Canadian Rockies Hiking by Yamnuska and Yamnuska Mountain Adventures are leading guide companies in the Canadian Rockies. In addition to backpacking and hiking programs we are known for our climbing and ski guiding and instruction.
We have been in business since 1977 and operate year round. In summer, hiking, mountaineering, and rock climbing are the mainstay. Come winter and the focus switches to ice climbing, avalanche training and ski mountaineering.
"Yamnuska" is the popular name for the mountain guarding the Bow River's exit from the Rockies. This Stoney Indian word means 'flat faced mountain' and it is that 'flat face' looming above the Bow Valley that is famous for its many fine climbing routes.
Past owner of Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, David grew up in New Zealand where he began a life-long commitment to mountaineering when he was 16. New Zealand's Southern Alps were a perfect place to develop as a serious mountaineer. Upon graduation from University in 1975 he abandoned academia in favor of a mountain lifestyle. Between forays to climb in Europe and Alaska he also began working as a guide in New Zealand's premier mountain region, Mt. Cook. After qualifying as an internationally certified mountain guide in 1983 David emigrated to Canada where a few short years later he found himself at the helm of Yamnuska which he then directed for 21 years.
David continues his connection with Yamnuska and particularly enjoys guiding ski mountaineering and introducing beginners to backpacking and mountaineering in the summer. He especially appreciates seeing his clients discovering the mountains the way he did 30 years ago in New Zealand. He lives in Canmore with his wife Maria, also a guide.
Adam grew up in Thunder Bay paddling canoes and kayaks, hiking and trying to rock climb in running shoes at the local bluffs. After a Kinesiology degree in Winnipeg, he just had to move further west and started guiding expedition canoe and rafting trips in the NWT on the South Nahanni River in 2004. After hiking 2 long distance trails in early 2000, the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest Trail, he decided that it was time to pursue guiding as a profession.
Adam started working as a hiking guide and ski instructor for Yamnuska in 2008, and is working toward his full guide certification. He spends the off-season rock climbing and mountain biking with his wife Joanna, usually somewhere warm and sunny!
I have sometimes thought of going away, but I imagined that as a kind of holiday, a series of adventures like Bilbo's or better, ending in peace." - Frodo Baggins
"After last year's hiking and backpacking season I made the move to Kimberley, B.C., a small town in the Purcell Mountains. For the winter I was forced to ski lot's of powder and fix broken body parts when I took the job of ski patrolling at the local hill (it was rough). Since then I've been exploring the Purcells on ski, foot and bike waiting for the summer season to begin again."
Kevin has been working in the Outdoor Industry for more than 15 years and has guided trips in the Coast Mountains and the Rockies. Kevin is also a Red Cross First Aid Instructor.
He has also trekked the Tongariro Circuit in New Zealand, climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, cycle toured S.E. Asia for a year and backpacked a number of never-before-done trips in the Canadian Rockies. He's trekked, cycled and climbed the world over and wants to bring the fun, passion and beauty of our natural world to you.
Alison is originally from Northern Ireland, and after completing a degree in Geology from Glasgow University, she moved to Canada and has been involved in the guiding and ski industry ever since.
She now lives in Canmore with her husband and 2 sons. In the winter season Alison is a ski guide and instructor then switches to backpacking and hiking in the summer. A committed mountain person, she enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering in her free time.
Maria is a past owner of Yamnuska and she continues to work with Yamnuska overseeing and guiding on the hiking programs and working as a ski instructor. She originally hails from Newfoundland, but has resided in and near the Canadian Rockies since 1989 developing a strong love of the mountains and mountain activities. She has also worked as a geologist, cave guide, and interpretive guide for the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Yoho National Park.
Maria's passion for outdoor pursuits has taken her all over the world. In addition to hiking and backpacking these include cave exploration, backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, climbing and geology. Maria's extensive travels have reinforced that the Canadian Rockies are a wonderful backyard with world class hiking and backpacking. She truly enjoys spending time on the local hiking trails and sharing her extensive knowledge of the natural history and love of the mountains with her guests. Maria resides in Canmore with her husband David.
Tamara was fortunate to grow up in the western prairies of Canada and since 1994 called Alberta her home. After completing Outdoor Pursuits education she has spent the years since introducing and leading teens, adults and seniors in a broad variety of outdoor adventures.
In 2006 she first came to Yamnuska to teach ski programs and continues to work with us year round leading backpacking trips in the summer and teaching ski programs in the winter.
Her Interests in the off season and summer include single-track mountain biking, rock climbing and fly fishing in the alpine lakes and rivers.
In the winter season, backcountry skiing is her true passion. Tamara lives near Canmore with her husband Nick and their German shorthaired pointer, Sage.
Jane Whitney is one of our top hiking guides, and nobody knows the Canadian Rockies like Jane does. A seasoned wilderness leader, Jane has spent nearly two decades hiking the Rockies. Experienced in expedition travel, she has led several expeditions in the High Arctic, Patagonia and west coast Canada. She is also really fun to be with and has been lauded by many as a superb naturalist.
Yamnuska Guides are supported by a skilled administration and logistics support staff who plan and book trips as well as organize meals, accommodation, transportation and equipment.
Director of Operations, Dave Stark
Dave Stark has been instructing and guiding in the mountains of Western Canada since 1981. His climbing resume spans the globe with climbing and mountaineering experience on five continents. He has guided groups on high alpine peaks in Asia, South America, Antarctica and North America.
As the Director of Operations at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, Dave is in charge of the guides and all aspects of the field programming. In addition to his supervisory and training duties he still actively guides and stays current with all technical facets of Mountain Guiding. He has written curriculum and evolved programs from ideas into full scale operations. He directed the Mountain Skills Semester at Yamnuska for over ten years. He has coordinated mountain safety crews and rigging staff on many film projects. He helped develop the curriculum for CAC Avalanche Skills Training Courses and has been teaching avalanche awareness courses for the past thirty years.
Dave's primary focus with Yamnuska, involves education, technical training, safety systems and assessment of risk. His specialty is providing maximum benefit in programming and skills learning.
Assistant Director of Operations, Jesse de Montigny
Jesse moved to the Bow Valley in 1998 to take part in Yamnuska's three month Mountain Skills and Outdoor Leadership Semester program. Using this as a springboard for his skills development, he has travelled all over the world to climb and ski and has pursued his passion to become a guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Jesse began working for Yamnuska as an Assistant Rock Guide, and in 2010 completed the full certification program to become a full ACMG Mountain Guide. He is also now the Assistant Director of Operations for Yamnuska and uses his skills both in the field and in the office to provide you with the best mountain experience possible. Some of Jesse's personal mountain achievements have included: a 175km ski tour through the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to the Columbia Icefields, climbing the north face of Mt Temple, and climbing 5.12+ routes around the world.
Some of Jesse's favorite personal trips include: rock climbing in Thailand, Greece and Mexico, lodge-based ski touring in the Selkirk Mountains and ice climbing in the best ice climbing area on the planet... the Bow Valley in the heart of the Canadian Rockies!
Jesse lives in Canmore with his wife Christine and daughters Sierra and Kylee.
Marketing Manager, Sylvia Watson
Sylvia graduated from our Mountain Skills Semester in 2002 and then, deciding to relocate to Canmore from Ontario, she joined the Yamnuska team. In 2005 Sylvia was promoted to the Office Manager, overseeing the accounting and finance and assisting with logistics and marketing projects. She is a keen rock climber and skier and competes in many running & cycling events, having recently taken up duathlons and triathlons. Sylvia is a certified nordic ski instructor with the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. She recently returned from a year away to focus primarily on marketing. Sylvia lives in Canmore with her husband Kevin and her twins Keira and Caden.
Assistant Manager, Andrew Stevens
Andrew joined our team in 2006. Originally from Ontario, Andrew has a background in tropical ecology and has guided and taught natural history programs and river trips in Central America. Drawn to our mountains and considerably more temperate climate, Andrew now calls Canmore home.
Reservations and Administration, Katherine Dalman
Katherine grew up in Canmore exploring the mountain playground that surrounds us. She is very active in the outdoors and loves to get out skiing, hiking and climbing when not helping our guests get out to do the same. With her years of experience and knowledge working in Visitor Services for Parks Canada, she has been an invaluable asset to the team here at Yamnuska and we are very fortunate to have her!
Guide Certifications, Training and Permits
Our backpacking and hiking guides are certified professionals. They are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and the Interpretative Guides Association in addition to holding wilderness first aid certification.
The very exacting standards to which Yamnuska's guides are held should not obscure the fact that the guides are the heart and soul of the company. In addition to being great leaders, they are also great mountain companions.
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures holds guiding permits for Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks (403 762 1530 for verification). For Assiniboine and Bugaboo Provincial Parks in British Columbia (250 489 8540) and for Bow Valley and Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks in Alberta and also Kananaskis country also in Alberta (403 678 5508 for Alberta).