Glacier Travel Course Information Package

Welcome to our Glacier Travel course! I am really looking forward to the course and hope you are too. 

Please read this information package carefully and let me know if you have any questions. There is an equipment list at the end.

YOU NEED TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

  • Click here and fill out the guest information form. It will take a couple of minutes. You will need your health insurance information.
  • Click here to read and understand the guide waiver. You will need to sign this waiver at the beginning of the trip. It is important that you understand it before you arrive. 
  • Have a look at the gear list at the end of this information package and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.
  • Let me know if you need me to provide any equipment for you.

Important Dates and Times

Day 1, 9.00 AM: Meet at the Columbia Icefields campground. We will sign waivers, check gear and then head up to a crevasse rescue practice site. Be prepared to spend all day outside.

Day 2, 5.00 PM: You can expect to be finished the day and heading back home from the Columbia Icefields between 4 and 5 PM. 

Course Itinerary

Day 1:

  • Drive to the Columbia Icefields Campground and pay for campsites ($15.70 per site)
  • Session: review and use of equipment and clothing
  • Head to field site at Parker's Ridge (5 minute drive and half an hour walk)
  • Session: walking on snow and ice using crampons and ice axe
  • Session: self arrest
  • Session: roping up for the glacier
  • Session: crevasse rescue practice

Day 2: Glacier travel day on the North Glacier of Mt Athabasca

  • Travel techniques on the glacier
  • Route finding
  • Review of techniques presented on the first day

Possible Itinerary Changes

There is always the possibility of having to change this itinerary due to weather or conditions. Please be flexible in your expectations.

Risk and Safety in the Field

  • Safety is our first priority but it is important to understand that no matter how well prepared we are there is still an element of risk to mountaineering activities. 
  • You will need to sign a waiver that will make you well aware of that risk.
  • It is important to listen to the instructor's directions and if you are uncertain of what is expected of you please ask. 
  • If you have any safety concerns while in the field please make them known to the instructor.
  • We will be able to communicate to outside rescue agencies with a radios and a SPOT device.

Mountain Rescue

I  nearly thirty years of guiding I have only had two guest evacuations from the field for minor injuries and one for a medical condition. The probability that we will need a rescue are low.

This trip is in Jasper National Park where mountain rescue is provided free of charge if you have a valid vehicle permit. It is your responsibility to ensure you have this vehicle permit - it acts as your rescue insurance. 

Medical Issues

If you have any pertinent medical issues that I should know about, please make sure you include that when you fill in the guest information form.

Staff

Instructor: Mark Klassen. I am an ACMG/IFMGA certified Mountain Guide with 30 years experience. Click here for more info about me.

Remember, YOU NEED TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

  • Click here and fill out the guest information form. It will take a couple of minutes. You will need your health insurance information.
  • Click here to read and understand the guide waiver. You will need to sign this waiver at the beginning of the trip. It is important that you understand it before you arrive. 
  • Have a look at the gear list at the end of this information package and make sure you are able to bring everything on the list.
  • Let me know if you need me to provide any equipment for you.

Questions?

Email me

Equipment

  • You need to have everything on the list below! 
  • Having the proper equipment is essential for a safe and enjoyable trip! 
  • All gear and clothing needs to be in good condition and if new you must ensure that it fits well.
  • Any soft safety gear (harnesses, slings, prussiks) older than 10 years should be replaced.
  • Any hard safety gear (helmets, ice axes, crampons, carabiners) must be inspected for cracks and wear; replace it if it is worn. 
  • If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • I can provide safety gear such as helmet, harness, ice axe, crampons, carabiners and slings. Let me know as soon as possible if you need any of this.

Common Equipment Problems

  • Inadequate clothing. Make sure you have synthetic or wool insulating layers (no cotton) and waterproof rain wear.
  • Boot problems. Ill-fitting boots may give you blisters, make sure your boots are fitted and broken in properly.

CLIMBING GEAR


BOOTS

  • A light mountaineering boot is appropriate for this course. Examples:
    • La Sportiva Trango S Evo
    • Scarpa Charmoz
  • A heavier duty mountaineering boot will work as well. Examples:
    • La Sportiva Nepal
    • Scarpa Rebel
    • Scarpa Mont Blanc
  • A heavy hiking boot that is waterproof and has good ankle support is also reasonable to use on this course. Examples (available at MEC):
    • Zamberlan Vioz backpacking boot
    • Scarpa SL backpacking boot

CRAMPONS

  • A pair of 12-point crampons are required. These need to fit your boot well – when fitted properly they will stick to your boot without the straps or bindings. Examples:
    • Petzl Vasak
    • Black Diamond Sabretooth 
  • I can provide crampons if required.

ICE AXE

  • Ice axe, minimum length 55 cm (technical ice climbing tools are not appropriate)
  • I can supply an ice axe if required

HELMET

  • Bring a helmet designed for climbing
  • Your helmet needs to be free of damage
  • I can supply a helmet if required

HARNESS

  • A sit harness with a belay loop is required
  • Your harness needs to be free of damage and excessive wear and less than 10 years old
  • I can supply a harness if required

CREVASSE RESCUE KIT 

I can supply these if you need

  • 3 locking carabiners
  • 3 non-locking carabiners
  • Two 5m lengths of 7mm prussic cord
  • One 120 cm sewn sling
  • Optional: pulley, micro-traction, tibloc etc

BELAY/RAPPEL DEVICE & LOCKING CARABINER

  • Any tube-type device is fine. One with "auto block" capability is recommended
  • I can supply a belay/rappel device if required

Camping gear

  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp stove, eating utensils etc

Food

  • 2 lunches, 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
  • You may consider sharing cooking with other participants

CLOTHING SYSTEMS


SOCKS, UNDERWEAR AND T-SHIRTS

  • Bring one or two of each. Synthetic only, no cotton.

LONG UNDERWEAR TOP AND BOTTOMS

  • I like a zip-t neck for my long sleeved top. I use lightweight long-johns in colder weather and a medium weight top. Synthetic only, no cotton.

CLIMBING PANTS

  • A Schoeller type soft shell fabric is highly recommended. 

SOFTSHELL JACKET

  • I like a hooded jacket, but it is not absolutely necessary. I avoid heavy fleece garments, as they are not wind-resistant and too warm for many activities. Rather, in cold conditions I will bring two thinner layers: a lightweight softshell and a second lightweight softshell or fleece. 

INSULATED JACKET

  • I prefer a synthetic jacket that is lightweight, warm, and compressible. If you don’t bring one of these there is a good chance you will get cold! Down jackets are also appropriate but don't do as well in damp weather.

GORE-TEX JACKET AND PANTS

  • A hooded waterproof jacket and rain-proof pants are required. I prefer the lightweight Gore-tex such as Paclite or Proshell.  

HATS

  • A warm toque
  • A sun hat (I prefer a Gilligan type hat)
  • A balaclava for stormy weather and a lightweight toque for use while walking uphill are recommended

GLOVES

  • Warm ski-type gloves
  • A lightweight pair of gloves should also be brought for warm conditions

GAITERS

  • Close-fitting gaiters are required so your crampons don’t snag them as easily. The shorter type gaiters seem to work well even in deeper snow conditions. 

BACKPACK

  • 30-40 L capacity pack

SUNGLASSES, SUNSCREEN, LIP PROTECTION

  • At the very minimum a 30 SPF sunscreen and lip protection is required. Full sunblock for your lips is recommended. 
  • Sunglasses with wrap-around coverage and dark lenses are required.

SMALL FIRST AID AND REPAIR KIT

  • I’ll have a major first aid and repair kit but you should bring some band-aids, blister protection (include blister pads and duct tape), headache pills, head cold/antihistamine medication, cough drops, rash cream, pocket knife.

WATER BOTTLE AND/OR THERMOS

  • I usually carry about 1.5 - 2 L of liquids

EXTENDABLE WALKING POLE

  • This should be able to collapse small enough to fit into your pack. I may have extras you can use.

HEADLAMP

  • Bring extra batteries. 

PERSONAL TOILET KIT

  • Include toilet paper, and a baggie for used paper
  • Hand sanitizer is required
  • Ear plugs (for sleeping) and wet wipes are recommended

CAMERA

  • Bring extra batteries if necessary.

I’LL PROVIDE…

  • Communications device (radio)
  • GPS, map and compass
  • First aid and repair kit
  • Emergency shelter and evacuation kit
  • Group climbing gear (rope etc)
  • An emergency communication device you will carry (SPOT device)