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Title image - Build your mountaineering skills with BAI

Mountain School – Alpine Mountaineering Course with Ascent of Mt. Sir Sandford

This is primarily a skills course, but will be focused around on an attempt to reach the summit of “The King of the Selkirks”, Mt. Sir Sandford at 3522M / 11,550’. The challenging, long alpine ice and snow ridges of Sandford provide an excellent introduction to Grade IV climbing on big peaks. The routes on Sir Sandford demand the physical commitment and efficient movement of a serious mountaineering route. Weather, acclimatization and strategy will be important. Once we have learned and reviewed our skills, and reached a position at the base of Sir Sandford, we will choose a summit day and leave our high camp in the early morning darkness, expecting 16 or more hours climbing and descending ahead of us. Guide-to-student ratio for the Sir Sandford climb is 1:2.

Course Skill Goals:

    Mt. Sir Sanford from Bush Harbour. Jeffery Dolinsky.
  • Self-arrest techniques
  • Crampon technique
  • Rope / belay technique
  • Fourth-class rope team travel technique
  • Rappelling
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Glacier travel
  • Route-finding
  • Acclimatization and physical self-awareness
  • Decision-making
  • Snow camping

Course Itinerary:

This is a typical schedule, exact routes and objectives will change. Your guide will plan your course based on conditions and opportunities as they exist while you are in the field.

Day 1 – Check out of Hotel. Meet at BAI office in Canmore (7:30 AM) for gear check and briefing. Travel to Golden, British Columbia arrive at heliport by 11:00 AM, helicopter briefing, weather permitting fly to Selkirk Mountains. Once settled in we will go for a hike to take in the surrounding beauty of where we are. Practice rope handling, knot tying and other related subjects or start with snow school.

Day 2 – now School (walking techniques on snow, proper use of an ice axe, self-arrest techniques, snow anchors and other related subjects)

Day 3 – Basic crevasse rescue and glacier travel techniques. A considerable amount of time will be spent on snow anchors and crevasse rescue techniques.

Day 4 – Begin moving to get in position for out attempt on Sir Sandford, It is possible that we will do a warm up or training climb on a smaller peak.

Day 5 – Establish Sir Sandford high camp, and make our summit attempt. Includes alternate summit day.

Day 6 – Weather permitting fly out by 12:00. Back to Canmore by approximately 4:00 PM.