Women's Mountain Skills Fly-In

As low as:

$1,150.00 / person

(at 5:1 ratio)
  • STRENUOUSNESS
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  • TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY
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Add-ons

Mountaineering Kit Rental $45.00

Ice Axe, Crampons, Helmet, Carabiners, Cords and Sling. All these items are required to participate in the course. See the precise technical gear requirements in the 'Gear List' tab within this course information webpage. We rent complete kits only, not individual items. Once purchased - our rentals are non-refundable.

About 


Gain access by helicopter to remote alpine terrain and the best outdoor classroom around on this special mountain skills course for women. Atmospheric views and a quick approach to snow, rock, and ice all summer long make this three-day course one of our most popular offerings. The skills learned on this course will allow you to safely tackle glaciated and snow-covered peaks and traverses. Some alpine rock skills may also be covered depending on conditions and how the group moves through the curriculum. For thorough training in alpine rock we recommend participants seek out additional training through our Alpine Rock Skills course.

All self-identifying womxn are welcome. 

Sample Curriculum *content may vary depending on the instructor and/or weather conditions. 
 
  • Considerations for snow travel 
  • Snow step and ice axe technique 
  • Self-arrest 
  • Snow anchors 
  • Improvised belays
  • End roping and short roping
  • Roped glacier travel 
  • Crevasse rescue 
  • Route selection
  • Understanding mountain hazards 
  • Time for supervised practice
  • Student led climbing of a peak

Included in the price

  • 3 days of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Return helicopter flights
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price

  • Transportation to and from meeting point
  • Food
  • Personal gear
  • Personal technical equipment (harness, helmet, ice axe, crampons, etc. – available as an “Mountaineering Kit” add on)*

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

Location


This course is delivered in an alpine setting surrounding Matchlee Mountain. We gain access to this area by helicopter, leaving from the 49 North Helicopter Base in Gold River. 

Here are some details to consider when planning for this trip: 

  • There is limited cell coverage between Campbell River and Gold River.
  • Our tent base camp is a short walk from our helicopter landing pad, training area and is close to a tarn to allow easy water access
  • You may bring some luxuries, but please keep your luggage under 18kg/40lbs. Everything should also be packed in such a way that you could carry it downhill a significant distance in the rare instance that weather precludes the helicopter picking us up where it dropped us off. 
  • Since this is an alpine setting, we will be packing out all waste. A bucket toilet will be provided by IAG for this purpose. 
  • If you are looking to camp in the area before or after the trip, there are two pay campsites near Gold River, or there is a free camping location just outside Strathcona Park a few kilometres from Gold River here. 
  • Bears have not been an issue in this area in the past, and there are no trees large enough to hang a bear cache. Students typically stash their food in a waterproof stuff sack away from their tents or you could consider a purpose built canister.

These courses typically run June–September when conditions are more likely to be optimal for teaching the curriculum effectively. 

Itinerary


A typical day starts at 08:30 and ends around 16:30. On the first two days of the course, we’ll cover and practice the basics of mountaineering on slopes a short walk from our base camp. On day three, we’ll put it all together to climb a peak. 
The order of curriculum delivery will depend on the instructor and other factors such as weather and conditions.
 
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. If you are considering taking this course, you will ideally have:

  • Experience hiking in the mountains
  • Taken Intro to Rock or have equivalent experience (recommended but not required)
  • The ability to hike 400-500 m of elevation under a 20 lbs load
  • The capacity to travel on foot for up to 6 hours

Pre-course homework:

Please practice these basic knots at home to maximize efficiency on the day: 

  • Figure 8 follow-through 
  • Figure 8 on a bight 
  • Overhand 
  • Double overhand 
  • Double fisherman’s 
  • Clove hitch 
  • Prussik 
  • Munter or Italian 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 range from -5°C at night to the 20s during the day. 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 ($45) when you book.

  • Helmet – UIAA approved and adjustable
  • Crampons – simple, ten 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
  • 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 

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 
  • Warm toque — for cooler evenings 
  • 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
  • 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 
  • 2 x warm socks — wool or synthetic blend 
  • 2 x sock liners (optional) — silk or poly pro 

Camping

Groups who book together may choose to share tents, food, and cooking equipment.

  • Sleeping bag — the warmth of your sleeping bag will depend on how you sleep (hot or cold) and the conditions at the time of your course, but at a minimum please bring something warm to at least -5
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent – 3-season
  • Stove, fuel canister (compatible with stove), and cooking pot – available as an add on 
  • Eating vessels and utensils of choice 
  • Food — 2 breakfasts, 3 ready-made lunches (easily consumable on the go), 2 dinners, enough snacks to suit your individual needs. For tasty, nutritous and locally pre-made meals check out https://wildedgeketo.com/.

Packs
  • 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
  • 60L+ pack — something large enough to fit the items on this list 

Other

  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with 100% UV block
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper and ziplock
  • 2 x 1 litre water bottles
  • Water purification system — filter, tablets or drops 
  • Pocket knife
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Small first aid kit (optional) 
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Reading material (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Feminine hygiene supplies (if needed) 
  • Spare prescription glasses (if needed) 

Rentals


  • Mountaineering Kit: includes all items listed under "technical gear" and available for $45 ($15/day) as a rental add-on . These can be purchased when you book or requested later as an add on. 
  • Mountaineering Boots: If you require other from the personal gear list such as mountaineering boots, you can check out Sports Rent based out of Victoria.

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

Testimonials

My trip was amazing and an unforgettable experience. Helene taught us all so much, and we all left feeling much more confident in ourselves, and excited to use our newly learned skills! Melissa Annandale, Mount Matchlee
This course was absolutely amazing! I learned so much and feel suddenly feel much more confident in alpine environments. The learning was not limited to the specific skills such as crevasse rescue, every day the journey to a new snow field to learn skills was a learning opportunity as well. We learned about route finding and even how to best negotiate different types of ground such as shale slopes, granite, moss covered areas etc. Helene was absolutely amazing! She taught us more than just skills. We joked that she was part mountain guide part counsellor as she helped us move through our emotional and intellectual barriers. She helped us think about things differently and shared her very zen way of thinking and living in the mountains. She was kind, clear, fun to be around and most of all has incredible skill as a guide. She picked up on our body language and always knew just how to support us. There were aspects of our final climb I would’ve never been able to do without her guidance. It was a life changing experience for me. Julia, Mount Matchlee
Jen was a great guide - super friendly, really knowledgeable. I appreciated all the efforts that went into planning the weekend. I had a ton of fun and learned so much. Danielle Down, Nanaimo, BC
Your guide, Jen Olson, is a gem. Her calm confidence and ability to take charge made all of us feel safe in a terrain that was quasi unknown to us. Not only is her skill set insanely broad but most importantly, Jen is capable to teach those skills with such ease. She is captivating and so passionate that one can’t help but love mountaineering when next to her. I wouldn’t hesitate to take another course if I knew she was teaching. Genevieve Renart, Victoria, BC
This was an excellent course, all around. Jan was such an incredible teacher and our group of women had a ton of fun with him. He was hilarious, respectful, knowledgeable, and thoughtful in his interactions and teaching. It is very clear that he knows exactly what he's doing out in the mountains. I learned a lot about how to make smart decisions to keep myself safe while mountaineering, and it left me with a lot of excitement to continue learning more and getting back out on another trip soon. Michelle S. ,