ALPINE ROCK SKILLS

As low as:

$530.00 / person

(at 3:1 ratio) Next Trip: Aug 27 - 28, 2022
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  • Aug 27 - 28, 2022
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    0 spots available. $530.00

    Day 1 at Comox Lake Crags, Day 2 at Mount Cain

About


Travelling in the Island Alps, or any mountain range for that matter, inevitably involves managing fourth and low-to-mid fifth-class terrain. The pitching or end-roping techniques that we use at the crags are not appropriate in this terrain as they can increase risk from hazards such as rock fall and are simply too slow.

On this two-day course, we'll cover the techniques that you need to move efficiently in alpine rock terrain, while also covering route-finding skills, transitions from snow and ice to rock, and other techniques necessary in these environments. 

Curriculum

  • Short-pitching
  • Short-roping
  • Route finding skills
  • Transitions from snow and ice to rock
  • Improvised anchor building
  • Gear placement

Included in the price

  • 2 days of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price

  • Transportation to and from starting point
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Personal gear  
  • Personal technical equipment (available as a “Mountaineering Kit” add on)

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions.

Locations


Our standard course is delivered in two parts, and is arranged to allow the most efficient and effective delivery of course objectives. The first day is held at Comox Lake Crags, where we will go over the techniques which are covered more efficiently in this setting. The second day is typically delivered at Mount Cain, but Mount Arrowsmith is also an option by request. The day two location will be indicated on the booking tab, or can be requested. 

About Comox Lake Crags & Amenities

  • Located 5 km from Cumberland
  • Crags a short walk from the parking lot
  • Washroom facilities available

About Mount Cain & Amenities

  • Volunteer-run ski hill located 20 km from Woss
  • Washroom facilities available
  • No potable water (bring what you require)
  • Parking lot is used for car camping, so feel free to bring a few luxuries if camping (there may be other groups using this area, so please be respectful of others by keeping the noise to a minimum and packing out what you pack in)

If you enjoy using these facilities, you may consider donating or volunteering for this volunteer run operation. Learn more about Mount Cain here, and read driving directions to Mount Cain here.

Itinerary


A typical day starts at 09:00 and ends around 17:00. The order of curriculum delivery will entirely depend on factors such as weather, course location, students and the guide assigned to your course.  

Exact meeting details will be provided in a pre-trip email sent one-week prior to your course.

Questions? Check out our
FAQ page for details, or send us an email. 

Requirements


This is an intermediate level course, meaning participants are expected to have logged some time hiking or scrambling in the mountains prior to registering for this course. 

To participate safely and/or get the most out of this course, participants are expected to:

  • Have hiking/scrambling experience 
  • Have taken Intro to Rock (or equivalent experience) 
  • Be comfortable spending time outside in variable conditions
  • Travel uphill, covering up to 600 metres of vertical gain while carrying a load of approximately 20 lbs

Pre-course homework:

Please ensure you are comfortable with the following basic knots: 

  • Figure 8 follow-through 
  • Figure 8 on a bight 
  • Overhand 
  • Double overhand 
  • Double fisherman’s 
  • Clove hitch 
  • Prussik 
  • Munter hitch 

We recommend checking out the “Animated Knots” website for instructions. 

Questions about the suitability of this course? Send us an email. We’re happy to help you find or customize courses to suit your needs. 

Gear List


Temperatures encountered on this trip typically can range from -5°C at night to the 20s during the day, but will depend on the time of year your trip is held.  Ensure that all gear is functioning and in good repair, and please reach out with any questions. 
 
Technical

Available as a “Mountaineering Kit” rentaladd on ($30) when you book.

  • Helmet – UIAA approved and adjustable
  • 3x locking carabiners – at least one should be pear-shaped
  • 3x regular carabiners
  • Harness – a simple, lightweight alpine seat harness
  • Belay/rappel device
  • 7mm accessory cord – 2 x 5 metre lengths
  • Double shoulder length sewn sling – should be rated to 22kn

Depending on the time of year, you may also require the following technical gear (indicated in pre-trip email):  

  • Crampons – simple, 10-point general mountaineering crampon (either step-in or strap- on are fine depending on your boots)
  • Ice axe – general mountaineering tool, 60-80cm depending on your height
 
Clothing

  • Long underwear (top and bottom) — merino wool preferred, but poly pro will also suffice 
  • Mid-weight soft-shell jacket — down, wool, fleece or synthetic
  • Insulated jacket - down or synthetic
  • Waterproof shells (jacket and pants) — especially necessary for practicing self-arrests 
  • T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt – white cotton can be excellent for cooling and sun protection during the height of summer
  • Hiking pants – nylon or similar
  • Toque
  • 2x Gloves — one lightweight, one warmer

Footwear

  • Mountaineering boots — stiff, with a sharp cutting edge on the sole to effectively kick steps in snow
  • Gaiters — optional if pants stay over boots with elastic cuff 
  • Warm socks — wool or synthetic blend 
  • Sock liners (optional) — silk or poly pro 

Other 

  • 30L+ day pack (with waist belt) — big enough to carry your rain gear, fleece, water, lunch, and some of the group technical gear and ropes 
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with 100% UV block 
  • 2 x 1 litre water bottles
  • Camera (optional)
  • Lunch – prepared ahead of time and consumable on the go
  • Pocket knife
  • Head-lamp with spare batteries 
  • Small first aid kit (optional)

Camping

The items on the list below are only required if you intend to camp prior to day 2 at Cain). As this is car camping, participants are encouraged to bring a few luxuries. Groups who book together may choose to share tents, food, and cooking equipment. 

  • Tent - 3 season 
  • Sleeping bag —At a minimum please bring something warm to -5 (recommended warmth rating will depend on the conditions at the time of your course)
  • Sleeping pad 
  • Camp stove, fuel and pot 
  • Lighter 
  • Eating vessels and utensils 
  • Food - 1 breakfast, 2 lunches (pre-prepared and easy to consume on the go), 1 dinner, and whatever snacks you require. For tasty, nutritous and locally pre-made meals check out https://wildedgeketo.com/
  • Water Reservoir – there is no potable water at Mount Cain, so please bring whatever water you will require 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Reading material (optional)
  • Feminine hygiene supplies (if needed) 
  • Spare prescription glasses (if needed) 

Rentals


  • Technical Gear: All items on our technical gear list can be purchased as a “Mountaineering Kit” add on when you book. This includes items on technical gear list, and available for $30 ($15/ day). 
  • Mountaineering boots: If you require mountaineering boots or other items from our gear list, we recommend that you check out Sports Rent based out of Victoria: sportsrentbc.ca

Questions? Send us an email or read our blog for advice on choosing appropriate gear. 

Testimonials

"Thank you for organizing our alpine adventure, Simon, Adrian and I had an outstanding weekend on Mt. Cain with IAG. Lyle meshed perfectly with the attitude of our group and was able to spend a lot of time addressing our specific questions." Graeme Dowell, Victoria, BC
"The trip was amazing. Learned a ton of new skills and Lyle (our guide) was awesome. All-around good experience. I would definitely do another IAG course in the future." Simon Mountjoy, Victoria, BC
An excellent introduction to moving efficiently in the alpine, focusing on practical skills and decision making. For those looking to move from hiking/scrambling/sport climbing to mountaineering, this is the course. Lyle, our guide, was a wealth of knowledge and experience. Don St-Hilaire, Courtenay, BC