First Summits 2018

Take yourself to new heights: whether they’re the first summits of your mountaineering career or the first summits of your season, come join us on the Wapta Icefield for four days of glacier mountaineering.

Photo by Peter Amann.

This hut-based camp is designed for members with no or limited mountaineering experience, or for members who want to shake off the winter cobwebs with a refresher course covering the basics. We cover the basics of glacier travel, and then put your new skills to work on the many peaks surrounding the Bow Hut. Possible objectives on this course include peaks like St. Nicholas, Olive, Gordon, Rhondda, Thompson, Portal and The Onion. Skills covered include the basics of roped glacier travel, crevasse rescue on a large rope team and holding a fall, how to self-arrest with a mountaineering axe, and walking with crampons. You’ll also talk about glacier morphology and how to choose the best line, and potentially have the chance to try some easy scrambling on the way to the summit. This year, we’ve improved the guide to client ratio and added an apprentice guide. This will let participants get more individualized attention, and make sure that you’ll come away with useful tips and tricks wherever your skills are at. We’ve also added two more dates to get as many people out into the mountains as possible! The First Summits camp is an annual favourite with our members, and fills up early each year. Sign up now to avoid missing out!

Photo by Peter Amann.

If you're looking for a place to stay before and after this camp, the ACC welcomes all participants to join them at the Clubhouse. We’re located just outside of Canmore with breath taking views of the surrounding mountains and a cozy kitchen and common area. You can reach us most hours at 1 (403) 678-3200.

Level of Difficulty: Introductory

This camp is designed for those with little or no previous climbing or mountaineering experience and will help you get started and build your confidence. However, you must have a good level of fitness and be able to carry up to a 16 – 18kg (35 – 40lb) pack for several hours.


  • June 29th - July 3rd, 2018
  • July 4th - 8th, 2018
  • August 20th - 24th, 2018
  • $1595 + tax
Register Now (Week #1) Register Now (Week #2) Register Now (Week #3) Gear List

Camp Itinerary

  • Day 1: Meet at 7:00pm at HI Lake Louise or HI Mosquito Creek Hostel
  • Day 2: Drive to the trailhead at Bow Lake. Hike to Bow Hut
  • Day 2-4: Explore the Peaks in the area with overnights at Bow Hut
  • Day 5: Maybe sneak in a peak and hike back to trailhead at Bow Lake, return to Lake Louise

Gear, Food & Lodging

  • Guiding throughout the camp
  • Accommodation at HI Lake Louise / HI Mosquito Creek Hostel on day 1
  • Accommodation at ACC's Bow Hut for the remainder of the camp.
  • All meals starting with breakfast on day 2 and ending with lunch on day 5.
  • Parks Canada Wilderness Pass
  • All group gear
  • Transportation to/from Bow Lake parking lot (participants will be expected to use their own vehicles to carpool)
  • National Parks vehicle pass
  • Dinner for day 1 and day 5
  • Accommodation on day 5
  • Personal gear (see equipment list in Info Pack
  • "Our First Summits camp this year was led by Peter Amann, a long-time Alpine Club of Canada trip leader and guide who has also been chosen as the Patron for this year’s Mountain Guides Ball. We navigated our way over crevasses and onto ice slopes with some low-technical scrambling on our way to the summits of Mount Olive, Mount Gordon (for Canada Day!) and The Onion. It was a fantastic group and we lucked out with great weather save for one small shower on the way across the glacier on day three."
  • “This was my first experience in the Rocky Mountains and the camp was a blast! by far my best Canada Day.”
  • “I enjoyed the great views, good laughs and new friends.”
- Past First Summits Camp Participants-

First Summits Camp Staff