Mount FAy - 3234M


One of our most popular 3-Day Ascent Programs, and a definite favourite amongst our Guiding Team. Departing from Moraine Lake near Lake Louise, this trip provides some of the most varied and interesting climbing opportunities of any of our 3-Day Alpine Climbing trips. Starting from Moraine Lake, our approach day includes everything from a beautiful lakeside hike, moderate scrambling terrain to 5 pitches of rock climbing, topped with a glaciated traverse all arriving at The Neil Colgan Hut - our base for the trip.

From the hut, our main objective, Mount Fay, can be climbed via a variety of routes and you can expect our Guides to work with you to find the route that matches conditions with your motivations and goals. Classic routes we ascend to the summit include:

  • The West Ridge - PD / 5.3 / 40˚ Ice / 300m
  • Center Ice Bulge Direct - AD+ / 80˚ Ice / 300m
  • Chouinard Route - AD+ / 90˚ Ice / 300m

For those keen on one last alpine start, our final day often includes an additional Summits of Mount Little and Mount Bowlen, prior to reversing the Perren route via a series of rappels and short roping back to the shores of Moraine Lake. With rave reviews from our Guests, this is one of the more popular 3-day ascent programs in our lineup - drop us a line to book this season.

  Check out the image above to see one of our teams tunnelling through the exit cornice on an ascent of the Center Ice Bulge Direct! 

 3-Day Ascent Program








 Experienced IFMGA Mountain Guides








7 days in advance of your ascent, our Program Managers will touch base to provide you with an update on expected route conditions, avalanche hazards (if applicable), and expected weather for your ascent day. Your Guide(s) will be in touch 24-48hrs in advance of departure at a minimum to further discuss final logistics and your expectations for your trip with us.



On our first day, you will Meet Your Guide Here in the village of Lake Louise at ~ 0600hrs where we'll start with a brief round of introductions and a pre-departure briefing which will include the following: 

  • Review of any expected changes to weather or climbing conditions
  • Expected Hazards, risk management plan, and associated mitigations for the duration of the trip
  • Distribution and repacking of meal program and trip food for participants
  • Distribution of any required technical equipment
  • Presentation of physical Waiver of Liability Document & Signing

As Moraine Lake Road is now closed to personal vehicles year round, we will catch the bus from our meeting location at 0630, which will then take us up to Moraine Lake. Once there, we'll depart in way of travel along the western shore of Moraine Lake to begin our ascent. 

Our ascent route most commonly follows what's know as the Perren Route approach to the Neil Colgan Hut. Check it out here on FATMAP.

Typically ascent times during periods of stable weather and ideal climbing conditions will be on average between 7-8 hours. During more inclement or slower climbing conditions, approach times to the Neil Colgan Hut can reach upwards of 11-12 hours.

After arriving at the Neil Colgan Hut, you'll have plenty of time to settle in, unpack and drink in the views while your Guide begins to prepare drinks, appetizers + soup as well as dinner for the team. 

Expect some time in the evening to discuss the following day, the feasibility of specific ascent routes for your Mount Fay ascent, and time to pack and prepare for the following day's departure.

Day 2 

Our second day will be our attempt for a summit of Mount Fay. Your Guide will be up at approximately 0400hrs, prepping coffee / tea and breakfast for the team. Typically the team will depart the hut between 0430hrs and 0500hrs. From the hut to the base of the peak typically requires about an hour.

Beginning the ascent, access to the upper mountain will require the team to cross the long bergschrund (crevasse), guarding the bottom of the peak and ascend upward to gain one of the ice faces held on the North Face. For teams climbing the West Ridge Route, the ice face ascended is roughly 90m in length and approximately 40˚ - 45˚. For the other route options on the North Face, these ice faces make up two thirds or more of the total ascent. Typically 300m of ice up to 90˚ can make up the route; Center Ice Bulge Direct & The Chouinard Route.

Typically under normal conditions, ascents via any of the routes available will put teams on the summit between 0900-1100hrs. Regardless of the route ascended, descent is almost always via the West Ridge Route, with a return to the Neil Colgan Hut by roughly mid-afternoon.

Day 3 

On our last day of the trip, Guests will have a number of options open to them for the day. Immediately surrounding the hut are two additional peaks which can be ascended before departing for our descent to the valley floor. 

  • Mount Little - 3088m
  • Mount Bowlen - 3072m

Despite their summit elevations landing above 3000m, both these peaks can be quick ascents from the Neil Colgan Hut, and great additions to a Mount Fay Summit. For Guests interested on an extra ascent (or two), our morning will start with breakfast around 0500hrs, aiming for departure around 0600hrs. Typically an ascent of Mount Little will take 1hr return from the hut, while Mount Bowlen will require the same.

Regardless of whether teams elect to add these two additional summits, we'll aim to leave the Neil Colgan to begin our descent back to Moraine Lake at approximately 0930hrs. The descent typically requires between 4-6 hours, via a series of rappels, downclimbing, and 4th class scrambling. 

Teams can expect to be wrapping up their program between 1200-1500hrs depending on the morning's activity. We'll then board the bus that will take us back to the vehicles in Lake Louise.




Guide : Guest Ratios

Guide to Guest Ratios on the Mount Fay Programs are limited to 1:2, given the consistently technical nature of the trip.

Travel to the columbia Icefields

Our suggestions for your most efficient way to access the program venue from a variety of locations and international ports of entry:

  • Calgary (YYC) to Lake Louise:
    • Those Guests travelling from or arriving by air at Calgary International Airport: Your most efficient route to join us for the program start in Lake Louise will be through our base in Canmore, Alberta. A rental car may be required, though public transfers or transportation options are also available to you.
      Find a travel plan here

  • Edmonton (YEG) to Lake Louise: 
    • Those Guests travelling from or arriving by air at Edmonton International Airport: Typically this will require travel via Rocky Mountain House then Saskatchewan River Crossing, turning south on HWY 93N toward Lake Louise. A rental car or personal transportation will be required.
      Find a travel plan here.

  • Travelling from British Columbia: 
    • For our Guests travelling and arriving from locations in British Columbia: Please use the following map link to aid in your planning and arrival in Lake Louise. 
      Our Meeting Point in Lake Louise

Transfers from Calgary International Airport:

Transfers are available departing Calgary International, arriving in Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise. We'd suggest The Banff Airporter for those requiring transfers from Calgary.



For those looking to arrive early ahead of your program, there are a variety of useful pre-trip amenities and comfortable accommodation options around our base in Canmore, Alberta, the townsite of Banff, a further 20-minute drive inside the East Gates of Banff National Park, and Lake Louise. The following are our suggestions for accommodation as well as gear and equipment retailers to help you prepare post-arrival:


    For those looking to purchase gear and equipment prior to your course, we would suggest the following local Bow Valley retailers:

    • Vertical Addiction
      • Located in Canmore, Vertical Addiction offers a complete selection of technical climbing, mountaineering and ski equipment along with a broad selection of technical clothing. 
    • SkiUphill
      • Located in Canmore, SkiUphill is a collective of experience driven individuals each with their own history, knowledge and stories of getting out there and getting after it. They offer expertise in backcountry skiing, trail running, climbing and any combination of those activities all while offering the best selection of curated equipment. 
    • Monods Sports
      • Located in Banff, Monods is one of the longest operating outdoor equipment and clothing retailers in the Bow Valley. Monods has a large selection of technical clothing and equipment offerings.
    • Ortovox
      • Our Partners at Ortovox are known for their high-quality technical outerwear and are a supporting partner of C9G and our ski guiding programs.
    • Black Diamond Equipment
      • Black Diamond Equipment has been providing skiers and alpinists with technical equipment since 1989, and is a supporting partner of C9G and our guided ski programs.


Mountain Meal Program Available

Mountain meal programs available, please contact our program managers for more information.

Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Please contact our Program Managers at the office for more information on Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Paleo, or allergy restrictions for your trip.


Required Equipment & Personal Items

  • Trekking Pole
  • Water Bottle 1L
  • Mountaineering Boots (must accept crampons)
  • Sunglasses + Spares
  • Blister Kit (optional, but suggested)
  • Sunscreen SPF 50+ minimum
  • Camera, batteries, memory cards etc.
  • Pack 35-45L (if bringing a larger, non-compressible sleeping bag 50L is suggested)
  • Gaiters (optional)

Cloud Nine Guides Will Provide The Following Gear if Requested:

  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • 3 Locking Carabiners
  • 120cm sewn sling
  • ATC / Tube Style Belay Device
  • 2 Prussik Cords / 5m long x 6mm diameter, min 10kn strength
  • Ice Axe 
  • Crampons


  • Wool / Synthetic Blend Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Base Layers (top and bottoms, wool or synthetic)
  • Mid Layers (approx 200 weight, wool or synthetic insulation)
  • Softshell Jacket & Pants
  • Gore-Tex Jacket & Pants
  • Buff Style Neck Tube
  • Warm Hut (able to fit under helmet)
  • Sun Hut - Ball Cap or Full Brim
  • Heavy Gloves (primarily for warmth when stopped)
  • Lightweight, Dexterous, Climbing Specific Gloves (2 Pairs)
  • Lightweight & Warm Down or Synthetic Insulated Parka


Overnight Items

  • Alarm Clock
  • Toiletries + Small Hand Sanitizer
  • Headlamp with Fresh Batteries
  • iPod, Smartphone or Similar
  • Ear Plugs
  • Lightweight Hut Footwear
  • Lightweight Sleeping Bag (rated -2˚C to -8˚C)



The best method to protect your investment with us should unforeseen arise, requiring you cancel your booking, is to purchase a Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policy. 

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 but 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 an 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. 



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.



Book a free consultation

Book a phone call or video call with either of our Program Managers or with our Director of Operations.

This is an excellent preliminary step towards booking a trip with us. It allows us to better understand your requirements and needs for your desired objective. 

ORTOVOX - Proud Supporting Partner of the Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Courses
Cloud Nine Mountain Guides are Internationally IFMGA Certified
Rock Courses Supported by Black Diamond Equipment