Intro to Rock 102

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$425.00 / person

(at 6:1 ratio) Next Trip: Jul 6 - 7, 2024

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  • Jul 6 - 7, 2024
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    0 spots available. $425.00

    Course Location: Comox Lake Crags

  • Aug 10 - 11, 2024
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    6 spots available. $425.00

    Location: Comox Lake Crags


IAG Cancellation Coverage $22.00

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.


Start your outdoor climbing journey with an introduction to technical systems and movement on rock. Over two days, we’ll hone skills necessary to safely climb on top rope outdoors. By the end of the course, we’ll have you moving more confidently and safely over rock, with solid rope systems in place. 

The fundamental skills learned on this course are a prerequisite for many of our technical mountaineering courses and provide a solid base of knowledge which can be applied in a multitude of ways. For many, Intro to Rock is a stepping stone towards learning to lead or climbing in the mountains. 


  • Equipment overview (selection, use and care)
  • Basic movement skills on rock
  • Rope skills & management for top rope
  • Top rope anchor building using trees and bolts 
  • Rappelling from anchors
  • Introduction to removable anchors
  • Coaching, progress evaluation & feedback
  • Plenty of opportunity for supervised practice

Included in the price

  • 2 days of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear 
  • Personal technical gear (helmet, harness, etc.)

Not included in the price

  • Transportation to and from meeting point
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Clothing

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


Possible course locations include: 

  • Comox Lake Crags (Cumberland)
  • Flemming Beach (Esquimalt)
  • Quadra Island

Locations are noted below each trip date. 

If you would like to request a specific location and date prior to booking, please reach out. 

Please note that 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 suggest moving your course to a more suitable location. We encourage you to maintain some flexibility in your plans to allow for this.

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 instructor and other factors such as weather, but below is a general idea of what to expect:

Day 1 

09:00 – Meet at the location specified in your pre-trip email (sent one week prior). The instructor will facilitate introductions and hand out any rental items. 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 at the base of the crags for the day, beginning with an equipment overview and progressing through curriculum at a pace that works for your group, and finishing around 17:00.

Day 2 

09:00 – Meet at the location specified by your instructor the day before. On day two, we typically introduce removable anchors and continue with supervised practice and movement coaching.

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 before your course.

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


This is a beginner-level course, and no previous experience is necessary to partake. That said, please be prepared to:

  • Spend two days outside in variable conditions (our courses run rain or shine)
  • Hike short distances along uneven terrain

Pre-course homework:

You may wish to 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 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 bring the following items, and reach out if you have any questions. Your instructor will provide all group gear (or “the rack” -- ropes, slings, carabiners, etc.). 

Technical Gear

If you require any of the items on the technical gear list, please email us to request it (along with any sizing requirements such as shoe size).

  • Harness 
  • Helmet 
  • Belay device & locking carabiner 
  • Climbing shoes 


  • 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 
  • Chalk bag (optional) 
  • Heat packs for chalk bag (optional) 

If you own any additional equipment, you are encouraged to bring it along so that you can learn more about the gear you already own, but it is not necessary. 

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


I can't say enough great things about the Intro to Rock course. It was one of the funnest adventures I've had on the island. The location was stunning. We had the perfect amount of instruction and practice at the start. As a beginner, I felt a bit intimidated but that was soon gone – Jan is amazing at sharing his experience and knowledge. My favourite part was the climbing. We had so much opportunity to do anchoring, belaying, rappelling and ascents and it was totally safe, and totally rad! Learning by doing was the only option in this course, which made the course so engaging and useful. You're not sitting around watching the instructor do everything! My loaner shoes were awesome, and the equipment was really good. If you want to get out for a great climb on our beautiful island and learn a ton, please do not hesitate to take this course. It was 100% worth it. Melanie Adams, Victoria, BC.
I recently went through the Intro to rock course and then did the Long weekend mountain skills course with Jan from Island Alpine Guides. What can I say? Both were excellent! Jan is a great mentor and has a ton of experience. I have since put many of the skills that I learned to use on a week long hiking trip in Strathcona Park. Doing these courses with Jan has certainly taken my hiking skills "up a notch". I plan on doing more courses with I.A.G in the future. Russ Henry, Nanaimo, BC.
Thanks so much for a great weekend. I learned a lot and feel very confident and look forward to climbing again soon. Taking the course was a great idea. Had a wonderful time! Renee Blouin, Quadra Island, BC.
My Grandson had an incredibly positive experience because of the knowledgeable, experienced and supportive instructor. Michael Walton, Cumberland, B.C.
The two days were great! Learned a ton from [our guide] Graeme; he was incredibly patient and very supportive. You run a great experience for newer climbers! Lorrie Brooks, Victoria, BC
I thought your Intro To Rock course with Graeme was excellent. Graeme was extremely professional and taught the course at just the right pace for our group as we had all had a little bit of experience climbing but were looking for a refresher and some professional guidance. Graeme definitely planted the climbing bug in me I hope to take your Learn to Lead course soon! Grayson Kerr, Victoria, B.C.
I had a great time at the course. I am sure everybody really enjoyed themselves as well. We're planning to go out next week to practice our skills. With the skills we gained and the little we already had, I feel confident that we can go out and safely enjoy ourselves. Graeme's casual professionalism made the course very enjoyable and safe. I would not hesitate to take another course led by him or put on by Island Alpine Guides. I look forward to the opportunity to take my next course, probably mountain skills. Paul Spencer, Victoria, B.C.
The Intro to Rock course was wonderful, as I expected. Lyle was such a great instructor; his calm, professional demeanor made it easy for us to feel comfortable trying out all the new skills we were learning. I loved the combination of taught sections and hands-on experience that the course offered, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become confident and well-prepared to begin top roping outdoors. This was a perfect start to the season! Easha Acharya, Nanaimo, B.C.
It was such a great weekend. I am surprised at the amount of learning and climbing we were able to do within two days. I am happy to report that I seem to have retained the information and feel confident on the rock. A valuable introduction to rock climbing! Lisa Jackson, Cumberland, B.C.
We had a fantastic time. Graeme taught us so much and made us feel comfortable enough to go out again this weekend and bring our son. We appreciate all the advice on gear too. I will keep trying to trust my foot holds! Steve hopes to beat that crack! This was a Fathers Day present for Steve and it looks like the gift will be enjoyed all summer and for years to come. Jen & Steve, Victoria, B.C.
Jan was a great instructor and guide! We had an introduction to outdoor climbing and anchor building and he tailored our day of private instruction to exactly what we wanted and where we wanted to climb; in this case, Quadra Island. Coming with no previous knowledge of outdoor climbing, I found it to be the perfect balance of theory and climbing. I'm very confident with the skills I have now to go outdoors and top rope with just the one-day course. I am definitely booking again for lead and other outdoor courses with Island Alpine Guides! Dana & Grant, Parksville
Great experience and [our guide] Ken was magic! Really good group and Ken brought out the best in us. We were all stoked after two days of climbing, belaying, and rappelling. Best ever and I intend on taking more courses. Thank you very much for opening up a new world of adventures. Richard Williams, Victoria, BC
Had a great time and learned a lot. Graeme did a great job and was extremely knowledgeable and professional, and the other participants were good fun. Raphael Zar, Nanoose Bay, BC
We had a great time, and Mark was an exceptional instructor. He definitely covered things that were worth hearing again and added a whole lot more to the information load. Best of all, is he always explained WHY we do something, which was a real game changer. We confidently applied our skills the next morning without concern. We look forward to taking our skills to the next level and returning to IAG for another course soon! Laska Paré, Victoria, BC
This weekend was an incredible experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was the programming great, but Ken [our guide] was an absolutely fantastic instructor and guide. It was one of the finest experiences I have had and with his help was able to push past many mental blocks I had during climbs. I was shocked by what I was able to accomplish with him stewarding. By the end of the weekend, I had the sublime experience of being physically exhausted from the activities but totally energized mentally. Ken's unique blend of experience, teaching and philosophical approach to life, risk, and experience cannot be overstated. Jonathan Horvatin, Victoria, BC
The lesson was awesome. Graham [our guide] is so patient and explains everything in a logical fashion. You can see that safety is his first concern and I felt safe the entire time. I will watch for your other courses as I would certainly consider other opportunities. Kathy, Victoria, BC
I was thrilled with my whole experience with Island Alpine Guides. Easy registration process, clear instructions to prep for the weekend, timely response to questions before the course, and an incredible alpine experience (helped by perfect conditions). Our amazing guide Jen was epically skilled, professional, a good communicator and an amazing teacher. I would recommend IAG in a heartbeat!!!!!! Amy P, Quadra, BC
We had such a great time. Prior to this we had been climbing in the gym but now feel this course has given us the base knowledge to get out there and start climbing outside on our own. We actually picked up our first rope and equipment yesterday! I’d also like to mention how amazing Helene is. The whole course went smoothly. She has so much knowledge and passion for what she does and it really shows. Very detail and safety oriented and straight to the point. But also very encouraging and uplifting. It was super cool to learn from someone with such an incredible background and gain knowledge through her stories and experiences. She’s an inspiring woman. Needless to say, we’ll be back in the near future! Jess R.,
Perfect introduction to top rope and rappelling. This course was exactly what I wanted and even a bit more because we had time and our group was small. Loved going to two different locations to get a feel for setting anchors up in different places. Awesome. Super informative, since our group was small, we were able to do so much! Graeme was extremely knowledgeable and easy to talk to, I really appreciated his patience and his knowledge. He was very thorough, and his explanations were easy to understand. I feel that I am very well equipped to go off and do this myself now. Just wow! Thank you for a great weekend. Elise Coates, Victoria, B.C.
It was amazing. Rock Climbing/Mountaineering was something I said I'd never do. Though, I changed my mind quickly one day on Triple Peak - I really needed a starting point. I decided I had to start certain steps to get myself there. This was one of those steps and I couldn't be more happy with the knowledge that I took from this course and the confidence it's given me. Still lots to practice, seeing how all the knots come into play. It's been two days since the course and I've practiced each day since. I really liked how at the beginning Jan asked us "what we were looking for" out of the course and was able to pin point everyone's needs and meet them. There was never a second of hesitation when it came to a question, he always paused and took time to answer the question completely. Each part of the system was taught well and I feel very confident leaving the course on setting up my own anchors and putting everything I learned into play. Kelsey,
AMAZING. Learned so much, and had such a great time that I went and purchased all the necessary safety gear to go back out the next weekend. Graeme was an amazing instructor. Very thorough and taught in a way that was easy to understand and mimic. Very patient with all of our questions too! He gave us time and space to try things out for ourselves but was also very quick to notice errors even when you didn't know he was watching. Tiffany, Victoria, B.C.
It was awesome!! We all learned so much and our comfort level increased dramatically even by the end of the first day. So worth it, would highly recommend it! Graeme was great; really calm and a really good teacher. Tracy F.,
Jordan is an excellent guide and instructor. He is a wealth of knowledge and was able to get everyone climbing to their ability and give everyone the guidance they need. I appreciated it being a 2 day course. There was a lot of information and it was good to come back after a sleep and see and try everything again and then add on. I also really liked that we all felt like a team. I was mainly there because I am my son's belayer. Climbing is his passion. I liked that I was encouraged to try things but never felt bad when I couldn’t get as high as everyone else. The course gave me lots more confidence and I am looking forward to getting back to the crag and practicing this week. Thanks for a great course. Tara , Victoria, B.C.