3-Day Alpine Skills

As low as:

$640.00 / person

(at 6:1 ratio)


Mountaineering Kit Rental $45.00

Ice Axe, Crampons, Helmet, Harness, 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. Once purchased - our rentals are non-refundable.

Crampons only - Rental $15.00

Mountaineering Helmet only - Rental $10.00

Harness only - Rental $10.00

Carabiners, Belay/Rappel Device, Sling, and Cord Kit only - Rental $10.00

Ice Axe only - Rental $10.00

IAG Cancellation Coverage $33.00

As per our Cancellation Policy, your trip or course is 100% non-refundable after 30 days prior to the trip/course start date. Purchasing this addon will allow you to cancel your trip/course within that 30 day time period for reasons of injury, illness or family emergency, and will provide you with a credit for the full value of your trip/course fee which can be be used on any Island Alpine Guides or Hike Vancouver Island trip or course or trip for up to one year from the start date of the trip/course originally booked.


Over an action-packed three days, learn to manage risk on steep snow slopes and glaciers. The skills gained on this course open up a wide range of possible ascents in the Island alps and beyond. On the last day, we’ll put everything together to explore a nearby peak

This is an abbreviated version on our Combined Alpine Skills course. This course takes place at Mount Cain from May to June, unless stated otherwise.

During the summer (once the snow has melted at Mount Cain), we offer our 3- Day Alpine Skills and Combined Alpine Skills course via heli-access: https://www.islandalpineguides.com/trips/27!


  • Snow step and ice axe technique
  • Self-arrest
  • Snow anchors
  • Roped glacier travel
  • Crevasse rescue
  • End roping and short roping
  • Route selection
  • And more if time allows

Included in the price

  • 3-days of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price

  • Transportation to and from the meeting point
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment
  • Personal technical gear (available as add on, see Gear List tab)

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


To allow quick and efficient access to excellent alpine terrain, we will use the base area at Mount Cain as our base camp for this three-day course. 

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.


A typical day starts at 09:00 and ends around 17:00. Day one and two will be devoted to practicing and learning the assigned curriculum. On day three we’ll put everything together to explore a nearby peak. 

The order of curriculum delivery will entirely depend on factors such as weather, course location, students abilities and wishes 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. 


This is an entry level course but participants are expected to have logged some time hiking or scrambling in the mountains prior to registering. To participate safely and/or get the most out of this course, you are expected to:

  • Have hiking experience 
  • Have taken Intro to Rock 102 or have equivalent experience (preferred but not essential, see pre-course homework below)
  • 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

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

Available as a “Mountaineering Kit” rental add on ($45) or as individual rentals when you book.

  • Helmet – UIAA approved and adjustable
  • 4x 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, 1 x 1.5m length
  • Double shoulder length (120cm) sewn sling – should be rated to 22kn
  • Crampons – simple, 10-point general mountaineering crampon (either step-in or strap- on are fine depending on your boots)
  • Ice axe – general mountaineering tool, 50-80cm depending on your height

  • Long underwear (top and bottom) — wool or polypropylene
  • 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 

If possible, mountaineering boots should not be brand new. It is highly advised that participants have hiked a bit with their boots before and know where/how the boot might fit - and on which places on the foot it is recommended to put tape (in case some blisters form). Even with the seemingly best fitting boot it can happen that when they are new, blisters form, which can highly distract and hurt.

  • 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 polypropylene


This is car camping, so participants are encouraged to bring a few luxuries. Groups who book together may choose to share tents, food, and cooking equipment. 

  • Tent - 3 season or car camping (pulling trailers up Mount Cain is ill advised year round)
  • 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 - 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches (pre-prepared and easy to consume on the go), 2 dinners, 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 for the duration of the trip.


  • 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
  • Head-lamp with spare batteries 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper and sanitizer
  • Pocket knife
  • Small personal first aid kit (blister supplies, bandaids, personal meds)
  • Camera (optional) and charger
  • Foot and Hand Warmers (optional)
  • Reading material (optional)
  • Feminine hygiene supplies (if needed) 
  • Spare prescription glasses (a good idea as back-up for contact lenses) 


  • 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 $45 ($15/ day). 
Questions? Send us an email or read our blog for advice on choosing appropriate gear. 


Great curriculum and course organization with the perfect amount of theory and practical skills training. Jan is an amazing instructor with a incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from. Martin Kluemper, Mount Cain
Thanks for the fun time, and special shout out to Helene for being such a great instructor! Anon. ,
We had an amazing climb. Can't recommend Chris enough, he's a terrific teacher and gave us excellent route beta for future objectives. Richard G. ,
I can't wait to get out again! It was an incredible course and I am so glad to have taken it, definitely ignited something. Anna Clark, Victoria, BC.
Thank you for a great weekend, and a great introduction to mountaineering. I learned some essential skills, and gained a much better understanding of my own comfort zone and how to expand it. I am really keen to get out there and do just that. I will be in touch with questions from time to time, and will certainly take another course with IAG. Thanks again. Daniel Sunter, Victoria, BC.
The course was fantastic. I learned quite a bit and am keen to get into the mountains more, particularly to try some more ice climbing. Lyle was a great guide, he has a good depth of knowledge and teaches it well. I look forward to taking more courses with IAG. Micheal Nesbitt, Comox, BC.
I took the 3 day Alpine Skills course with Lyle Fast on April 16th-18th. It was fantastic. Lyle was tremendously resourceful, knowledgable, and most importantly... safe. We all learned loads of information on a wide variety of subjects designed to keep us safe. I could not have asked for a better guide! Chris Dimoff, Victoria, BC.
Our instructor (Andrew) was awesome. Very knowledgeable and willing to repeat things as many times as needed. The course content was very flexible and the instructor was able to tailor them to our needs. Being able to setup tents under covered areas at Cain was a huge benefit and being able to conduct the ‘classroom’ learning in the garage was ideal. Rodney ,