About Summer Adventure Trips

  • What is Heli-Hiking?

    With our fleet of Bell 212 helicopters, we're able to quickly and carefully access gloriously unfettered lands where we hike and explore where few others have traversed. With an experienced group of mountain guides at the helm, guests are grouped according to their desire and physical ability,ranging from gentle days of exploration to rigorous adventure-filled days of hiking, and everything in between. Whether you choose to hike the entire day straight through or enjoy a series of shorter hikes, our guides and pilots are in constant communication to accommodate your evolving moods.

    Regardless, every guest will walk through pristine flower-filled alpine meadows that very few human soles have graced, hike amidst the peaks of jaw-dropping spires, perhaps be beckoned via zip line across free-flowing rivers daring to be crossed, and maybe even pause before placing their foot on the first rung of the Via Ferrata.

    Amidst the backdrop of the majestic Columbia Mountain Range of BC, Canada, our graciously warm mountain lodge awaits you at the end of each day. Whether single, a couple, a family or a group of life-long friends, young or simply young at heart, for weeks-long adventures, or few-day short escapes, your serene retreat or wildly spirited journey awaits you. Choose your adventure of a lifetime right now.

  • What is Via Ferrata?

    CMH Summer Adventures guests at the Bobbie Burns lodge can experience an exhilarating excursion to the summit of Mt. Nimbus along North America's longest and most extensive via ferrata route. Deep in the Purcell mountains, the Bobbie Burns mountain guides designed and created a Via Ferrata (Italian for "Iron Way") adventure like no other. The Mt Nimbus Via Ferrata is an optional excursion for guests booked at the Bobbie Burns Lodge on a Short Escape should conditions, ability and space allow. For those guest looking to assure themselves a spot on the via ferrata, we suggest you book onto a Bobbie Burns High Flying Adventure which combines the via ferrata with ziplines, ropes courses and our newest Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike.

    In the true CMH way, our guides went to learn from the masters in Europe. The vertical pathways feature permanently fixed cables for safety and metal rung ladders to ease movement. Offering remarkable views and a vertical glimpse of the mountains, this is something for everyone. No special skills or prior experience is required. Just your sense of adventure.*

    Detailed instructions on use of equipment and technique are all part of this experience.

    *Note that our guides reserve the right to determine which guests will have the opportunity to experience the via ferrate based on fitness, ability and space available. To guarantee your space on the via ferrata we recommend you book CMH's High Flying Adventure.

    About the Mt. Nimbus Via Ferrata (blog) »
     

  • What's Included in a CMH Summer Adventure Vacation?

    • Transportation from Banff to the helipad and return to the Calgary International Airport
    • Accommodation at the CMH lodge of your choice for 2,3 4 or 6 nights
    • All meals starting with lunch on arrival at the lodge and a boxed lunch on departure
    • Use of top-quality hiking equipment: boots, jackets, daypacks, rainpants, walking poles and water bottles
    • 10 - 12 helicopter flights
    • Daily hiking and/or walking with professionally certified mountain guides

  • What is the CMH Summer Adventures guarantee?

    We believe so strongly in our CMH Summer Adventures that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.

  • Is Heli-Hiking suitable for families?

    Absolutely. Every generation can create its own perfect day. We've hosted four-generation families, from very young children to great-grandparents, with a wide range of activities for each to choose from. And each time the verdict has been “We all had the time of our lives!” Also see Family Adventures. For a collection of great stories from our Family Adventure vacations, see The Adventure blog.

  • What's the weather like up there? And what if it rains?

    Our summer weather is generally sunny and pleasant. Temperatures vary quite a bit, from highs of 10-29° C (50-85° F) during the day to lows of –1 to15°C (30-60°F) at night. Mountain weather is extremely variable, which is why we provide the gear you need for cooler temperatures, rain, wind, and, every once in a while, snow. As long as it's safe to fly, we do hike in the rain and have a great time doing it. The clothing and equipment we supply keep you comfortable, warm, and dry.

  • Why use a helicopter?

    Without helicopters, our remote mountains would be inaccessible to all but a very few hardy backpackers. Short flights take us to and from our secluded lodges. Helicopters also give us the ability to hop from one area to another during the day, allowing our guides to select varied terrain for you to explore with relative ease.

  • I'm not a hiker! Can I do this?

    Whether it's a hike, walk, or amble, each Heli-Hiking day is tailored to all levels of fitness, experience, and age. We split the group as necessary so everyone can stay within their comfort level. All you really need is a thirst for adventure. We also tackle this question on our blog in this post Heli-Hiking: Too Easy? Too Hard?

  • I'm an experienced hiker. Will I be challenged?

    Yes. Our guides are mountain people and if you're seeking a challenge, they're ready to give you a good hiking workout!

  • What are the levels of the different hiking groups?

    Our guests vary widely in ability and interests. But with careful selection on the part of our guides, the mountains can offer a thrilling experience to everyone. Your guides keep in close touch with you throughout your stay, to ensure that we are meeting your expectations.

    Our hiking groups, organized according to interests and abilities, vary in size. The following will give you a general idea of how our guides determine hiking groups:

    • RIGOROUS: You are very active and enjoy strenuous, fast paced activities.
    • MODERATELY CHALLENGING: You exercise regularly (3 or 4 times a week) and want to challenge yourself by hiking full days on varied terrain (i.e. hiking over a pass, along ridges or reaching a peak).
    • MODERATE: You exercise occasionally and enjoy hiking for a full day, but prefer to do so at a more relaxed pace.
    • GENTLE: You want to explore the mountains in a relaxed manner with an experienced guide.

  • What's a typical day like? How far do we hike each day?

    Morning offers choices: join the morning stretch, or sleep a little longer. Breakfast is served at 8:00 am, and the first helicopter leaves at 9:00 am. Each group, with its own guide, spends the day roaming and hiking in the mountains. Over the course of the day, the helicopter may move each group to three or four different areas, giving you a chance to experience a variety of settings. Lunch is picnic-style that you pack from a scrumptious selection set out each morning. In the late afternoon we fly back to the lodge for tea goodies and relaxation prior to a spectacular dinner and an evening of story-swapping.

    Just as our groups vary, our mileage varies from a kilometre or so (1/2 mile) to 15 kilometres (9 miles). Our guests hike as much or as little as they desire.

  • What do I need to pack?

    You are welcome to bring your own hiking gear – boots, pack and rain wear. Also note that laundry facilities and soap are available at the lodges (no charge).

    We provide some of the specialized gear you will need for backcountry heli-hiking:

    • Light weight jacket and pants ( wind and rain resistant)
    • Technical, waterproof, leather hiking boots (Salomon, Tecnica, Garmont) ranging from children's size 13 – men's size 13, medium width
    • Ear protectors for use in the helicopter
    • Rain pants
    • Canvas Lunch Bag


    What you should bring for yourself (or pick up at our well-stocked on-site shop):

    • Light weight sweater/ fleece and/or vest
    • Two long and short sleeved shirts or technical shirts
    • Comfortable pants for hiking (jeans are not recommended)
    • Two or three pairs of socks (wool or synthetic, thick and thin pairs)
    • Shorts (zip-off long pant/shorts combination)
    • Good quality sunglasses
    • Hat or ball cap, warm gloves (be prepared for all types of weather)
    • Camera (with lots of space on your memory card!)
    • Swim suit
    • Insect repellent and sunscreen
    • Indoor shoes/sandals
    • OPTIONAL ITEMS: alarm clock, flashlight, trekking poles, binoculars


    There are many new technical fabrics that are ideal for use in the mountains; they wick away moisture, dry quickly and keep you warm. These can be purchased at the retail shop at each CMH lodge.

  • Do you provide hiking boots and other hiking gear?

    Yes. We provide some of the specialized gear you will need for backcountry heli-hiking:

    • Technical, waterproof, leather hiking boots (Salomon, Tecnica, Garmont) ranging from children's size 13 – men's size 13 medium width (Learn more about the boots CMH provides here.
    • Day pack
    • Water bottle
    • Walking stick/ski pole
    • Insulated, hooded jacket (wind and rain resistant)
    • Light weight jacket ( wind and rain resistant)
    • Rain gear
    • Ear protectors for use in the helicopter
    • Mountaineering gear (if we organize a mountaineering group)

  • Is hiking gear available in your lodge's shop?

    Yes. Check out our on-line store: shop@cmh. For more information, email us at retailshop@cmhinc.com or call our Shop Division at 1-800-661-0252.

    From technical to casual, kids to adults, we have everything for your Heli-Hiking needs. Each lodge's shop features a complete line of specially-designed CMH clothing, as well as many brand names from around the world. Our retail bywords are quality, function, uniqueness, and value. Every item is field tested before we will endorse it.

    We also carry sunglasses, ear protection, custom luggage, and souvenirs. And while we can't fill prescriptions (you must bring these with you), we do stock a range of over-the-counter medicines.

  • If I'm travelling alone will you match me with a roommate?

    We're committed to solo travellers. We eat our meals family-style, so you'll always be in good company. Our hiking groups usually consist of small groups of 11 hikers (sometimes fewer) who share similar interests and abilities, so familiarity and camaraderie result quite naturally.

    If you book on a twin/share basis, we will attempt to match you with a same-sex roommate; if we are unable to do so, you will NOT be charged the upgrade to single occupancy.

  • If I'm travelling alone, can I have a private room?

    Single supplements are available on a space available basis, depending on the lodge.

  • Do you offer special rates for groups?

    Yes. A group consists of 10 or more people. Please call for details.

  • Do you offer special child rates?

    Yes. Children under 2 years are free. Kids 2-4 years are 50% off. Children 5 to 14 years receive 25% off the adult rate; youth who are 15 to 17 years receive 10% off the adult rate.

  • Can children have their own room?

    Absolutely. They will be in a room next to or across from yours. A supplement applies for a guaranteed single room.

Booking Information

  • Step 1: Choose a trip.

    Visit the Summer Adventures Dates & Prices Page to choose a trip and dates that you're interested in, as well as two or three alternatives.

  • Step 2: Contact us to book.

    Note: If you're contacting us on behalf of a group, include the names and contact information for all members of the group, if available.

  • Step 3: Submit your deposit.

    To confirm your reservation, we require a $300 (Canadian), per-person deposit. This deposit is refundable for 30 days from the time of booking then it becomes non-refundable. CMH accepts MasterCard, VISA or Amex.

  • Step 4: Sign and return waiver.

    We will forward you a confirmation package, including the CMH Heli-Ski Waiver that must be completed, signed, and returned to our office within 30 days of booking. Please read the waiver and application form carefully to become familiar with all terms and conditions.

  • Step 5: Submit final payment.

    Final payment is due eight weeks prior to the trip’s departure date. A request for final payment will be mailed to you before this deadline. If final payment is not received, we will regretfully assume that you no longer require your reservation and will resell your space. Please allow at least two weeks for mail delivery.

    Note: We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance. If you make your full payment by credit card, check with your credit card provider for alternate cancellation insurance.

  • Do I have to sign a waiver?

    Yes. Our guides and pilots are rigorously trained to optimize the program's safety and quality. The safety briefings and training you'll receive upon arrival are designed to explain the risks and to bring you into partnership with us in managing them to the fullest extent possible. However, some elements of risk are manageable while others are not. Heli-Hiking's inherent risks — which exceed the normal risks of everyday living — can't be completely eliminated. We ask you to understand and accept this fact in writing prior to your trip by signing the CMH Summer Adventures waiver.

  • What happens if I must cancel my trip?

    We must receive cancellations by telephone as well as confirmed in writing. The $300.00 deposit is always non-refundable. If cancellation is received eight weeks prior to the trip the remainder of the money received will be refunded. After this date, all monies received by CMH are non-refundable. If you can find a replacement for the trip booked, any and all deposits received will be transferred to your replacement. The money can also be transferred to a later trip date within the same season.

  • Can I change my mind and transfer to another trip?

    You can transfer to a later trip date within the same season based on availability, even if you have paid for all or a portion of you trip. If the trip you move to is of a lesser value, we will refund the difference. If the trip you move to is of a greater value, you will be charged the difference.

  • What insurance do you recommend?

    Trip Cancellation: An application form for trip cancellation insurance will be sent to you with the request for final payment. We strongly recommend that you purchase this insurance for your own protection. The trip cancellation insurance premium is due with the final payment eight weeks before the trip. It cannot be purchased after final payment is made.
    Trip Cancellation Insurance Form (93 KB PDF)

    Medical Insurance: An application form for medical insurance will be enclosed with the request for final payment. Please review your present medical insurance to verify that it covers helicopter evacuation. If it doesn't, or if you don't have coverage for Canada, we strongly suggest that you purchase this insurance.
     

Pre-Trip Information

  • When will I receive more detailed information about my trip?

    As soon as you have booked your trip we will send you a comprehensive information package that includes:

    • General Information and Travel Tips
    • Descriptive Heli-Hiking itinerary
    • Waiver form that you will need to complete and return it to our office prior to your trip start date
    • Electronic Guest Questionnaire for you to complete online.
    • Packing List
    • Optional Reading List

  • What do I need to pack?

    You are welcome to bring your own hiking gear – boots, pack and rain wear. Also note that laundry facilities and soap are available at the lodges (no charge).

    We provide some of the specialized gear you will need for backcountry heli-hiking:

    • Light weight jacket and pants ( wind and rain resistant)
    • Technical, waterproof, leather hiking boots (Salomon, Tecnica, Garmont) ranging from children's size 13 – men's size 13, medium width
    • Ear protectors for use in the helicopter
    • Rain pants
    • Canvas Lunch Bag
    What you should bring for yourself (or pick up at our well-stocked on-site shop):

    • Light weight sweater/ fleece and/or vest
    • Two long and short sleeved shirts or technical shirts
    • Comfortable pants for hiking (jeans are not recommended)
    • Two or three pairs of socks (wool or synthetic, thick and thin pairs)
    • Shorts (zip-off long pant/shorts combination)
    • Good quality sunglasses
    • Hat or ball cap, warm gloves (be prepared for all types of weather)
    • Camera (with lots of space on your memory card!)
    • Swim suit
    • Insect repellent and sunscreen
    • Indoor shoes/sandals
    • OPTIONAL ITEMS: alarm clock, flashlight, trekking poles, binoculars

    There are many new technical fabrics that are ideal for use in the mountains; they wick away moisture, dry quickly and keep you warm. These can be purchased at the retail shop at each CMH lodge.

     

  • What travel documents do I need?

    A valid passport is required for entry into Canada. To avoid delays at Canadian Customs, please be sure your passport and supporting information is up-to-date.

  • Where should I fly to?

    We recommend you fly to the Calgary International Airport as all trips originate in Banff . Call us for alternate pick up locations if your arrangements differ.

    There are several companies, which provide scheduled ground transportation from Calgary airport to Banff (and Lake Louise ). These shuttles depart almost hourly. A private land transfer or car rental can also be arranged by calling our Vacation Planners .

  • How do I get to the start of the trip? How do I get to the airport at the end of the trip?

    Plan to arrive in the Banff/Lake Louise area at least one day prior to the start of your Heli-Hiking adventure. Our Vacation Planning team can assist with booking all your land arrangements before and after Heli-Hiking including transfer from the Calgary Airport to Banff (or Lake Louise), accommodation before the trip starts and at the end of your trip if necessary. Call our Vacation Planners if you require assistance with your plans.

    Your Heli-Hiking trip includes ground transportation from Banff to the Bugaboo and Bobbie Burns helipads. Our coaches depart designated locations (TBA) at specific times. Should you miss the scheduled CMH transport, you are responsible for all costs incurred. Ground transportation is also included from the Bugaboo and Bobbie Burns helipads to the Calgary Airport.

    You may choose to drive directly to all CMH helipads. If driving, please inform us, and plan to arrive at the helipad at least 15 minutes prior to the first flight. Maps to the helipad are available.

    The helicopter schedule is fixed. Again, please ensure you arrive in advance of the first flight.

    Detailed itineraries including times and locations are included in your information package.

  • Arrivals

    • Plan to arrive in the Banff/Lake Louise area at least one day prior to the start of your Heli-Hiking adventure.
    • Our Vacation Planners can assist with booking all your land arrangements before and after your Summer Adventures vacation, including transfer from the Calgary Airport to Banff (or Lake Louise) and accommodation before and after your trip, if necessary.
    • Trips include ground transportation from Banff to the Bobbie Burns helipad.
    • Trips also include ground transportation is also included from the helipads to the Calgary Airport at the end of your trip.

  • Can I self-drive to the heli-pad?

    Yes. You can also drive directly to all CMH helipads. If driving, plan to arrive at the helipad at least 15 minutes prior to the first flight (see itinerary for details). The helicopter schedule is fixed. Please let us know if you need a maps to the helipad.

  • Is massage available? Can I pre-book?

    Yes, CMH hires massage practitioners that specialize in sports and therapeutic massages, and each lodge provides massage services.

    Reservations for massages can be made on your first day once the massage therapists introduced themselves (normally after dinner). Sorry, no advance/pre-bookings.

    Rates:
    30 minutes: $65
    45 minutes: $85
    60 minutes: $105
    90 minutes: $140

    *HST is not included in massage rates.

  • How fit should I be?

    Our program accommodates all levels of fitness, so we leave this completely up to your discretion. Whether you’re up for hiking, walking, ambling, or (conditions permitting) mountaineering, we tailor each Heli-Hiking day for all levels of fitness, experience, and all ages. We split our groups as necessary so everyone can stay within their comfort level. All you really need is a thirst for adventure, but if you choose to embark on a fitness routine prior to travel, our friends at Fit For Trips can custom design a program specific to your heli-hiking goals.

  • How do gratuities (tips) work?

    Gratuities are not included in our prices, nor are they expected. If you feel that the staff service throughout your stay deserves gratuity please feel free to include one at the end of your ski trip. Gratuities are divided among all the staff at the lodge.

About the CMH Lodges

  • At what altitude do you hike?

    The mountains where we hike are abundant with glaciers and other features characteristic of high altitude terrain, but at a lower, more comfortable altitude: we generally hike at 1,800 – 2,700 m (6,000 – 9,000 feet). That said, if you are traveling here directly from sea level, you may experience minor effects of the altitude change, particularly some shortness of breath during physical exertion. Keeping well-hydrated and well-rested is one of the best ways to counter these.

  • What is the lodge like?

    CMH lodges skillfully blend remote and rustic with comfort and luxury. All lodges feature massage services, saunas, whirlpools, game rooms, shops, and bar-lounges for socializing. Bedrooms are equipped with private baths. The food is plentiful, imaginative, and delicious, freshly prepared each day by our on-staff chef and pastry chef. Our staff is friendly as well as passionate and knowledgeable about the mountains. Our goal is to create a restful, luxurious and inspiring atmosphere.

  • What's Included in a CMH Summer Adventure Vacation?

    • Transportation from Banff to the helipad and return to the Calgary International Airport
    • Accommodation at the CMH lodge of your choice for 2,3 4 or 6 nights
    • All meals starting with lunch on arrival at the lodge and a boxed lunch on departure
    • Use of top-quality hiking equipment: boots, jackets, daypacks, rainpants, walking poles and water bottles
    • 10 - 12 helicopter flights
    • Daily hiking and/or walking with professionally certified mountain guides

  • Can I connect with the outside world from your lodges?

    Computer and Internet Service
    The Bobbie Burns Lodge has wi-fi for laptops and other devices throughout the lodge. However, due to the remoteness and the lack of on-site technical resources, we can't guarantee these services. Connectivity problems can occur. The lodge has fibre-optic internet connection via mountain top wireless repeater with satellite back up as well as Ethernet. 2 guest computers are available at the lodge. Use of CMH facilities with personal equipment is done at your own risk, and no support services are available. Please see specific lodge pages for more details regarding wireless connectivity.

    Telephone Service

    The Bobbie Burns Lodge has telephones available for guests' outgoing calls. The CMH Banff office phone number is 403-762-7100. Our office is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Mountain Standard Time, 7 days per week. All messages are passed on to the areas as they are received in the Banff office.

  • What are the current weather and field conditions?

    As your travel date draws near, be sure to check our Conditions page for the latest flower report and conditions in the field. We've also put a handy weather link for you, too.

Safety Information

  • About Safety at CMH Summer Adventures

    At CMH Summer Adventures the safety of our guests, guides, pilots and lodge staff is our #1 priority. Each day our guides and helicopter pilots consider weather, helicopter safety, terrain, guest abilities, and wildlife while planning our daily hiking, walking and mountaineering activities. But your safety out in the mountains isn't our only concern. From your motorcoach journey from Banff to our helipads and your stay in our lodge, your entire journey with CMH is designed with your satisfaction, but also your safety, in mind.

    We invite you to contact us directly if you have any questions about our program. Rob Rohn, our Director of Mountain Operations would be happy to speak with you, as would any other member of our staff. Please email us at safety@cmhinc.com, or call us at 1-800-661-0252.

  • The Guides of CMH Summer Adventures

    From the start, guiding has been serious business at CMH. Our founder, Hans Gmoser, set this standard with his values of respect and awe, humble moderation and understanding while in the mountains.

    Most CMH guides have made a lifelong career of their passion. They are dedicated professionals, trained in the European guiding tradition, which emphasizes both respect for the mountains and concern for the well-being of guests. Our guides are fully trained and regularly re-trained in first aid, wilderness rescue, emergency procedures and prevention.

    Many of our Heli-Hiking guides are fully certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) – on average, a 10-year process. The rest are Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG)-certified, also with rigorous standards. Each one of our guides is an experienced and knowledgeable interpreter of our mountains’ flora, fauna, geology and natural history, ensuring that your Heli-Hiking experience is both safe and enriching.

    Learn more about our guides by visiting Guide Bios or by reading the collection of articles about, and written by, some of our guides on our blog, The Adventure.

  • About Alpine Helicopters: Proud Partner

    Our partners at Alpine Helicopters provide us with a fleet of helicopters and highly-specialized, dedicated crew to ensure our hiking program runs smoothly.

    The primary helicopters we use are twin-engine, 11-passenger, jet-powered Bell 212s. For backup Alpine keeps machines in the towns of Golden and Kelowna, BC.

    Alpine's pilots are specially trained in our mountain environment. As active participants in our safety network, they monitor our guests’ compliance and give a comprehensive safety talk around the helicopter just before the groups lift off for their first hike. Pilots have a minimum of 2,500 helicopter hours, with at least 250 spent in the mountains, and re-train rigorously throughout the year. As well, our crew rotation exceeds industry standard.

    Ongoing maintenance is provided by a full-time engineer based in each area.
    All helicopters are equipped with emergency and medical gear and radios to ensure continuous communication between pilot, guides, the base lodge, other CMH areas, and outside resources.