About Us

Categories: About Us |

My name is Mark Klassen, owner/operator and principal guide of alpinism.com.

By joining me or my partners on a trip you are choosing qualified, experienced guides with a proven record of safety and success.

Not all guides and guiding companies will be able to offer you the same quality experience that we can. Read on to learn more about why you should choose alpinism.com for your next mountain adventure in Canada.


Why Choose Us?

Categories: About Us, Why Choose Us? |
Mount Stanley North Face guide

Kris leading Bill up Mt Stanley

By joining me or my partners on a trip you are choosing qualified, experienced guides with a proven record of safety and success. Not all guides and guiding companies will be able to offer you the same quality experience that we can. Read on to learn about our guides’ qualifications and why we can give the best mountain experience in Canada.


All of our guides are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and listed on the ACMG website, but certification alone does not make a great guide. The best guides combine certification with experience, a positive attitude and a desire for success.

Achilles Spire guide

A guide leading on Achilles Spire

I have worked with many different guides and instructed on professional level guiding courses for many years. This has given me the opportunity to observe other guides in the field and see students during their training. As a result I have been able to ask the most talented guides to partner with me. These guides exhibit strong decision-making and technical skills, are fun to be with in the mountains and are highly motivated to create a safe and successful experience.


When hiring a guide in Canada, make sure they are a member of the ACMG and hold the appropriate certification for your trip. No other climbing or ski guide training programme in Canada has the same rigourous standards, extensive scope of practice or the international recognition afforded to ACMG guides.

ACMG Ski Guide Exam

Candidates on a ski guide exam

Within the ACMG there are several different types of certification, including climbing instructors, hiking, alpine climbing, skiing and rock climbing. Guide candidates may choose to become certified in one or more of these disciplines.

Applicants must have extensive personal experience before they are accepted into the guide training programme. Thompson Rivers University (TRU) collaborates with the ACMG to offer a series of training courses and exams designed to certify guides and instructors to the highly respected standards of the ACMG. Through these courses you can achieve professional ACMG certification within the disciplines of Mountain Guide, Hiking Guide or Climbing Instructor. Then they attend training courses and one or more examinations before beginning their apprenticeship period. After two or more years of apprenticeship they must pass one or more final exams. Once finished their training, all ACMG guides must maintain their skills through a continuing professional development programme.

Mountain Guides are trained in alpine climbing, rock climbing and skiing. They are the only guides qualified by the International Federation of Mountain Guiding Associations (IFMGA) in Canada.

In addition, guides teaching avalanche courses must be members of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA). Avalanche courses provided by the CAA are an integral part of ACMG guides’ training.

Click on the following links to learn more about guide qualifications:

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

International Federation of Mountain Guiding Associations

Canadian Avalanche Association

Thompson Rivers University Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide programme


Mark Klassen

Categories: About Us, The Guides |
Mark Klassen, Ski and Mountain Guide

Mark Klassen

I am a fully certified Mountain Guide and member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), the International Federation of Mountain Guiding Associations (IFMGA) and a Professional Member of the the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA). My objective in guiding is to have fun in the mountains while achieving the goals of my guests and maintaining the highest safety standards in the guiding industry.

I have been climbing and skiing full-time since 1983, working as a ski patroller and avalanche forecaster before starting to guide. Living in Banff I have spent much of my time in the mountains close by, climbing the north faces of Temple, Howse, Kitchener, Diadem and Edith Cavell; great ridges like the Emperor on Robson and the northeast ridge of Bryce; and many of the Selkirk and Bugaboo classics, such as the Beckey/Chouinard on the South Howser Tower.

I also have climbed further afield. Some of my favourite trips have been making first ascents on Baffin Island and in Nepal; climbing walls in Yosemite; spending two summers mountaineering in Peru; sport climbing in Thailand; and exploring remote areas of Alaska.

In the winter I have focused on skiing and have completed over a dozen major ski traverses throughout western Canada, South America and Europe.

I finished my guide certification in 1996. Since then I have guided many of the classics in western Canada, with Mt Alberta, Mt Bryce and Mt Robson being highlights. I have also guided further afield, such as the East Ridge of Mt Logan in the Yukon, Mt Cook in New Zealand, the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Pachermo in Nepal.

My ski guiding experience includes 7 years heli-skiing in the Purcell, Selkirk and Coast Ranges as well as many long ski traverses such as the Haute Route in the Alps, the Lilloet Traverse on the coast, the Bugaboos-Rogers Pass Traverse in the Columbia Mountains and the Great Divide Traverse in the Rockies. In addition I spend multiple weeks every winter travelling throughout the mountains of western Canada, searching for the best powder skiing at my favourite backcountry lodges and roadside ski-touring destinations.

My work also includes teaching professional level avalanche courses for the CAA and for many years I worked as an instructor/examiner on ACMG climbing guide and ski guide certification courses.

In 2011 I co-authored, with Chic Scott, an update to Chic’s original Summits and Icefields ski touring guidebook for the Rocky Mountains. 2012 saw Chic and I publish the next instalment in this series, a guidebook for ski touring in the Columbia Mountains. In 2013 Chic, TJ Neault and I published a marked route map and mini-guide for the Wapta Icefields and Bow Summit area.

Click here to view my Ski Guiding resume.

Click here to view my Alpine Guiding resume.

Click here to view my personal climbing resume.




Kris Irwin

Categories: About Us, The Guides |
Kris Irwin

Kris Irwin on the first ascent of Lost Lenore

Kris is an ACMG Alpine Guide. He lives in Banff with his wife Ellen and their dog Ruby.

Kris is certified to lead all types of rock, ice, and mountain climbs. He has been climbing in the mountains at home and abroad since 2004. Although he feels most at home on the classic climbs in the Rockies he has also made several first ascents in Alaska in the past few years.

Kris is one of the most active waterfall ice climbing guides in the winter and in the summer can be seen leading clients throughout the Rockies, Bugaboos and Rogers Pass.  An excellent instructor and personable guide, Kris always gets rave reviews from his guests.


Greg Golovach

Categories: About Us, The Guides |
Greg Golovach at the Lyell Hut

Greg Golovach at the Lyell Hut

Greg is a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide who divides his time between Banff and Revelstoke with his three children.

“G.G.” grew up in Montréal and speaks both French and Russian. He rode a motorbike across Canada in the mid-eighties and ended up landing in Banff, where he discovered the mountain life and hasn’t left since. He quickly became known as one of the better ice and rock climbers in town. Over the years Greg has made many first ascents including scores of sport climbs and the first winter ascent of Mt. Bryce.

Greg and I started guiding together in the late ’80s and have shared many an adventure together since then. Presently he is the Lead Guide for Great Canadian Heli-Skiing. He also leads rock climbing and mountaineering trips in the summer and works as an instructor for the ACMG mountain and ski guide certification courses.