Early Season Ice Camp 2017

Start this ice season right

Photo by Kris Irwin

Kick off your ice season with five days of instruction and adventure from world-renowned ice and mixed climbing legends and ACMG Guides.

Early December in the Rockies is a time of low avalanche hazard, easy traveling and giddy excitement as ice begins to form for the year.

Based out of Canmore, this camp will take participants to the best early-season ice and mixed routes. Set yourself up for winter 2017-2018 by learning (or improving) mixed climbing techniques, review safety and technical skills, get in shape, and have a blast! Personalized instruction from some of the best climbers and instructors in the world ensure your progression and improvement, an expansion of your skillset, and plenty of ice climbing.

Canada is a world-class destination for ice and mixed climbing. Depending on what forms, climbs that you may have a chance to sample include: ice and mixed routes on Grotto Mountain (His and Hers); Ranger Creek (R & D, Chalice and the Blade, Lone Ranger); Haffner Creek; Mount Rundle (Professor Falls); climbs in the internationally known Ghost Wilderness Area (Valley of the Birds, GBU, This House of Sky); and the Stanley Headwall (Sinus Gully, Nemesis).

Photo by Kris Irwin

If looking for a place to stay over the course of 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.

Slider pictures by Evan Southern, Kris Irwin, Eric Hsiung, Kathrin Koslicki

Level of Difficulty: Advanced

While there are plenty of teaching opportunities during the week, this camp is designed for people with at least basic rope handling skills and some experience climbing waterfall ice. If you consider yourself any level of “intermediate” ice climber, and you have a strong desire to take your game to the next level, this camp was designed with you in mind. If you are a strong rock climber but have never ice climbed, contact us to find out whether this camp could be right for you!


  • December 2 - 6, 2017
  • $895 + tax
Register Now

Camp Itinerary

Every day will begin with a meeting at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. on Main Street Canmore. This will allow you to pick up your lunch and car pool to the days climbing area. Climbing areas will change daily and are determined by the guide but they will accept input from participants.

  • Day 1: Meet at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. on Main Street (8th Street) in Canmore AB at 7:00 am. Drive, hike, learn and climb your way through the day. Rest and repeat.
  • Day 2: Try your skills at a new crag. Be it ice or rock, maximize time with your tools to get the most out of this course.
  • Day 3: Shake off the cramps and sore muscles and step up to the plate for another go round. Pull and push harder!
  • Day 4: Challenge yourself here with a lead climb or a harder line on the rock or ice. You’re the only one holding yourself back.
  • Day 5: Extra guides may join you for a multi-pitch excursion. No matter the case, leave all you’ve got on the ice as you finish the ACC’s early season ice.

Gear, Food & Lodging

  • Guiding throughout the camp
  • Bag lunches from Rocky Mountain Bagel Company for the week
  • All group gear
  • Daily transportation to/from the climbing areas (participants will be expected to use their own vehicles and carpool)
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfasts and Suppers
  • Personal gear (see equipment list in Info Pack )
  • “The course covered everything I had hoped would be covered. I got to lead…, I got to climb steep ice (a lot), I got coaching on how to climb steep ice. I learned how to dry tool. I learned new techniques in belaying, rapping, leading, anchor systems, etc.”
  • “The best for me was adding the new skill set of dry tooling and mixed climbing. I also appreciated that Sean worked to challenge me and increase my skill level.”
  • “To me the guides stood out as the best thing. It was my first time using hired guides and I wasn’t sure how relaxed I would be with them. It was like having a very experienced friend hanging out and having fun safely.”
- Past Early Season Ice Camp Participants-

Early Season Ice Camp Staff

Bell Cabin at Canmore Clubhouse

At a Glance

Canmore, Alberta

Hut Elevation:
1,335 m (4,380 ft)


$30 members, $41 others

Quick Description: 110 km west of Calgary. 20 km east of Banff.

How To Book Check Availability

Private Cabin for up to 15 People

Family reunions, retreats, and group get-togethers of all kinds are what the Bell Cabin was made for. The Bell is perfect for small groups (up to 15 people) that want to hang out in the same place, and away from everyone else.

In addition to a large BBQ deck with one of the best views in the Bow Valley, the Bell offers an extra cozy living room with leather couches and fireplace, dorm room accommodation for up to 15 people, 2 shower rooms, free wi-fi and a fully equipped kitchen. And all at a price that you don’t expect in Canmore.

It’s the perfect cabin for any group that is looking for a place to get together with convenience and privacy.

The Bell Cabin is a separate accommodation facility on the grounds of the ACC Clubhouse . This is a front-country facility with drive-up access.


The Bell Cabin is available for exclusive bookings. See our reservation policies page for full details on reservations, payments and cancellations.

Booking rates are for the entire cabin. Rates are $600/night during peak season and $450/night off-peak. Please enquire about non-profit rates.

For more information on booking the Bell Cabin please call 403-678-3200 ext 0 or email Alison Saklofske.

Summer peak rates apply from June 15 to September 30 and from December 20 to January 1 annually.

See our Weddings and Retreats  page for details on exclusive bookings.

Hut Bookings

  • Reservations arerequired at all ACC huts.
  • ACC membership is not required to book the Clubhouse. ACC members and non-members can book 12 months in advance.
  • Call 403-678-3200 ext 0 to make a booking. We are open 8:30 am to 9:30 pm daily. Or use the online booking widget, above.
  • Please read our cancellation policies and consider cancellation insurance for your trip.


Per Night Adult Member $30
Per Night Adult Non-Member $40
Per Night Child Member $15
Per Night Child Non-Member $20
Exclusive Rate Peak Season $600
Exclusive Rate Off-Peak Season $450

About rates


15 people in 2 seperate dorm rooms plus a loft
Beds with linens
Fully-equipped kitchen suitable for groups
Bathrooms and showers down the hall
Electric Lights
Electric heater
Filtered Tap
Free wi-fi

Recreational Opportunities

  • Trail Hiking
  • Scrambling
  • Mountaineering
  • Alpine Rock Climbing
  • Sport Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Track Skiing
  • Ski Touring
  • Ski Mountaineering
  • Ice Climbing
  • Resort Skiing


The Alpine Club of Canada’s Clubhouse is located on a spectacular and sunny bench 4.5 km east of the of the town of Canmore, Alberta. From the TransCanada Highway take the 1A exit (#91) and travel east approximately 1 km to Indian Flats Road; follow the road to the top of the hill.

Google Maps driving directions

References and Links

Sean Isaac

Sean is an ACMG Alpine Guide, based out of Canmore AB. His passion for climbing is infectious and he has already helped many people improve their technique and push their grade. Sean is one of the leaders of the mixed climbing revolution in the Canadian Rockies and is the author of two books: How to Climb: Mixed Climbing, and Mixed Climbs in the Canadian Rockies. Credited with first ascents in the too-many-to-count range on ice, mixed and alpine routes, Sean has taken his talents on the road and has done alpine expeditions and big wall climbing internationally in Peru, Patagonia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Baffin Island. As a professional photographer he has captured many of his exploits for all to enjoy and his mixed climbing talents have been featured in the movies Higher Ground and Beyond Gravity. Sean is also the editor of the ACC’s Canadian Alpine Journal (CAJ).