Mountain Improv

As low as:

$210.00 / person

(at 4:1 ratio)


Moving through the mountains inevitably requires us to think on our feet and expect the unexpected. On this one-day course, we will cover the techniques and considerations to manage tricky bits of technical terrain so often found even on “hiking” trips in the  island alps. This course is well suited to those people who have done some mountain travel and have found themselves in terrain where a quick anchor or a rappel might be needed to get through the terrain.


  • Principles of anchor building 
  • Improvised anchors using trees, boulders, jammed knots, threads, etc. 
  • Rappelling safety in alpine environs (back-up methods and techniques)
  • Alpine rope considerations
  • Lightweight gear discussion 
  • Developing your island-based “mini rack”

Included in the price:

  • 1 day of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price:

  • Transport to and from meeting point
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment

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


Courses typically take place at Comox (Cumberland) Lake Crags, but Crest Creek Crags or Quadra Island are also options. If you would like to request a specific location prior to booking, please reach out. 

Locations will be noted on the booking tab with the corresponding date. 
Note: certain crags may be more suitable depending on the weather and time of year – if weather dictates that the course will be delivered more optimally elsewhere, we may provide the option of moving your course to a more suitable location. We encourage you to maintain some flexibility in your plans to allow this possibility. If this is not possible for you, please let us know. 
Exact meeting details will be provided in a pre-trip email sent one week before your course.


A typical day starts at 09:00 and ends around 17:00. 

Curriculum delivery will depend on the students, the instructor and other factors such as weather and conditions, but below is a general idea of what to expect:

09:00 – Meet at the location specified in your pre-trip email. The instructor will facilitate introductions and hand out any rental items that were purchased as add-ons. You will then sign waivers (please note that anyone under 19 needs to have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian and sent in prior to the course).

The crags are usually a short hike from the parking lot. You will set up here for the day, progressing through the curriculum at a pace that works for your group. 

17:00 – Debrief to complete the course and return any rental equipment. 

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. 


This is an intermediate-level course. Prior to registering, participants should:

  • Have some hiking/backpacking experience
  • Know or learn some basic knots and hitches in advance

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
  • Water or Tape knot
  • Bowline

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 

Your instructor will provide all group gear (or “the rack” -- ropes, slings, carabiners, etc.). Please bring the following, and reach out if you have any questions:
Technical Gear:

If you require any of the items on the technical gear list, please email us to request it.

  • Harness 
  • Helmet 
  • Belay device & locking carabiner
  • Whatever footwear you normally wear in the mountains
  • Any climbing/rappelling/Anchoring gear that you own


  • T-shirt or long-sleeve (ideally loose-fitting)
  • Pants (ideally loose-fitting, tapered at the ankle) 
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants) 
  • Mid-weight insulating jacket 
  • Approach shoes (something that will provide some support on trails to the climb)
  • Toque and/or sun hat 


  • Sunglasses that block 100% UV 
  • Sunscreen 
  • SPF lip balm 
  • Lunch (pre-prepared) and snacks 
  • Water bottle 
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended) 
  • 30L backpack 

If you own any additional equipment, we encourage you to bring it along so that you can learn more about the gear you already own.

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


We had a wonderful day and came away with some great tools in the tool box. Jan was a wonderful instructor sharing his knowledge, patience and good humour. Now to put things into practice and conquer the fear! Laura King, Campbell River, BC
This was such an awesome day. I went in looking to get an additional skill set to assist in backcountry hiking, specifically alpine hiking, where my fear of heights usually causes me to back away (literally and figuratively!) from a lot of experiences. The fact that I was able to end the course rappelling over the crag was huge, and this was entirely due to the teaching ability and patience of Jan and his calm instruction, and the supportive group of people I was with. Wendy Langelo, Crofton, BC
Had a great time and learned a ton on yesterday's Mountain Improv course with Ken Wylie. A great "next level" in skills for those who travel and lead others in the mountains. As always, IAG exceeded my expectations. Bil Derby, Nanaimo, BC