Canada’s incredible mountain ranges boast some of the best climbing areas on the planet. Tons of rock playgrounds offer opportunities for bouldering, big wall climbing, long free-climbing, top-roping, major alpine routes, and even ice-climbing. From beginner climbs to radical overhanging routes that demand unbelievable focus from the world’s best, there is something for everyone there. But climbing is not just a western thing - there are amazing climbing opportunities across Canada, if you know where to look!

Climbing requires patience, strength, focus and the right mindset. It’s a dangerous sport and should not be taken lightly.

The Right Gear

Taking the Essentials:
  • Flashlight
  • Fire making kit
  • Signalling device (i.e. whistle)
  • Extra food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Navigational/communication devices
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket/shelter
  • Pocket knife
  • Sun protection
Leave a Trip Plan with responsible party, family member or friend.

Take equipment specific to climbing:

  • Fitted helmet
  • Proper climbing shoes
  • Harness
  • Locking carabiner
  • Belay device
  • Chalk bag, carabiners, sling
  • Bug spray
  • An enthusiastic partner with at least the same skill level

Ice Climbing – Additional Gear

  • Climbing boots with crampons
  • Warm, layered clothing – including hat & gloves
  • Tools including an ice axe or pick, screws, clipper

Indoor climbing gyms are very popular for training during the winter months and can provide a great environment for beginners to learn basic skills such as belaying, rappelling, and rope handling.

If you’re a first-timer, be sure to learn from a qualified guide and get as much experience as possible before exploring on your own or with friends. Outdoor climbing involves far more variables than indoor climbing, so you must be competent and ready for anything. And that includes knowing when to call it quits if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Planning to ice climb a majestic frozen waterfall? Recognize that winter climbing requires additional knowledge, experience and training regarding changing conditions of free-hanging ice. Also, winter travel in Canada’s spectacular backcountry brings with it inherent risks. Ensure you are thoroughly prepared for severe weather and avalanches before you head out.

Knowledge, experience and sound judgment are your best survival tools when climbing Canada’s beautiful mountains.

Photo: NWTT/Terry Parker (banner);
Sandra Ferguson climbing on a Via Ferrata route in Llo, France, October 2009

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