Intro to Mountaineering
June 23-26, 2023 Kokanee Glacier
Summer 2023 Bugaboo Park
*custom course dates available
Intro to Mountaineering
Discover the rewards and freedom of mountaineering...
This 4day course is a comprehensive introduction to general mountaineering on rock, snow, glaciers and mixed terrain. It is designed for people with minimal experience.
On this course, you will learn basic mountain travel techniques along with entry level rock, snow & ice climbing skills to start mountaineering.
Some of the skills covered include:
- Basic movement skills on rock
- Basic knots & rope handling
- Commands & belaying
- Top-rope climbing on rock & rappelling
- Basic rock anchor construction
- Ice axe and crampon use
- Movement skills on mixed, snow & ice terrain
- Self-arrests & glacier travel skills
- Basic snow & ice anchors
- Crevasse rescue fundamentals
- Hazard management & preparedness
- Route selection & emergency procedures
- Navigation (maps, compass and GPS skills)
- Possible basic peak ascents
Depending on conditions and course length, it may not be possible to cover all topics. For a custom trip or more information Contact us
The complete itinerary is somewhat flexible and will vary depending on participant needs, weather, conditions and course location. To maximize your learning, this course will either be based at a remote mountain hut or a backcountry camp.
Sample 4day itinerary:
Pre-trip meeting; 7:00 PM in town (2 hours)
- Welcome, introduction, goals & agenda, waiver.
- Review of planed itinerary and current conditions
- Issue of required gear and session on packing strategy
Day 1: Some course locations allow us to cover all the skills in the field as part of our out trip. If this is the case with the chosen location, we would hike into the mountains on day 1 and do as much skills work as possible near our camp.
Day 2 through 4: Remote mountain hut or backcountry camp location
- On these intense backcountry based days we will focus on snow, ice and glacier skills and plan on a few basic mountaineering ascents. The proximity of the mountain environment will provide with many learning opportunities for the students. Some of the topics that will be covered in this section include movement skills on mixed, snow and ice terrain, ice axe and crampon use, self-arrests, snow and glacier travel skills, navigation (maps, compass and GPS skills), preparedness, emergency procedures, basic hazard assessment, safe route selection, basic snow & ice anchors, roped travel and crevasse rescue fundamentals
Day 4: Last day
- We will have some time in the morning to touch up on any of the previously learned skills or try something new! The after-noon will be spent hiking out and returning to civilization
No previous climbing experience is required for this course, it is an asset. A desire to learn along with a positive attitude will get you a long ways!
Good physical fitness is a must, comfort and experience with overnight backpacking and carrying heavy packs is very usefull. This course provide a good oportunity to learn how to walk off trails, in snow (at times deep), on glacier ice (with or without crampons) and on uneven rocky terrain.
This course is available in the Nelson area, the Canadian Rockies, the Coast mountains and the European Alps.
Some of the areas we often visit on the Nelson courses include; Kokanee Glacier ProvincialPark, Valhalla Provincial Parks & Goat range Provincial Park in the Selkirk mountains, The MacBeth Icefields, the Horseshoe Glacier and Starbird Pass near Glacier creek in the Purcell mountains.
Due to the higher elevations, proximity to dominant winds and weather conditions, mountain weather is difficult to predict. It is most often worse than the weather in the surrounding valleys and can change quickly as it is really hard to predict for more than 24hrs ahead.
In summer you expect temperatures to be from 10 C to 28C in the day while overnight temperature can drop dramatically in the high alpine, even below zero. Temperatures are much colder at higher elevations, even in the summer. It is not uncommon to have overnight freezing temperatures in the alpine, outside a mountain hut or near a back country camp.
It is always an interesting challenge to know exactly what you are going to get, therefore is important to be flexible with timing and not too attached to a particular goal or objective. Be prepared by bringing all required items, this ensure you will be dressed for all variations as temperatures, wind, precipitation.
- Pre-course planning support
- Fully certified IFMGA and/or ACMG Alpine Guide or Mountain Guide services
- 20 years of experience in the area
- Alternative plan based on current conditions
- technical gear including ice axes, crampons, harnesses, helmets, prussix, carabiner (or use your own)
- Rope use & all technical equipment
- ACC huts costs
- Park permits and Liability Insurance
- Emergency response plan
- Group safety equipment
Services NOT included:
- 5% gst tax
- dinners & breakfast meals on trip, available for $45/night
- national park wilderness passes ~$10/night
- personal clothing, overnight equipment, mountaineering boots *see equipment list for more details
- personal lunch & snacks
- travel to meeting location and accommodation prior to field portion trip
- trip interruption, cancellation insurance or medical insurance
- additional costs incurred if changes made to itinerary due to weather
How experienced do I need to be?
Participants will benefit from previous experience however, no previous mountaineering or climbing experience is needed to join this entry level course. Good physical fitness is a must, comfort and experience with overnight backpacking on and off trails is very useful.
Is it safe?
On all our courses, SMG provides you with fully certified IFMGA/ACMG Mountain, alpine and rock guides. This guaranties you the highest safety standards in the industry. Mountaineering remains hazardous and while it is impossible to eliminate all the hazards, our guides will maximize your experience and greatly minimize the risks involved.
Can I rent some of the equipment needed during the programs?
On this program we offer participants access to all the technical equipment at no extra charge. This includes; harnesses, helmets, belay device, carabineers, ice axes, crampons and much more. Contact us for specific sizes and availability.
Where can I rent/buy climbing & outdoor equipment?
Here are a few outdoor stores in Nelson that supply good service and quality outdoor equipment and gear rental, please ensure you rent gear well in advance.