ADVENTURES IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES
Hiking near Lake Louise, AB Photo Credit: Katie Goldie @ goldiehawn_
WHO WE ARE Photo Credit: Travel Alberta/George Simhoni
Canadian Rockies Hiking by 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 Canmore, Alberta our home but consider the mountains of western Canada our classroom and playground. Our certified guides have experience all over the world yet we find ourselves in the Canadian Rockies because there truly is no other place like it.
Our vision 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 certified and in addition to their exceptional technical skill, our team is trained to give you the quality experience you deserve. Our passion for sharing the mountain environment with others and providing unparalleled expe-
riences is revealed on every program. 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.
Safety Your safety is very import to us at Yamnuska. While it is not possible to eliminate risk in any endeavour, we have worked hard to reduce that risk to optimize learning and enjoyment. Yamnuska has developed a solid safety culture from program development through to delivery. Our operations and safety plans set industry standards and are constantly reviewed by the risk management team at Yamnuska. We have a full-time, on call Duty Manager ensuring that we are prepared to deal with any occurrence or program requirement. In addition, our operational team are certified Mountain Guides, Level Three avalanche planners and professionals who have developed our procedures and practices with everyone’s safety in mind.
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 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 outdoor enthusiasts.
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: email@example.com
HIKING & BACKPACKING The Canadian Rockies 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. The majestic Canadian Rockies are home to Canada’s best front country and backcountry hiking. The mountain trails of Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Canmore offer stunning views with incredible guided hiking and walking experiences for the beginner and experienced hiker. Our Canadian Rockies Hiking programs are high quality hiking, trekking and walking trips throughout the national and provincial parks of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada lead by certified guides. We are a full service guiding company who has been operating in the Canadian Rockies since 1977 so our trips are truly the ‘best of the rockies’. Single or multi-day hiking and backpacking adventures are our specialty with guest service and safety as our main focus. Our low guide to guest ratios ensure you have the best possible experience. We have trips designed for all levels of interest and ability. Explore the natural wonders of the Rocky Mountains with our certified and knowledgeable guides for an exceptional experience of personal growth, challenge, and unforgettable memories! “A 7-day backpack that I wished would never end! The group was a quaint 4 people, plus our wonderful guide Peter. The Yamnuska team arranged a breathtaking route complete with well-equipped campsites and delicious food (pate, brie, bison stew, Nanaimo bars, etc). Peter was an extremely knowledgeable and friendly guide. I was amazed with his mastery of all concepts relating to backpacking, hiking, and even climbing. I learned so much and made long-lasting memories.” - Sophia, August 2018
GUIDE CERTIFICATION & TRAINING Our backpacking and hiking guides are certified professionals. They are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and the Interpretative Guides Association in addition to holding wilderness first aid certification. The very exacting standards to which Yamnuska’s guides are held should not obscure the fact that the guides are the heart and soul of the company. In addition to being great leaders, they are also great mountain companions. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures holds guiding permits for Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks. For Assiniboine and Bugaboo Provincial Parks in British Columbia and for Bow Valley and Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks in Alberta and also Kananaskis country also in Alberta.
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DAY HIKING & HUT-TO-HUT TOURS Canadian Rockies Walking Tour - 7 days
Lake O’Hara Hiking Tour - 4 days
Hiking in the Canadian Rockies is one of the best ways to enjoy an active vacation! 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 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.
Lake O’Hara is a place where dreams are made. Its unmatched beauty is enhanced by the strictly protected fragile landscape and the abundance of wildlife that travel through it. Since the late 1800’s visitors have been exploring the areas numerous lakes and majestic snow-capped peaks leading to the development of one of the most extensive and well-maintained trail systems in the mountain parks.
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.
The variety of breathtaking trails available makes this 4-day trip suitable for all levels. We’ll explore the valley basin, azure lakes, alpine meadows and mountain routes with vistas that will not only immediately impress you but leave you with memories to cherish forever!
Wapta Ice Hike - 3 days Hut to Hut Hiking Across Glaciers! Photo Credit: Paul Zizka, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Esplanade Track - 6 days Linking alpine cirques, lakes and meadows, the Esplanade Track follows the skyline of one of British Columbia’s most beautiful ranges. Running parallel to the Canadian Rockies, the Track offers exceptional panoramic views of the Rockies’ most famous peaks: Robson, Columbia and Assiniboine. Add comfortable huts, home cooked meals and light daypacks to get a walking experience that is pure mountain enjoyment! Access is exclusively by helicopter, a great way to start and finish the trip.
North of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, a series of gentle Icefields stretch for miles across the Great Divide of the Canadian Rockies. Known collectively as the Wapta Icefields they provide a unique opportunity for fit walkers and hikers to enjoy amazing mountain scenery that is normally reserved for mountaineers. In the course of this three-day traverse we start at Bow Lake and hike up to and over the Bow Glacier to the Peyto Glacier staying in well equipped alpine huts en-route. If you’ve never spent any time on a glacier, its an absolutely amazing experience. Our guides will show you this complex and fragile alpine environment in an up close and personal way. Standing on an icefield is like being on the ocean where you’ll quickly get a sense for the vastness of the glacier. Jagged peaks pop out of the ice to stand 10,000 plus feet above sea level. It is a surreal experience. “A truly once in a life time experience that brought the Canadian Rockies to life for us.”
Photo Credit: CanadaUK Photography.com
Mt Robson Hiking - 6 days
Skoki Circuit - 4 days
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.
If you only have time for one hike in the Canadian Rockies, join us on this world class hike situated in a beautiful high alpine region of Banff National Park. Here one can access breath taking mountain ridges, alpine lakes, and five different valleys. Much of the hiking is above treeline which allows for sweeping views across wildflower filled meadows. The overall trail distances on this circuit are relatively short which leaves us plenty of time to enjoy side hikes to explore the region or to just relax around one of the beautiful lakes. This area is well known for its wildlife viewing opportunities.
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.
The Skoki region near Lake Louise has been a favourite with mountain hikers to Banff National Park for well over a century and was the choice location for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their summer 2011 visit to Canada. The trails are good, the campsites are located in spectacular settings and the mountain ambiance is as good as it gets!
Tonquin Valley - 4 days Hidden behind the popular Marmot Ski Hill in Jasper National Park lies stunning alpine valleys, intimate forests, expansive lakes, and towering peaks and turrets. With evocative peak names like Paragon, Bastion, Drawbridge, Dungeon and Redoubt, this area is collectively known as the Tonquin Valley. American mountaineer and historian J. Monroe Thornington, who spent much of his life exploring the Canadian Rockies, wrote that the Tonquin valley “presents itself with a singular beauty almost unequalled in alpine regions of North America”. This broad valley is also home to a variety of wildlife – it is not uncommon to see evidence of grizzlies, mountain goats and mountain caribou.
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INTERMEDIATE Assiniboine Backpacking - 5 days
The Yoho Valley & Iceline Trail - 3 days
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.
When the Yoho valley was first explored in the late 19th century, it was reported to include an impressive array of glaciated peaks, vast ice fields and numerous stunning waterfalls. Indeed, the Yoho valley is worthy of its name, which translated means “wonder” or “awe”. Our trip begins under the dazzling 254 metre Takkakaw Falls and promptly switchbacks up the deservedly famous and popular Iceline Trail. From here we have access to many of the local trails: the Whaleback, Little Yoho Valley and Twin Falls, all outstanding trips in their own right. These interconnecting routes allow us to tailor the trip to suit the group’s fitness level and destinations we would like to visit.
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.
No trip to the Rockies would be complete without a visit to Yoho National Park. Join us for an extended weekend as we discover this truly awesome and unforgettable area.
“Epic trip. Outstanding scenery and a great mix of day hiking (3 days) and 2 days of backpacking out. Nice bonus was helicopter to get to Lake Magog quicker. There were 6 of us including 1 guide on the trip. Great food prepared by guide (Daire) and very patient with us as we obviously wanted to take a zillion photos, questions etc. I highly recommend both this trip and Yamnuska as a guide.” Dave, 2016
BACKPACKING TRIPS Rockwall Highline - 7 days
Tombstone Trail Yukon Backpacking - 7 days
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. 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.
If youâ€™re looking to hike in a truly wild landscape, with only those in your hiking party and the local fauna as your company, then Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon is the answer. With an area covering 2,200 square kilometers, this sub arctic park was established to protect the wildlife, vegetation, landforms and heritage of this unique region. This trip is being offered in late summer when a burst of colour blankets the landscape. Crimson and gold moss and shrubs cover the valley floors while a mix of black granite and multi-coloured lichen paint the jagged peaks of the Tombstone mountain range that tower above. Tombstone Valley is considered one of the most scenic spots in the Yukon with some of the best off-trail hiking in Canada. This is one of the best wilderness adventures and photographic opportunities of a lifetime!
The Canadian Rockies are well known for their pristine wilderness and breathtaking scenery, but did you also know about the extensive trail system that is perfect for trail runners. Trail running while on vacation is a great thing to do and it can be a challenge to select that perfect trail. These Canadian Rockies running retreats offer both a 3-day intro camp and 5-day full camp and are sure to inspire your return trip to the Canadian Rockies.
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CHALLENGING Banff Highline - 8 days
Jasper Highlands - 6 days
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.
In the remote headwaters of Jasper National Park’s Brazeau River, where Poboktan and Jonas Creeks pass, there are huge expanses of alpine meadows that we call the Jasper Highlands! Our hiking journey circumnavigates much of this expanse in a huge triangular route also known as the “Brazeau Loop”. The South Branch of the Brazeau River which we follow for the first two days is a very old trail long used by the indigenous people and later followed by European trappers and explorers. Now this trail is used by backpackers and wildlife, including wolves and the elusive mountain caribou. The ambiance of this valley is evocative of all that is wild, remote and beautiful in the northern reaches of the Canadian Rockies in what is one of our most challenging hiking trips.
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. “A perfect trip, everyone was so friendly and helpfull, from booking the trip, to being picked up from the hostel, everything was handled in a relaxed but very professional manor. The trip itself was exactly as advertised, absolutely breathtaking scenery.”
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 more challenging and remote trip that should be on the list of any backpacking enthusiast.
Kananaskis Highlands - 5 days Kananaskis Country is a wilder, less travelled hiking paradise. It was given protected status in 1977 and is located in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies immediately to the south of Banff National Park. It consists of over 4000 square km of foothills, valleys and mountains. In 1858, John Palliser named the area after a native Cree warrior called “Koominakoos”. Often referred to by locals as “K-Country”, this region of tightly folded limestone peaks and alpine lakes coupled with the abundance of wildlife makes this trip one of our more popular destinations. The grey of the mountains contrast sharply with the blue of their lakes and the conifer green of the forests cloaking the lower elevations. Home to a large variety of wildlife including wolves, grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, deer and big horn sheep, this wild mountain landscape will leave you inspired to photograph and sit back to take in all its grandeur. This five-day trip across the South and North Kananaskis Passes and through the Height of the Rockies Provincial Park offers varied scenery with lots of lakes, glaciers and spectacular canyons.
Photo Credit: John Price @johnpricephotography.com
Navigation 1 - Map & Compass
The ability to navigate accurately is the most important skill for anyone heading into the mountains. In the Rockies the weather and visibility can change rapidly, making it especially important for hikers and mountain users to be able to navigate effectively even in limited visibility.
There is a thin line between technical climbing and scrambling. We define scrambling as easy climbing requiring use of hands and feet but not usually ropes, belays and protection.
This basic 1-day mountain navigation skills course aims to give you an introduction to planning and navigating with the use of a map and compass. This course will provide you with the skills you require to navigate in both summer and winter, with no trails and in all weather conditions
The intent of Scrambling Skills is to give you the skills to safely climb the scramble peaks and not put yourself or partners at unnecessary risk. We will focus on the most important elements of scrambling safety: route finding, hazard assessment and movement skills on loose steep terrain and on snow and iced rock. Most scrambling accidents are the result of bad route choices and poor terrain assessment.
Navigation 2 - Digital Navigation
Rope use and technical aspects of mountaineering will not be taught on this program.
In todays high tech world planning safe and efficient back country routes using a variety of digital topographic maps and electronic devices can be mind boggling. Whether you are a seasoned mountaineering or first timer looking to explore the back country, this 1 day land navigation training course will walk you through a variety of online resources and teach you the fundamental tools for both trip planning and use while out in the back country. Whether you have cell service or not, weâ€™ll show you how to use your smartphone to plan, navigate and track your routes, while conserving battery life.
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CUSTOM ADVENTURES Private Guiding & Custom Trips Having us organize your own hiking or trekking trip on a private or custom basis can be extremely rewarding. This is because the pace of the activity, the degree of difficulty and the level of service and comfort is customized to the needs and abilities of you and your group. There is no compromise involved as our sole aim is to meet your goals. The Canadian Rockies is one of the finest hiking areas in the world. The mountain scenery is superb and easy access to exciting areas allows for a range of different styles of trip. We organize trips for individuals, for families and for groups of friends of all ages. Whilewe operate mainly in Canada we can also organize trips to other parts of the world such as the Himalayas, Andes or European Alps. You can ask us to organize a trip you’ve always wanted to do or we can work with you to develop an itinerary. We can even help you organize a package that includes local transportation and accommodation during the trip. We can arrange for rental equipment and supply all out trip meals. “I booked eleven days of hiking in Lake Louise with Yamnuska, with a couple of rest days interspersed, and it was amazing. My guide for the first four days was Lenora, and for the last seven days was Nathan. Both were skilled guides and fun companions on the trails. Hikes ranged from 15 to 20 kilometers, and elevation gain ranged from 650 to 1,000 meters, making for wonderful long days in some of the most beautiful country the world has to offer. Highly recommended.” Daniel, 2017
WILDERNESS FIRST AID Wilderness First Aid is an important skill for anyone who spends time in the mountains. Even hikers, climbers, and skiers who do short day trips can quickly find a situation has turned disasterous without basic wilderness first aid skills. We run two types of wilderness first aid courses – a basic and an advanced. The reasons for taking one program or another vary by individual but there are a few important distinctions. The Wilderness First Responder Course is the standard for outdoor professionals but is also recommended for adventurers who spend a lot of time in the backcountry where emergency response time is not immediate. Patient stabilization by using resources at your fingertips are essential skills. The Wilderness Remote Responder will give participants basic first aid skills to address wilderness medical emergencies and is the minimum recommended training for anyone who spends time outdoors.
WINTER ACTIVITIES Avalanche Skills Training
Snowshoeing and Backcountry Skiing & Boarding
Snow avalanches are arguably the biggest risk facing the winter climber, skier, rider or snowshoer. Understanding avalanche risk, avalanche terrain, weather factors and companion rescue are essential skills for anyone recreating in the mountains in winter. In many cases, some victims didnâ€™t even realize they should have been concerned about avalanches. Recognizing avalanche terrain and making informed decisions are cornerstones of recreational avalanche courses.
Snowshoeing is an ideal way to explore the backcountry in winter but without proper knowledge, enthusiasts often take unnecessary risks. Proper training makes winter travel in avalanche terrain safer and more enjoyable. We spend time learning the basics of avalanche awareness and training. Our avalanche safety instructors are full-time certified guides and professional members of the Canadian Avalanche Association. Their extensive personal experience in winter guiding, avalanche operations and forecasting will add an extra dimension of interest to your training.
Avalanche Skills Training courses consist of an intensive classroom day where students are taught theoretical and practical curriculum through presentations and discussions in an interactive learning environment. The field day is where theory gets put into practice and every student is given the opportunity to actively practice travel and danger recognition skills. Students will also be taught best-practice companion rescue skills. Through the efficient use of pinpointing a victim with the avalanche transceiver, probing to locate the person under the snow and proper digging techniques to complete the rescue, students will be prepared should the unforeseen avalanche accident occur. While the objective of an avalanche course is to avoid incidents and burials, companion rescue skills dramatically increase victim survival rates when they are needed. Part of the formal training is exposure to the myriad of tools and public information available for anyone with basic skills to assess risk and manage their exposure to avalanches. Public avalanche bulletins, current weather reports, historical weather station information (wind, temperature, precipitation) and local avalanche observations will all be combined with your field observations to assist your decision making. All of these observations and data points can be consolidated into a decision making tool (Avaluator) taking some of the mystery out of what can be an overwhelming series of inputs. A good avalanche course instructor will take complex topics and break them down into relatable and understandable pieces of individual data points.
Learning how to use skis to explore the backcountry can be an incredibly rewarding experience! If you are already skiing at the hill and would like to learn to take your skills into the backcountry and away from the lift lines, these programs are for you! Our programs range from introductory instruction in how to use the equipment and travel safely, to fully guided hut-to-hut ski traverse trips which are suitable for fit, experienced downhill skiers. Skiing is the best way to get off the beaten trail, both for those searching out that perfect untouched slope to ski some lines, or those looking to enjoy a day out in the beautiful forests and mountain scenery that abound in the area.
Ice Climbing Ice Climbing is a fun, active and growing sport. Canmore and the Canadian Rockies offer some of the best ice climbing in the world. In addition to long and challenging multi-pitch routes, there are fantastic beginner crags and climbing areas. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures offers a wide range of ice climbing instruction and guiding for people of all skill levels. Whether you are the complete beginner who has never ice climbed before or the highly skilled climber looking to tick off the list of classics, we invite you to join us for an adventure in Canmore.
There are two levels of recreational training in Canada. The first is the Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST 1). This is a two day course with one day in the classroom and one day in the field. Upon completion of this course, participants are given Yamnuskaâ€™s AST 1 certificate. This certificate is recognized throughout Canada. The next level of recreational avalanche training is the Avalanche Skills Training 2 (AST 2) which is a more intensive four day training program that spends three full days in the field and a more indepth classroom day.
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200 - 50 Lincoln Park Canmore, Alberta T1W 3E9 Canada