Canmore, Ghost River Valley, Kananaskis, Banff and Yoho National Park, Canada
Waterfall Ice Climbing: Private Guide and Customized Ice Climbing Courses. All Levels!
Ice Climbing Private Guide Highlights
- Best ice climbing in North America
- Customized itineraries
- Most reliable ice conditions
- Few crowds
- Many climbs with short approaches
- Moderate multi-pitch ice climbs
- Excellent beginner/practice climbs
Having lived and ice climbed extensively in Europe, Colorado and Canada, we believe the Canadian Rockies are by far THE BEST as far as waterfall ice climbing goes: Dramatic vertical relief and cold winters make for reliably “phat” ice conditions from November through April.
For our custom ice guiding services or ice climbing courses, we can accommodate you any time and we enjoy optimal flexibility to tailor the trip to your needs! With lodging in Canmore or Banff the approaches are quick: A short drive and a walk anywhere from ten to sixty minutes opens up a wealth of terrain – from easy top ropes for beginner ice climbers to the multi pitch ice climbing classics!
Depending on your preferences, we can also base ourselves in Lake Louise (about 50 minutes drive from Canmore in the heart of Banff National Park), in Field, BC or Golden, BC or in Rampart Creek Hostel (1.45 hrs from Canmore towards Jasper). This gives us even quicker access to the ice climbs in Banff National Park around Lake Louise (Louise Falls, Bow Falls), the Icefield Parkway (Weeping Wall, Polar Circus) or in Yoho National Park (Guiness Gully, Pilsener Pillar, Carlsberg or Superbock).
We are a small guide service and we pride ourselves of providing a very personalized service since 1995! We gladly also gladly assist you with trip logistics and lodging needs in the Canadian Rockies. Should be short of ice climbing gear or warm clothing items, we gladly help you with our rental inventory at very reasonable rates.
The itineraries of our custom trips are flexible and depend on the participant’s ability level, personal preferences, avalanche and ice conditions. Expect lots of ice climbing! Following are some of the most popular ice climbing venues and routes in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks plus the Alberta Provincial Parks surrounding Canmore and Banff, namely the Ghost River Wilderness and Kananaskis Country
Driving Distance from Canmore (CM) / Banff (BF) and Lake Louise(LL)
Practice and top rope Ice Climbing Areas (WI1 – WI5)
Canmore Junkyards (CM:5 min, WI2-3, 60m)
Grotto Canyon (CM:10 min, WI3-4+, 60m)
Johnston Canyon (CM: 25 min, WI2-5, 40m)
Haffner Creek (CM: 35 min, WI3-5 /mixed, 25m)
King Creek (CM 35 min, WI 2 – 4, 40m)
Easy and Moderate Multi Pitch Ice Climbing Routes(WI 3-4)
Professor Falls (CM: 15 min, WI4, 280m)
Cascade (CM: 10 min, WI3, 300m)
Trans Can Iceway (CM: 5 min, WI4+, 200m)
Moonlight, Chantilly (CM: 40 min, WI2-4, 110m)
Massey’s (LL: 20 min, WI 3-4, 140m)
Guiness Gully (LL: 20 min, WI4, 250m)
Bow Falls (LL: 20min, WI3-4, 100m)
Weeping Wall Left (LL: 40 min, WI 4, 160m)
Difficult Multi – Pitch (WI 5 and harder)
Louise Falls (LL: 2 min, WI 4+, 110m)
Super Bock (LL: 20 min, WI5, 330m)
Carlsberg Column (LL 20 min, WI5, 90m)
Burgeau Left/Right (CM: 25 min, WI5+4,180/300m)
Terminator (CM: 15 min, WI6+, 150m)
Polar Circus (LL: 40 min, WI5, 700m)
Weeping Wall Right (LL 40 min, WI5, 160m)
Private/Custom trips can be offered as a course, or a combination of any of the Intro and Advanced course contents, advancing at a rate in accordance with your personal skill level and preference
Detail and Logistics
Meet in Banff or Canmore, Alberta around 8am (or earlier) depending on the climb organised. If you require rental gear you can arrange for a pick up at our office in Canmore the previous day. We gladly assist you in arranging lodging and airport transfers from and to Calgary International (1.25 hrs).
Climate, Weather, Temperatures
Ice climbing requires cold weather. Be prepared and equipped for temps down to -20 C or -7F.
Services Included in the Total Price
Guiding/instruction by an UIAGM and/or ACMG certified mountain, alpine or assitant alpine guide.
Rates quoted are for average ice climbing days in the vicinity of Canmore or Banff up to grade WI 4. Premiums apply for harder or longer routes as well as destinations that require more than 1 hr of driving time from Canmore.
Lodging, food, lunches, drinks, rental fees for boots and technical equipment (see below), guide driving expenses (can be quoted seperately)
Additional Trip Services Available
Technical equipment use – ice tools, harnesses, ice screws, helmets, ropes- at CD$10 / person / day and boot rental at CD$ 10 / person / day
Guide driving expenses are being billed at $0.4 / km, unless clients can provide transport to the trail head and for the guide as well.
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.
Can I Do It?
As for any of our private guiding days, we enjoy optimal flexibility! The Canadian Rockies offer all you can dream of, regardless if you are a beginner or you have been climbing for decades and want to trade leads with your guide. Come prepared to walk to the climbs–anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours. Especially later in the season, we might need snow shoes or skis to approach some of the ice climbs.
Why book with us?
For our custom guiding days, we can accommodate you any time! We enjoy optimal flexibility!
Equipment use / Boot rental available at an additional cost
No hassle to get to the rental store in the morning before your Ice Climbing day.
From the minute you inquire about a trip with us, you communicate with the owner, who does most of the guiding himself. We walk the extra mile to help you with planning your entire vacation in the Canadian Rockies, including insider advice, accommodation and airport shuttles.
We can usually arrange for you to catch a ride with the guide to get to the climbs at cost.
Winter Ice Climbing
It is essential that you do a careful job in selecting and preparing your equipment for this course.
Temperatures are typically in the teens but can easily drop to -10F to -20F and be
accompanied by high winds and blowing snow. These conditions, in combination with the long periods of inactivity required to belay a climber on a difficult pitch, can easily lead to problems of hypothermia or frostbite.
We can teach climbing in difficult conditions, but we cannot teach hypothermic students. For your own safety and that of the group, please take this list seriously and come in good condition. If you have any questions about choosing your gear, feel free to call and ask for advice.
1. Technical Equipment
• Leather or plastic mountaineering boots* (Plastic boots are recommended, leather
boots can be used if warm enough and designed for waterfall ice climbing)
• Climbing helmet**
• Two technical ice tools with leashes**
• Technical Crampons suited for front pointing that fit your boots or can be easily
• 1 Climbing Harness, big enough to fit over bulky clothing**
• 1 Belay Device (ATC, Reverso…..)**
• 2 Locking Carabiners**
• Backpack (large enough for spare clothes, lunch, flask and gear)
All items marked ‘*’ can be rented from a rental shop locally.
All items marked ‘**’ can be provided by OnTop.
Please bring your own equipment if you have it.
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 (Schoeller or similar fabric)
• Down jacket or vest (optional for belaying)
• Fleece or heavy jacket
• 2nd layer: Medium weight fleece sweater
• 2nd layer: Very light fleece pants or expedition weight long underwear
• Long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Undershirt – preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Warm socks for mountaineering boots (wool/synthetic outers)
• Lighter socks (thin liner for mountaineering boots)
• Warm hat, covering your ears and fitting under helmet
• Lightweight gloves (fleece)
• Warm, waterproof pair of gloves, preferable two pairs
• Gaiters (preferably knee length)
• Neck tube (optional)
3. Other Items
• Sun glasses with high quality UV protection
• Sun screen and lip protection
• Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter
• Thermos (optional) – hot tea, cocoa or soup
• Head lamp with spare batteries and bulb for long climbs that require early starts
• Blister kit (optional)
• Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.) High energy food is needed!
• Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance
equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses, etc.)
• Pocket knife or leatherman (optional)
• Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
• Camera, spare films, batteries (optional)
• Compass, maps and GPS optional
Ice Climbing Private Guide
- All Levels
- Optimal Flexibility
Ice Climbing Private Guide
Custom Waterfall Ice Guiding
Anytime November – May
See our Ice Climbing Course Pages
Ice Climbing Private Guide
1 person: CA $490
2 people: CA $580
3 people: CA $620
4 people: CA $680
5 people: CA $740
All prices + 5% GST
On request, we can quote you in your preferred currency
Additional are guide driving expenses (unless guests can provide transport to the ice climbing location), rental of technical equipment if necessary.
Above rates as for average ice climbing days to grade WI 4 and lasting 9 hours or less door to door from Canmore or Banff. Premiums apply for longer trips or more difficult climbs.