La Via Ferrata!


Andiamo Amici! Via Ferrata, Italian for "The Iron Way", has become wildly popular in Banff. The activity is an easy and accessible adventure for darn near everyone. Historically, Via Ferrata routes were installed during the 1940's throughout the Italian Alps to move troops safely through vertical mountain spaces. Many of the routes in The Alps remain today, and are now used by adventure travelers who seek a unique and easily accessible adventure in the vertical world steeped in history. While the activity has only taken off in recent years in Canada, it's become hugely popular with those seeking quick access to an everyday adventure . These routes are equipped using fixed iron ladder rungs from bottom to top, never more than an arms reach away, while heavy steel cable links anchor points over the entire length of the route, providing a running and consistent attachement point for the duration of the trip.

Your Mountain Guides come equipped with addtional equipment and have an armada of rope tricks available to help you through the occassional tricky spot, with an occasional boost or encouraging word if needed. 

All gear is provided and included in the cost. Packed lunch available on request.

Expect to get no shortage of photo opportunities on our Via Ferrata experiences. You'll be spending the day well above the Dave Thompson Corridor, and high above the glacial blue waters of Abraham Lake.
















 SAFETY IS PRIMARY. Choose a CERTIFIED Mountain Guide.

Our Team of Cloud Nine Mountain Guides has opperated across the globe in the worlds high places for more than a decade. Our team maintains an exceptional safety record. There is no higher professional certification for working Mountain Guides abroad than IFMGA Certification, a process requiring 5-10 years of training and examination in Canada. You'll be in steady hands.


Meet Your Guides: The c9 Collective

Phil Widmer - ACMG Guide - Core Guide - Cloud Nine Guides
Carla Demyen - ACMG Guide - Core Guide - Cloud Nine Guides
Todd Guyn - IFMGA Mountain Guide - Senior / Core Guide - Cloud Nine Guides
Kevin Rohn - IFMGA Mountain Guide - Core Guide - Cloud Nine Guides
Simon Meis - IFMGA Mountain Guide - Senior / Core Guide - Cloud Nine Guides


Via Ferrata - Itinerary

  • 0900hrs - Meet at the Carpark under that Dave Thompson.
    • Go through Waivers
    • Debrief for the day and what it will look like
    • Organise Equipment
  • 0915hrs - Begin approach to the bottom of the Via Ferrata. 
  • 0930hrs - After a short approach you will arrive at the bottom of the Via Ferrata.
    • Your Guide will give you a quick rundown of how to use your Protective Lanyard system which is used as your safety attachment to the steel cord that leads you up.
  • 0945hrs - Commence your journey up the route, taking in the amazing views and sights of the surrounding mountains. You will have mesmerising views of Abraham lake as you ascend up. 
  • 1145hrs - The route will take you between 1hr and half to 2 hours to ascend the whole route. Depending on group ability level. 
  • 1200hrs - Enjoy your lunch with your guide at the top of the Route and continue to be in awe of the Mountains and lakes around. 
  • 1230hrs - Once you have finished your lunch, you will begin the 30mins walk out of the route back to the car park. 
  • 1300hrs - Arrive back at the parking lot and your day is complete.


Pre-Course Logistics

  • Cloud Nine Guides and the majority of our Guiding Team are based in the mountain town of Canmore, Alberta. A short 15 minute drive from the East Gates of Banff National Park.
     The course will be based primarily from the Columbia Icefields and the Lake Louise regions, within the boundaries of Banff National Park
  • For those arriving Internationally or from locations outside of Alberta or British Columbia, arriving at Calgary International Airport (YYC) will provide the most direct access to our course locations.
  • Transportation is not included in your Course Fee. Students are expected to arrive with their own, or pre-arranged group transportation. Short commutes will be required nearly every day of the course, and it is important to come prepared. 
    Students wishing to carpool with others should prepare for this well in advance, and have a plan for shared transportation prior to course start.
  • A personal vehicle or rental car is our suggested transportation mode.
  • Cloud Nine Program Managers are happy to provide you with options for Rental Cars, or Group Transfers from Calgary to Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise in advance of the course. Please contact us for details.
  • Commonly, our Students arrive a day or two in advance of the course to get settled and prepare for the program. Generally, we would suggest basing yourself in the Canmore or Banff area prior to the program. These two towns are where you will find the broadest accommodation options, and amenities to aid you in preparing for the course. We would suggest the following accommodation options pre-course:
  • Students are responsible for obtaining a National Park entry pass for the duration of the course




The following is and Gear, Clothing and Equipment list. You will be required to arrive with these items on your day. This will allow you to make sure that you have the best and most enjoyable of experiences. 

  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Trekking Pole
  • Water Bottle or Collapsible Water Bladder (1L)
  • Hiking Boots (Sturdy pair of shoes)
  • Sunglasses + Spares (CAT3-4 Protection Suggested)
  • Personal First Aid Kit (optional, all our guides carry a First Aid Kit)
  • Sunscreen (min. SPF 50+)
  • Camera, batteries, memory cards & accessories
  • Daypack (at minimum, 1 x 18L-35L backpack. to carry your food)
  • Merino Wool Blend Socks (no cotton please)
  • Base Layer
  • Mid Layer
  • Long Underwear (bottoms - In case temperatures are cool)
  • Lightweight Pants
  • Lightweight Jacket
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Pants
  • Warm Hat
  • 2 X Buff Style Neck Tube / Headband
  • Sunhat (ballcap or full brim bucket style)
  • Large Gloves (ski glove or similar, depending on weather conditions)
  • Thin Gloves (useful as you hold on to the iron steps)

Provided by Cloud Nine:

The following gear and equipment is generally provided by us, and included in your course fee. However, if you have the following items, please feel free to bring them with you on course:

  • Helmet 
  • Rock Harness
  • Via Ferrata Lanyard 



Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance

Portions or the balance of your Beginner Mountaineering Course may be non-refundable. The best method to protect your investment with us should unforeseen is to purchase a Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policy. We strongly recommend purchasing coverage.

Lifestyle Insurance has covered many of Cloud Nine Guests on trips all over the world, and we have first hand experience seeing these policies activated by our Guests. 

Safeguard your trip costs and investment with us. Request a Quote from Lifestyle Financial.

Is this coverage required?

  • For Canadian Residents, coverage is suggested by not required to register.
  • For Non-Canadian Citizens, coverage is suggested but not required. It is strongly suggested that your policy includes Emergency Medical Coverage, unless you carry alternative policy which will respond in the event of medical emergency.


WAIVER - Release of Liability & Indemnity Agreement

Prior to booking you will be required to acknowledge that you have been provided a copy of our Waiver of Liability Agreement for your review. All participants, or their legal guardians wishing to participate on any Cloud Nine Programs, must acknowledge that they have been presented this document in advance of booking, have read it in its entirety, and understand the agreement being entered into by signing. While there is no obligation to enter into this agreement with us, it is a condition of our service provision. 



Book A PRIVATE GROUP Beginner Mountaineering Course.

For those who prefer our smallest and most focused learning environments. Groups of 4+ can book a Private Group Beginner Mountaineering Course on course dates that suit you and your crew best, and one of our ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guides will join you on your terms. You pick the Group Size, and have the option of alternative venues and dates outside those available on our Public Courses. 

Group Booking Discounts of between 5-15% are available depending on total participants.

How Do We Book It?

Contact our office to confirm availability for your preferred dates. We'll provide you with a private booking link for you and your group, and register either together or individually.


Booking TErms & Conditions

Before you book your course, please review our Booking Terms & Conditions. We do not accept bookings without your voluntary acceptance of these terms. Please read carefully as these terms outline specific policies and guidance for both our staff and clients with respect to refunds, cancellations, rescheduling etc.




What's Included?

Included in your Beginner Mountaineering Course:

  • Guiding & Instructional Services for the duration of the Course
  • Meals from Dinner on Day 1 to Lunch on Day 6
  • All Technical Equipment
  • Accommodation Costs at the Icefields Campground
  • Accommodation Costs at the Lake Louise Alpine Center

What's Not Included?

Not Included in your Beginner Mountaineering Course:

  • Personal Transportation
  • National Park Entry Passes for the duration of the course
  • Personal Clothing & Required Equipment Items listed above in "required equipment"
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Rock Shoes

Do I Need Any Experience to Book This Course?

No. No previous experience is required.

This is a foundational level skills course, and while there will be benefit for both entry level and intermediate level students, the course has been designed to build skill sets from the ground up.

The curriculum has been built primarily to cater to those with day hiking, backpacking, scrambling, and single pitch rock climbing experience (even if limited) as we've aimed to provide a logical seguay from these other gateway mountain pursuits into mountaineering and alpinism.

Ultimately, the 2 most important things to bring with you are a level of fitness that allows you to be outdoors and on the move for 7-10 hours consistently throughout the day, and most importantly and openness to a week chock full of adventure!

What kind of fitness level do I need to participate?

The most important asset you can bring on course is a sound level of cardio vascular fitness. This will mean different things to different individuals, but if you're accustom to being in the mountains, carrying a pack and moving for full days at a time, you'll be ready physically to participate.

The course is structured so that our biggest days are followed by physically lighter duty days to follow.

I've never been Mountaineering Before, is this course for me?

Most people new to the sport will have different ideas about what mountaineering or technical alpinism entails prior to taking a course like this. In part an Intro to Mountaineering style course will help you calibrate and provide good direction for your future plans and adventures, and give you the skills to engage in the activity at a level of risk your comfortable with.

Again, keep in mind this is a foundational level skills course. The idea is to provide you with a broad tool (skill) set, an ability to identify alpine hazards and associated risk, and to acquire a more systematic framework for traveling, climbing, making decisions and planning your trips in a technical alpine environment. 

Never been Mountaineering before? No problem. An appetite for adventure and good all day travel fitness will be your best assets.


What are the Guide to Student Ratios on course?

Skills & Instructional Days: Guide to Student Ratios are 1:6

On Technical Ascent Days: Guide to Student Ratios can be as low as 1:2 if required to allow for more technical routes to be ascended on the peak selected.



What if I have to cancel?

Please read our Booking Terms and Conditions carefully as outlined above. These outline all terms for cancellation, and governs the provision of credits or refund. We'd encourage you to get in touch with our Program Managers to clarify prior to booking.

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