboine stands dominating over the other peaks to the South and pulls us day by day towards our final goal. We have a lot of ground to cover and a high level of hiking fitness will enhance your enjoyment of this route that the early explorers of our land first traced.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 8 days

Jasper Highlands Jasper National Park is famous for its rugged landscape and wild country. Following the famous “Brazeau Loop” we trek deep into the wilderness and leave civilization well behind as we enter into the home of Mountain Caribou, Grey Wolf, and Grizzly Bear. The ambiance of this valley plus that of the peaks and meadows above is evocative of all that is wild, remote and beautiful in the northern reaches of the Canadian Rockies. If you have already enjoyed the Mount Assiniboine Backpack or the Rockwall Highline this is a natural step onto another level of mountain adventure. It’s a challenging and remote trip that should be on the list of any backpacking enthusiast.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 4

Duration: 6 days

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ice climbing The Canadian Rockies boast some of the best ice and mixed climbing in the world. Easy to access canyons and massive multi-pitch frozen waterfalls provide almost unlimited challenges for beginners to elite climbers alike. Many of Canada’s top ice climbers call Canmore their home, and many of them guide for Yamnuska.

Basic Ice Climbing

Ice Evolution

The hidden gem of the Canadian Rockies winter activity list is Ice Climbing. With easy access to some of the best venues for learning the sport, our guides will teach you the basics of how to use the equipment, move confidently on ice, and safely belay a partner. The bulk of the weekend is spent ice climbing the crystal blue flows that seem to change in personality with each swing in temperature. As with our other beginner programs, no experience is necessary because we start with the basics and build your skills over the two day program.

As the name suggests, this evolution from beginner to intermediate skills on ice will have you seconding multi-pitch ice routes and mixed climbing on rock and ice with the majestic Canadian Rockies as a backdrop. Suitable for fit beginners or rock climbers transitioning to ice climbing, this five day course is the ideal program to take for those who wish to jumpstart their winter climbing career. The first two days mirror the Basic Ice curriculum and then introduce you to progressively more challenging routes and advanced techniques.

With decades of experience in running ice programs for first time climbers, we guarantee you will benefit from the personalized coaching of our enthusiastic guides – once you try it, you will love it! Like all other types of technical climbing, getting the right instruction will make the difference in your enjoyment and capability of the sport. Our ice team is comprised of some of the best ice climbers in Canada.

This innovative and modern climbing development program is taught by instructors who are also on the cutting edge of modern ice and mixed climbing. An approach of focusing on personal technical movement skills allows for differing rates of development.

Building on the skills you developed from the previous two days, our ‘plus day’, which is run the day after our Basic Ice program, will give you experience on your first multi-pitch ice route. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

You will be amazed with how five days of dedicated climbing and instruction accelerate your skill, confidence and technique.

1 2

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

Duration: 2 days

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Duration: 5 days 1.866.678.4164


ice climbing Advanced Ice Systems

Progressing beyond intermediate level ice climbing requires understanding and skill in movement techniques, rope management and placing protection. Speed and proficiency when leading and seconding on more advanced ice routes will make your climbs safer and more enjoyable, and this program focuses on building the competencies to tackle tougher routes. Ice climbers who have a good base of beginner/intermediate experience and are seeking the technical skill and training to take their climbing to the next level will find this course especially helpful.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 2 days

Mixed Ice Climbing

Hot Ice

Mixed climbing skills are required for most classic alpine routes as well as many of the single and multi-pitch climbs that are so abundant in the Canadian Rockies. Our ice climbing team will coach and instruct you for success on whatever mixed climbing objectives you have.

Expect long and challenging days but prepare to be rewarded with completing some of the world’s most famous ice climbing routes. Along the way, pick up expert skills and techniques from our guides that you can take to any ice climb in the world.

Who said ice tools are only supposed to be used on ice? Dry tooling skills can open up a whole new world of climbing but requires even more focus on tool placement and movement. This course focuses on building climbing skills using hands, ice tools and crampons to reach the objective.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 3

Duration: 2 days

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This week of climbing the classic ice routes in the Rockies is ideal for people who are able to second Grade 4 ice and want to be challenged by the best of the Rockies’ multi-pitch routes. Our top ice guides lead a group of skilled climbers on what can arguably be the pinnacle of their climbing experience.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: 5 days

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V-Threads 101 • Grant Meekins Question: H  ow do you get down from the top of an ice climb? Answer: Walk off, or rappel. Unfortunately, it is often problematic, or even impossible, to walk off from the top of an ice climb. Further complicating matters is the fact that very few ice climbs have permanent rappel anchors, so ice climbers often need to supply their own. Now if money was no issue, we would leave behind our expensive ice screws as rappel anchors, but few climbers are that rich and no one would enjoy seeing the greedy grins and hearing the raucous laughter of the next climbers as they pocket our expensive gear. Fortunately, we can build V-thread anchors. V-threads are inexpensive ice anchors made from a piece of cord looped through two interconnecting holes in the ice. Their invention is often credited to the Russian alpinist Vitaly Abalakov, and that is why they are often referred to as “Abalakovs”. They are strong, cheap, and, after some practice, simple to build. Here’s how: 1. Using an ice tool, make a smooth surface on a piece of solid ice about 30 cm in diameter. 2. Starting close to one side of the smooth surface, fully insert a 21 or 22 cm ice screw into the ice at a 600 angl.e 3. R  emove the screw and clean out the ice from the core. 4. U  sing the same screw, start the second hole 18 or 19 cm away from the first hole. Screw it in at a 600 angle in the opposite direction, ensuring that it will connect with the first hole. Look down the first hole while starting the second to help judge the correct angle. 5. Stop turning when the ice screw is fully visible in the bottom of the first hole, but before it penetrates into the far wall. 6. Into the second of the two holes, insert a 100 cm piece of cord at least 7 mm in diameter. When it is visible in the bottom of the first hole, snag it with a hooked section of clothes hanger, or a commercial “V-Threader” designed for this purpose.

7. Tie the ends of the cord together with a secure knot, such as the Single Fisherman’s, leaving at least 7 cm of tail 8. Thread your rappel ropes through the loop. 9. Replace the ice screw about 30 cm from the V-thread and use it as a back-up. Loosely clip it with a quick-draw or sling to one of the rappel ropes. This back-up screw can be removed after the V-Thread has been thoroughly tested. 10. Proceed with your rappel Properly built V-threads are plenty strong in addition to being inexpensive. Remember, however, that retrieving a rappel rope by pulling it through from below weakens the V-thread cord. Never implicitly trust V-threads that someone else has built. Always back-up an existing anchor or, preferably, build a second one in a position so that the two cords can assist each other in holding the load. Have fun, take care!

Illustrations reproduced with permission of the publisher from Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, published by The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA.

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Grant Meekins is a Senior Guide for Yamnuska and an internationally certified -IFMGA- mountain guide.

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skiing The heart of the Canadian Rockies provide a base for almost limitless backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering objectives. Learn the skills required for this incredible winter sport on one of our comprehensive courses and then join us on one of our exciting multi-day backcountry trips.

Intro to Backcountry Skiing

Intro to Ski Mountaineering

Roger’s Pass Ski Long Weekend

With nearly limitless potential for new ski lines and descents, the backcountry is where the heart of every true skier resides. The shift from resort skiing and into the backcountry has taken off in recent years, and this course will give you the foundational skills you need to get out of the lift lines.

Ski mountaineering is one of the most incredible ways to enjoy the mountains in winter. With snow-covered approaches and rapid ski descents, it is easier to cover more ground and potentially summit more peaks than on a similar summer mountaineering trip. This week-long comprehensive course covers all of the basic skills required of the winter mountaineer. Although the concepts and systems are similar, managing terrain in a deeper snow pack and on skis often requires a different approach from general mountaineering. Based out of the Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefields, we will explore the numerous snow covered peaks and ski the slopes of fresh Rockies powder! This course is the best of both worlds since the focus is on developing the skills to summit mountains while skiing down big glacier lines.

Are you a powder hound? Roger’s Pass in the Selkirk Mountains west of Golden, BC, is widely known as Western Canada’s ski touring mecca. With steep slopes and complex terrain, the area can be intimidating. Advanced skiers will be introduced to “The Pass” by one of our certified ski guides who will show you some of the classic tours of the area. There are endless days of skiing in a place where it never seems to stop snowing.

Our certified guides will teach you how to use the gear, travel on ‘skins’, and backcountry skiing technique. Whether your objective is to ski untracked powder or to experience the beauty of alpine ski touring, this weekend course will introduce you to one of the fastest growing winter activities in the world.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 2 days

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 6 days

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We base this program out of the Glacier Park Lodge located at the height of the pass. Driving to the trailheads takes minutes and allows us to spend more time shredding the unlimited powder!

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

4 4

Duration: 3 days

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skiing Wapta Traverse The Wapta Traverse is known around the world for being one of the true classic hut to hut ski tours. The glaciers that form the Wapta Icefield sit atop the continental divide North of Lake Louise and provide the perfect snow highway for adventurous backcountry skiers. With elements of ski mountaineering and the potential to reach the summit of one of the many peaks along the route, this is an ideal trip for fit intermediate downhill skiers looking to expand their skills into the backcountry. The huts along the traverse are maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada and are comfortable spots to prepare our delicious meals and socialize with new friends in the evening. We offer both a 4-day and 6-day option for the traverse where guests can choose to do a shorter trip or experience the entire North to South itinerary from Peyto to Scott Duncan Huts.

4 days Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

Duration: 4 days

6 days Experience Required:

2

Fitness Level:

3

Duration: 6 days

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skiing Heli Assisted Lodge Based Trips Each year Yamnuska chooses a prime week during the winter to fly into one of the many backcountry ski lodges that pepper the wilderness of Alberta and British Columbia. Located in the best spots to take advantage of incredible skiing terrain, access to these remote lodges is by helicopter only. However, that is where the similarities to “heliskiing” end. Our guests must “earn their turns” by skinning up each slope we plan to ski down. This makes for an amazing active vacation where you get to experience not only the thrill of the descent but, the solitude and peace that permeates the winter landscape of our rugged peaks. We pick different locations because there is an amazing variety of lodges and each has its own flavor. Many of our guests return to ski with us year after year. All of our Lodge-based programs include full catering and comfortable accommodation, as well as one of our knowledgeable expert guides. If you are thinking of a private trip, you can also hire one of our ski experts to guide your group at any lodge or hut for the experience of a lifetime. If requested we can arrange food and all other logistics for a hassle-free trip.

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

2 2

or or

Duration: variable

3 3

Bow to Yoho Advanced Ski Week

11,000’ers Ski Mountaineering

This trip is the natural extension of our Wapta Traverse or Ski Mountaineering programs. Crossing from Banff to Yoho National Park, we will ski from the Bow Hut to the Little Yoho valley, spending a night winter camping on the way. The reward for this East to West traverse of the Wapta Icefields will be three exquisite days of powder skiing based out of the historic Stanley Mitchell Hut.

In the spring, when temperatures are more comfortable but the snow is still fantastic, we pick a ‘big mountain’ ski tour objective. Typically 2 – 3 days in length, we aim to summit peaks such as Mt Hector, Snow Dome, and Mt Columbia. Travel conditions are usually great with crevasses well-bridged by the winter’s snowpack, and longer days producing unique and fun-to-ski spring snow.

This is a classic ski traverse popular with our guides and the combination of glacier skiing, potential for peak ascents, and terrific ski touring days out of the Stanley Mitchell Hut are all too much to resist!

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 4

Duration: 6 days

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Some of the longer trips also involve an element of winter camping where you will learn the basics of setting up a winter kitchen and digging snow shelters. But the best thing about bagging an 11,000’er on skis is that after the celebrating and high-fives are done, you get to ski all the way back down to the trailhead!

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

3 3

Duration: variable

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Youthful Yamnuska  • Nick Sharpe S

o what did your active teens do this summer? Rock climbing, alpine mountaineering or back country hiking? What about this coming winter, anything planned? How about some ice climbing, ski touring or some avalanche skills training for your adventurous offspring? As far as providing all the above, Yamnuska is probably the only outdoor adventure provider in Canada that can boast a staff that is uniquely qualified to provide these active and educational rewarding outdoor sports to developing young adults within the National Parks of Western Canada. Over this past summer alone the highly skilled Yamnuska staff helped put over 160 teenagers on the summits of several 10,000ft peaks within the Banff and Yoho National Parks. These same adventurous kids also managed 5 days rock climbing and a period of back country hiking. All these activities involved equipment preparation, route planning, leadership development and a considerable amount of personal motivation and physical effort from the kids involved.

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They experienced the sun rising above the distant peaks as they negotiated a path through crevasse fields. They overcame fears as they reached the tops of steep rock climbs.

In the winter period Yamnuska fully complies with set legislation for providers taking custodial groups out in the winter environment within the National parks.

They felt snow flurries and the wind blowing as they climbed towards the summits. They witnessed the beauty and wilds of nature and the changing face of the glaciated mountains within the unique setting that can only be seen within the Canadian Parks. They learned self-reliance and teamwork, skills that will stay with them through life. Something they all gained was that feeling of achievement and triumph as they managed to complete each climb, summit or hike. For some, it was a one off experience, for others it may have been a life changing period in their personal development. For all, it was an adventure that will be remembered for the rest of their lives.

Our guides are all highly accomplished within their chosen certification. Chatting with them you may discover some surprising levels of experience gained from diverse backgrounds. Check out the guide’s bios on the Yamnuska web site. They have done a surprising amount and gained a rich level of experience within Canada and further afield, from the summits of the Himalayas to the European Alps and most points in between. What is readily apparent is their commitment to providing an outstanding and safe experience.

Yamnuska has been involved with youth training for over 30 years. All of our staff are professionally qualified to exacting ACMG or IFMGA standards. All hold current first aid training certification and undergo periods of staff training prior to the commencement of summer and winter seasons. They are also security vetted for working with youth.

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So if you have active teens why not give them the chance of participating in some of these rewarding and challenging outdoor sports alongside a Yamnuska guide. Without a doubt it will be an experience and challenge that they will enjoy and remember for the rest of their lives. Nick Sharpe is a Senior Guide for Yamnuska, an ACMG member and has the IFMGAMountain Guide Carney certification.


avalanche training

AST 1 - Avalanche Skills Training

AST 2 - Avalanche Skills Training

Avalanches are the greatest hazard facing skiers and climbers in the backcountry. Enjoying the mountains during the winter months is an amazing experience and you can increase your awareness of avalanche hazards to more safely enjoy your surroundings. Venturing into avalanche terrain without proper training is an unnecessary risk and can easily be mitigated by taking this fun and informative weekend course.

Building from your AST 1 training, this course is based around three days of backcountry ski touring in Banff National Park. We will cover many of the skills required by the recreational backcountry user including terrain evaluation, snowpack stability tests and route finding. There will also be a day of classroom avalanche theory covering material to a more advanced level than that seen on the AST 1 program. During the course you will gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the avalanche phenomenon and the types of triggers and events that cause them. This course is recommended for those who spend a lot of time backcountry skiing/climbing or are thinking of professional level training.

Canada is a recognized world leader in avalanche training, forecasting and research, and no one teaches more Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses in Canada than Yamnuska. Our combination of classroom and field training will give you the basic knowledge to assess and recognize avalanche terrain and hazards. Our courses follow the curriculum set out by the Canadian Avalanche Center and are taught by instructors who are active guides and professional members of the Canadian Avalanche Association. You will leave the course with an AST 1 Certificate. Experience Required: Fitness Level:

For more advanced backcountry skiers, we also offer this course based out of the Glacier Park Lodge in Roger’s Pass. With more advanced terrain and easy access to excellent ski touring areas, this location is ideal for the AST 2 program. Upon completion of this course, you will be presented with an AST 2 Certificate.

1 1

Experience Required: Fitness Level:

Duration: 2 days

2 2

Duration: 4 days

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Custom adventures Custom Adventures and Private Guiding Aside from our scheduled trips and programs, we run an extensive selection of private and custom departures. Do you have a specific training objective in mind or your sights set on that peak you have always wanted to climb? No problem, we can do it and you have the comfort of knowing that with thirty years behind us, we are a name you can trust. From one day programs to month long expeditions, our guiding team has climbed all over the Rockies and other parts of the world. Our experienced office team can arrange all of the logistics and the whole itinerary to make it a hassle free trip. All you have to do is take that first step! Perhaps our dates don’t work for you or you have a group for which you would like to set up a private program. You can still enjoy the full variety of our trips but on a more exclusive basis.

We do private guiding and custom adventures in:

Weddings and Groups

Corporate Groups

Planning a wedding or a family reunion? Organize a fun and unique activity that your group will never forget. We have organized activities for groups of up to 100 people and you know that when Yamnuska is organizing your event, safety and fun are our top priorities. We can offer a variety of activities from which your guests can choose. No experience? No problem! That’s where we come in. Our programs are suitable for all ability levels.

Our experience in process improvement, risk management, decision making and team building in the mountains is unmatched. Let us share these stories with your business team to add an inspiring and very different perspective. We can take your team out for a fun activity or our experienced staff can run one of our fun and insightful activities in your conference room. Either way, we know this will be a highlight of your corporate event.

• Mountaineering (including global expeditions) • Backcountry skiing and Ski Mountaineering • Ice Climbing • Rock Climbing • Hiking, Trekking or Backpacking • Avalanche Training • Wilderness First Aid • Skill specific training (Fall Protection for industry & Film)

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backcountry food services

Backcountry Kitchen and Meal Packages Are you planning a hike or climb and don’t know what to bring for food? Not sure if you are getting the proper nutrition for the type and length of activity and the time of year? How much should a day’s food pack-out weigh? Don’t have the time to do the proper meal planning, preparation and pack out? These are all questions any backcountry enthusiast must ponder before heading out on a trip. From our years of experience, we know that food is a critical part of any trip and often makes or breaks a program for a lot of guests. Most pre-packaged freeze dried food is very expensive and usually tastes awful! Yamnuska’s delicious dehydrated meals are crafted from fresh high quality ingredients in our own commercial kitchen. These are designed to balance weight, taste and nutrition to meet the needs of the specific trip that you are undertaking. You can enjoy Lamb Curry, Shepherd’s Pie, Chili, Seafood Stew and many other choices that have been carefully prepared and customized for your specific

food needs, while others are eating a freeze dried meal in a bag most probably manufactured in a bulk production factory and imported to Canada. We provide a wide variety of food menu items and can prepare your complete trip requirements including breakfast, snacks, lunch, appetizer, soup, dinner, dessert and beverages. If you have ever taken a Yamnuska program you know our food is delicious, nutritious, and well designed for the backcountry. We can accommodate vegetarian, gluten free, lactose intolerance, nut allergies, seafood allergies and most other special diets.

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We cater to individuals, groups & expeditions and can ship meals to anywhere in Canada. Call for more details or contact our chef at kitchen@yamnuska.com and let us focus on the food while you focus on your trip.

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Our Mission: Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is passionately committed to providing mountain experiences and services in a sustainable and respectful manner with safety as our top priority.

200 - 50 Lincoln Park Canmore, Alberta T1W 3E9 Canada

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Yamnuska Program Guide 2011/2012  

Our 2011/2012 Program Guide.

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