Rock Climbing Canadian Rockies

Bow Valley and Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks

Multi-Pitch Sport and Alpine Rock Climbs
B&B or Hotel Based in Banff or Canmore
Private Guiding, Camps and Courses All Levels

Rock Climbing Canadian Rockies Highlights

  • Best limestone climbs north of Mexico
  • Sport routes up to 20 pitches
  • Yamnuska: 8 pitches trad climbs
  • Banff National Park scenery
  • Quick approaches!
  • Only 1 hour 15 minute drive from Calgary Airport

While the Canadian Rocky Mountains have a great reputation for its world class ice climbing, skiing and mountaineering, the rock climbing has been hugely underpublicized. Undeservedly so!

Over the last decade, many new climbs of all difficulties have been established on the walls of Yamnuska, Mount Rundle, Ha Ling Peak and others. Additionally a lot of the old classics have been reequipped with bolted anchors, which make them ideal for climbing courses of all levels.

For experienced climbers, who like to lead but don’t want to waste their time choosing the right climbs, finding the route and enjoy the added safety of having a guide along, we offer climbing camps. That doesn’t mean you have to camp but your guide acts as a coach, who can jump in and take over, if things get tough.

Long climbs in an alpine surrounding, quick access from the towns of Canmore or Banff combined with short approaches reminds of qualities of the Dolomites – only without the crowds! That is even more true, if you mix in an outing to the Ghost River Gorge: Wilderness experience at the outskirts of Banff National Park with limestone climbs that truly match the quality of Europe’s finest.


Intro Course


Follow single and multi-pitch climbs, lead bolted sport climbs.
Trip planning, knots, climbing technique training on top-rope climbs and bouldering, belaying techniques, use and positioning of removable anchors, lead climbing on bolted climbs, repelling with self belay, multi-pitch climbs as a follower, risk management and hazard evaluation.

Advanced Course


Lead multi-pitch climbs on gear self sufficiently.
Review of beginner’s course contents, advance climbing technique coaching, emphasis on removable anchors and belay stations, coaching on single and multi-pitch climbs as a leader of a party.

Private Guiding or Climbing Camp

– or as a course: A combination of any of the above contents, advancing at a rate in accordance with your personal skill level and preferences.

Detail and Logistics

Meeting Point

Banff or Canmore, Alberta either a)on the evening before the official start of the course or b)on the morning of the first climbing day. We gladly assist you in arranging lodging and airport transfers from and to Calgary International (1.25 hrs).

Or for private/custom trips – meet guide on the morning of your climb to discuss itinerary, mountains conditions and equipment.

Climate, Weather, Temperatures

Although common saying is, it can snow in Banff any month of the year, temperatures in summer are usually between 15C and 30C. The continental climate at the Eastern slope of the Rockies makes for mostly dry weather.

Services Included in the Total Price

Guiding/instruction by an ACMG certified mountain, rock or assistant guide, all guide expenses, equipment use (harness, helmet, climbing hardware, ropes). We will gladly quote you all-inclusive prices with lodging and air port pick up / drop off in Calgary or we can assist you in making reservations for the lodging and transport option of your choice.

Not Included

Air fares, lodging, food, lunches, drinks, rental fees for climbing shoes, airport shuttles or local transport. The latter can often be arranged on a cost basis in the guides’ car.

Can I Do It?

1) Beginner Course 

Requires good physical fitness for spending an active days in the mountains and you should not be afraid of heights. Previous hiking and indoor climbing experience advantageous. Objective: Follow multi-pitch climbs, lead sport climbs.

2) Advanced Course 

See under 1) plus outdoor climbing experience following routes up to grade 5.8 . Objective: Lead multi-pitch climbs on gear self sufficiently.

3) Climbing Camp 

See under 1) and 2) plus ability to safely lead up to grade 5.6 (V-) on multi-pitch climbs. If you sign up as a rope team of two, at least one of the partners must be a competent leader. Your guide will coach you on the climbs, helps you set up safe belays, assures route finding and steps in, if the going gets tough.

Private Guiding

As for any of our private guiding weeks, we enjoy optimal flexibility! The Canadian Rockies offer all you can dream of, regardless if you are a beginner in alpine rock or you have been climbing for decades and want to trade leads with your guide.

Gear List

Alpine Rock Climbing Camp

1. Technical Equipment

• Approach shoe, a sturdy trekking boot for alpine approaches
• Running shoe or light approach shoe for easier approaches
• Rock climbing shoes*
• Climbing backpack (30-35 liters) with rain cover if possible. Some have built-in rain covers (Deuter backpacks). Rain covers can also be bought separately. Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack.
• Climbing helmet**
• Collapsible ski poles* (recommended on some approaches, better for knees)
• 1 harness with gear slings**
• 6 quickdraws** (2 carabiners with a short sling of webbing)
• 3 locking carabiners**
• 1 HMS (large locking) carabiner**
• 3 long slings of webbing (single shoulder)**
• 2 long slings of webbing (double shoulder) or one cordelette (8mm)**
• 1 figure 8 or other belaying/repelling device**
• 2 prusiks: (3,5 meter long rope slings, both 5-6mm wide)**
• Single rope (10-11mm wide, 50-60m long) or double rope (8-9mm wide, 50-60m long) per climbing team**
• 1 set of wired nuts (stoppers) per climbing team**
• 1 set of cams (friends/camelots) per climbing team**

All items marked ‘*’ can be rented from a rental shop locally.

All items marked ‘**’ can be provided by OnTop. Let us know ahead of time if you need any of these items. Please bring your own equipment if you have it.

2. Clothing

We suggest using the ‘layer system’: Light technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly if sweaty or wet. Layers can be put on and taken off fast if weather conditions change during the day.

• Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
• Wind and waterproof over pants with side zippers (Gore Tex or similar)
• Mountaineering pants
• Fleece or heavy jacket
• Medium weight fleece sweater
• Long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Undershirt – preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Warm socks for trekking/mountaineering boots (wool/synthetic outers)
• Lighter socks for rock climbing shoes
• Warm hat, covering your ears
• Lightweight gloves (fleece)
• Sun hat, with a wide brim if possible
• Bandana (optional)

3. Hut lodging (if included in the program)

• Spare underwear, socks
• Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)
• Light sleeping bag liner (preferably silk) – blankets are provided in the huts
• Light hut slippers (optional)
• Light stuff sacs or zip lock bags to keep your backpack organized (optional)
• Toiletries and small towel (optional)
• Alpine Club card (if you hold a membership)
• Ear plugs (optional but very useful)

4. Other Items

• Sun glasses (with very good UV protection)
• Sun screen and lip protection
• Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter or camelbak (if too cold, bladder tube might freeze up!)
• Head lamp with spare batteries and bulb
• Blister kit (optional)
• Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
• Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses, etc.)
• Pocket knife or leatherman (optional)
• Passport
• (Health/Travel) insurance documents
• Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
• Camera, batteries (optional)
• Compass, maps and GPS (optional)

We will gladly put potential clients in touch with previous participants of each trip in order for interested guests to get more personalized references and their questions answered from a more objective point of view than what our office could provide.

Guest Feedback

“Alex & Ian’s performance? Both of them were great guides. They really keyed into our respective skill levels and helped us push ourselves on the mountain and—in Alex’s case—on the crag too. They are great guides and great guys all around. Alex was very proactive about changing our initial itinerary based on his own gathering of information about conditions as the trip date approached. That was extremely helpful and made for a much better trip. We knew going into this trip that we were going to have to have a flexible itinerary, and Alex was very good at helping us with that. He really knows the area well.
10/10. We’re really happy with the trip and grateful to Alex and Ian for their hard work and professionalism. They are both friendly, knowledgeable, and very helpful. Great people to be outdoors with!”
Diego G., NY, USA

“We did indeed have a great trip! Guide: Brent was great. Very informative and helpful. He really helped Anna to overcome her anxieties and build her confidence (so much so that she was up and down in 81/2 hours and didn’t need to be short-roped). Communication and organisation from your end was great – I really appreciated your friendly and informative emails.
Great choice of destination for the climb. As I’d never been to the (Canadian) Rockies before, I pretty much let you guys decide and you came up with the perfect choice.
10/10! I would definitely recommend you guys” David W., UK – Mt Athabasca Custom Trip

Client / Guides

Max. 5 Clients per Guide
Min 3 clients

Rock Climbing Canadian Rockies
  • Novice to Expert
  • Climbing Intro Days
2019 DATES
Rock Climbing Canadian Rockies

Private Guiding / Instruction
Any time May-October

Introduction Course
5 Days

May 12 – 16
May 26 – 30
June 17 – 21
July 22 – 26
Aug. 19 – 23
Aug. 30 – Sept. 3

Climbing Camp /
Advanced Course:
5 Days

Apr. 29 – May 3
May 10 – 14
May 26 – 30
June 8 – 12
June 27 – July 1
July 7 – 11
July 18 – 22
Aug. 4 – 8
Aug. 10 – 14
Aug. 22 – 26
Sept. 5 – 9

Rock Climbing Canadian Rockies

CA $830 + GST

Inclusions: Guide + guide expenses, Technical equipment use

Extras: transport, rental fee for climbing shoes, food, lodging

On request, we can quote you in your preferred currency