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Custom mountaineering skills courses in Canada

Choose a specific mountaineering skill to learn or improve, and take a 1-day course led by IFMGA-certified mountain guide David. These programs are held in several locations in Western Canada.

Duration1+ day
Offer periodMay, Jun
Skill LevelBeginner
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripNot specified


This series of courses focuses on specific skills over three days. Based on their previous experience and goals, participants can select one to three full-day courses to acquire or refresh certain mountaineering skills, and put them into practice in a safe environment.

Courses are offered in several locations in Western Canada, such as the Canadian Rockies (3,954m), and the Coast Mountains (4,019m) and the Nelson area (535m) in British Columbia. Our most visited sites around Nelson are the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, the Valhalla and the Goat Range Provincial Parks in the Selkirk Mountains (3,519m), the MacBeth Icefield, and the Horseshoe Glacier and Starbird Pass near Glacier Creek in the Purcell Mountains (3,481m).

Courses are held from 8AM to 5PM on an agreed practice site, both in and outdoors. Content and schedule will depend on participants’ interests and needs, as well as on the weather conditions. I will be happy to tailor these programs to guests’ preferences, even to extend them over a few days.

Below you will find a brief description of what each course will cover:

Day course 1: Ice Axe & Crampon Use, and Movement Skills & Rope Handling

  • Issue of required gear
  • Movement skills on mixed, snow and ice terrain
  • Ice axe and crampon use
  • Self arrest
  • Rope handling for snow and glacier travel

Day course 2: Crevasse Rescue and Snow & Ice Anchors

  • Review of relevant skills & glacier morphology
  • Glacier travel & roping up
  • Snow & ice anchor construction
  • Crevasse rescue fundamentals
  • Rope ascending

Day course 3: Mountain Leadership & Hazard Management

  • Mountain leadership skills
  • Group management skills
  • Hazard management
  • Emergency procedures
  • Map, compass and navigation
  • Route selection

While these courses are open to everyone, participants are required to have a good physical condition. Having some previous mountaineering and rock climbing experience, and being comfortable with walking off trail and carrying a large day backpack, can be beneficial as well.

Interested? Request to book one or more courses now. Tell me about your mountaineering experience and goals, and we will find the program that fits you best.

If you are looking for other mountaineering training programs in the area, check out the crevasse rescue day course in Canada, and the avalanche rescue day course in Nelson, British Columbia.


More info

The guide will carry the following gear: SAT phone, Spot and/or VHF, first-aid kit & repair kit, crevasse rescue gear, maps of the area, GPS, compass, and altimeter. You will need to bring: Equipment: • Mountaineering boots • Day backpack (30-40 liters) • Ice axe (60cm length) • Crampons (must fit your boots) • Climbing helmet (multiple impact rated preferred) • Prussic slings (2 X 5m lengths of 7mm cord and 1 x 1.75 m length) • Carabineers (3 lockers and 2 non-lockers, preferably light) • Trekking Poles (1-2 collapsible poles) • Headlamp (with fresh batteries) • Water bottle (1 liter minimum) • Pocket knife (e.g. Swiss army knife) • Blister kit (a small amount of moleskin, second skin and/or duct tape) • Personal first aid kit (small nd-aids, ibuprofen and Aspirin/Tylenol is enough; the guide will have a complete kit) • Sunglasses (with good UV protection) • Sun & Lip screen (UVA/UVB protection with minimum SPF 30) • Toilet paper & Lighter (a small amount) • Lunch & snacks • Writing material & camera (optional) • Map, GPS & compass (optional) * Winter crevasse rescue courses are usually done on skis. Clothing: • Long top and bottom underwear (2 of each, thin polypro or smart wool) • 2-3 pairs of wool/synthetic blend socks • Mountaineering pants (preferably Schoeller/stretch wind stopper blend with reinforced nylon knees and bottom) • 1 lightweight shirt and 1 lightweight T-shirt • Long sleeves shirt (preferably with zip-neck, wind stopper fleece/nylon combo) • Fleece jacket (medium weight) • Outer jacket (thin waterproof/windproof with hood. E.g. Gore-Tex) • Outer pants (thin waterproof/windproof and preferably with side zips) • Gaiters (1 pair) • 2 pair of gloves (1 thin pair and 1 thicker/warmer pair, both waterproof) • Nylon covered fleece/wind stopper (preferably with Thinsulate) • Warm hat • Sun hat (ideally with wide brim) • Bandanna to cover neck (optional) Please note that temperatures can vary widely, from near 0°C in the early morning to 25°C on sunny days in the afternoon. For clothing, we recommend the “layer system”, and light wear that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly.

Meeting point

Agreed practice site in Western Canada



About the guide

guide profile img

I am an IFMGA and ACMG-certified mountain guide based in Nelson, British Columbia. I'm the lead guide at Summit Mountain Guides, a guiding agency I co-founded back in 2007 and which offers year-round guiding services and courses in Canada and Europe.

The mountains of western Canada have been my playground since 1992. I'll be happy to take you mountaineering, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, hiking or ice climbing in this area I know so well. From day trips to multi-day adventures, I can guarantee an unforgettable and safe experience.

The SMG team of guides will help you with your trip's logistics, safety and contingency plans so that you get the most out of your backcountry experience and can just focus on having an amazing time on the mountain!

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Prices per person, per day

Group of 1

CAD 568 each

Group of 2

CAD 310 each

Group of 3

CAD 155 each

Group of 4

CAD 155 each

Group of 5

CAD 135 each

Group of 6

CAD 119 each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Permit and entrance fees

- Personal Insurance

- Group equipment: Rope, Harness, Helmet, Crampons, Ice-axe, Belay and rappel devices

Price details

Please note that the price includes: rope use; group technical equipment (harnesses, helmets, belay device, carabineers, ice axes, crampons, etc.); group safety equipment; park permits; and liability Insurance.

The price does not include:

• 5% GST

• Personal clothing

• Mountaineering boots and equipment (ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness, prussix, carabiners). These are available for rent at $30 per day.

• Personal lunch & snacks

• Travel to meeting location and accommodation

• Gratuities

• Trip interruption, cancellation insurance or medical insurance

• Additional costs incurred if the itinerary is altered due to the weather conditions.

For booking assistance

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