Bourgeau Right WI4

Avalanche Skills Training AST 1 for Ice Climbers

Course Details

CanRock Mountain Guides AST 1 forIce Climbers is an avalanche safety course that is licensed by Avalanche Canada. We have crafted an AST 1 course designed specifically to provide ice climbers with tools and strategies to help reduce exposure to the amplified hazards of the ice and mixed climbing environment. Some of the avalanche related challenges facing ice climbers in the Canadian Rockies include:

  • Complex terrain on approaches necessitating pre dawn starts
  • Long exposure times while climbing multiple pitches with overhead and mid track avalanche hazards
  • Start zones above ice routes with variable snowpack, wind effects and differing aspects and terrain characteristics than in the lower elevations
  • Negotiating unsupported snow slopes with cliff beneath them
  • Unevenly distributed snowpack that is susceptible to triggering weaknesses in the shallow snowpack areas
  • Challenging weather variables like sudden temperatures rises, tricky inversions and underestimating the effects of wind or solar warming

Your instructor Paddy Jerome is a Canadian Avalanche Association professional member with 20 years of mountain guiding and avalanche forecasting experience. This avalanche training course is essential learning for ice climbers wanting climb in avalanche terrain.

Low 6:1 ratios and instructors with extensive avalanche forecasting experience. This AST 1 for ice climbers course has a small group atmosphere, highly skilled and experienced avalanche forecasters who are focused on your learning outcome.

Is this course too simple for you?  Try our AST 2 course designed for more experienced backcountry users. Perhaps your partner and you just want to refresh your companion rescue skills, we have you covered. Click here.


Any fit ice climber is welcome to the course.  We will be walking on snowshoes or skis on our field day so ensure that your snowshoes or approach skis are in working order.


Banff National Park or Kananaskis Country based program.  We will choose a venue appropriate based on weather, snowpack & avalanche hazard conditions.


2 Days.  Day 1 of online learning from the comfort of your own home and Day 2 in the field (Saturday or Sunday).


Ski touring skis or snowshoes

Ice Climbing Boots
Climbing Pack 40-litre
Avalanche transceiver
Avalanche shovel
Avalanche probe
First Aid Kit


Course Costs

Group Size
Day Rate
Price Per Person




*Please add 5% sales tax to the above amounts. *Additional expenses such as food, gear rental, park fees, transportation or accommodation not included. 1:6

AST for Ice Climbers

Course Dates

November 13th & 14th 2021

December 11th & 12th 2021

Course Information

The majority (65-70%) of ice routes in the Canadian Rockies are in avalanche terrain. Avalanches hazard is the most significant threat to ice and mixed climbers. This is due to natural gullies and confined features where ice routes tend to flow on the sides of the mountain.

In spite of all this, ice and mixed climbers have been slow to embrace the use of avalanche companion rescue equipment and managing their avalanche risk. Thankfully that is beginning to change as more waterfall ice and mixed climbers are seeking to be greater informed about avalanche hazard.

On this online AST 1 course, we will learn:

  • Learn a process of picking an ice route and finding out if it is in avalanche terrain.
  • Discover what the level of exposure to avalanche hazard is using the ATES Scale and other terrain resources.
  • Learn to get the weather and avalanche hazard forecast to make the best decision possible about whether or not that route is reasonable for that time frame
  • Learn to work as a team with your ice climbing partner and decide if your objective makes sense or determine if there are better options

In the field portion of the AST 1 for Ice Climbers you will learn:

  • Avalanche companion rescue skills
  • Avalanche transceiver group checks
  • Make relevant weather, avalanche and snowpack field observations
  • Evaluating & managing risk
  • Learn to use the Avaluator as a decision making aid
  • Safe travel and terrain management strategies
  • Snowpack investigation – layers, critical weak layers and snowpack tests
  • Avalanche rescue scenario

For more information, please see below