Hundreds of climbing routes have been laid out around Canmore. Mount Yamnuska, which rises 900 meters (2,950 feet) above the valley floor east of town along Highway 1A, is the most developed site. Climbers also flock to Ha Ling Peak, Cougar Creek, the area behind Grassi Lakes, and Grotto Canyon.
Yamnuska (403/678-4164 or 866/678-4164, www.yamnuska.com) offers basic rock climbing courses and instruction for all ability levels on ice climbing, mountaineering, and trekking. A good introduction to rock climbing is the weekend-long Outdoor Rock Intro course, which costs $345. Unique to the company are three-month-long courses that take in all aspects of mountain-oriented skills.
Canmore is also home to the headquarters of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). Like similar clubs in the United States and Great Britain, the ACC is a nonprofit mountaineering organization whose objectives include encouraging mountaineering through educational programs, exploring and studying alpine and glacial regions, and preserving mountain flora and fauna. The club was formed in 1906, mainly through the tireless campaign of its first president, Arthur Wheeler. A list of early members reads like a Who’s Who of the Canadian Rockies — Bill Peyto, Tom Wilson, Byron Harmon, Mary Schaffer — names familiar to all Canadian mountaineers. Today the club membership includes 3,000 alpinists from throughout Canada. The original clubhouse was near the Banff Springs Hotel, but in 1980 a new clubhouse was built on benchland at the edge of Canmore to serve as the association’s headquarters. The club’s ongoing projects include operating the Canadian Alpine Centre (Lake Louise Hostel), maintaining a system of 20 huts throughout the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies, and publishing the annual Canadian Alpine Journal — the country’s only record of mountaineering accomplishments.