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Snow & Ice Focus
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Custom dates and locations available June – Sept.


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Group Size
6 students/instructors on skills days & 3 to 1 on ascent day
Skill Level

Snow & Ice Focus

A condensed program designed to boost your snow, ice & glaciers skills...

This 3 day course is a condensed introduction to mountaineering with a focus on snow, ice and glacier travel skills.

It is specially designed for motivated students just starting up or people with previous exposure to mountaineering & rock climbing looking to refresh specific skills. The skills covered include:

  • Review of ice axe and crampon use
  • Movement skills on mixed, snow and ice terrain
  • Self-arrests, rope handling & glacier travel skills
  • Snow & ice anchors
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Hazard management & preparedness
  • Route selection & emergency procedures
  • Navigation (maps, compass and GPS skills)
  • Peak attempt

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. Below is a sample 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 to 3: Remote mountain hut or backcountry camp location


  • On these intense 3 backcountry based days we will focus on snow, ice and glacier skills and hopefully get a chance to ascend a local peak. The proximity of the mountain environment will provide with many learning opportunities for the students. Some of the topics that will be covered 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, hazard assessment, safe route selection, snow & ice anchors, roped travel on glaciers and crevasse rescue fundamentals


On this course, students will benefit from previous mountaineering and rock climbing experience. This is a fast tract mountaineering program suitable for motivated students. Good physical fitness is a must, comfort and experience with overnight backpacking and carrying heavy packs on and off trails is required, previous mountaineering exposure an asset.

A desire to learn along with a positive attitude will get you a long ways!

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)
  • hut fees or tent based camp equipment
  • wilderness permits
  • Rope use & all technical equipment
  • 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
  • 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
  • transportation to trail head
  • gratuities
  • 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?

On this course, students will benefit from previous mountaineering and rock climbing experience. This fast tract intro to mountaineering course may also be suitable for motivated students just starting up. Good physical fitness is a must, comfort and experience with overnight backpacking and carrying heavy packs 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.

Rivers Oceans and Mountains 354-2056
Valhalla Pure Outfitters 354-1006

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