Courses and Teambuilding

An Adventure in Growth

Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself physically or mentally, individually or as a team, Caving offers a multitude of opportunities to grow.

Investigating a cave map and learning cave navigation during a horizontal caving course

Horizontal Caving Course

Caving is a very rewarding sport, pass-time or hobby. Whether you are passionate about exploration, driven to understand the Earth and its processes, or looking for a fun activity away from the crowds, caving can provide a lifetime of excitement.

The Canmore Cave Tours Horizontal Caver Course introduces those with little or no experience to the world of caves, teaching the basic skills required to safely enjoy and appreciate the truly special places that caves are.

No experience is required. Our goal is to give you tools you need to join other cavers and to get out there and see the (under)world.

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A cave is an amazing place to visit with so much opportunity for exploration, inspiration and personal growth. Visiting a cave, however, requires a specific skills unique to the sport of caving which ensure the safety of both the caver and the cave.

Your instructor will introduce you to the various aspects of planning a caving trip, including choosing the appropriate terrain, equipment and caving partners. Learn how to safely move through a cave and how to navigate using cave-specific maps so as to best meet your team’s goals while protecting the delicate cave environment. In this course you will gain the skills and confidence that you need to join other more experienced cavers on non-technical caving trips and to be an effective member of the team.

You will meet your instructor at the Canmore Cave Tours office in Canmore where you will get a brief overview of the day, sign the waiver, collect your caving equipment and then drive in convoy to the cave parking lot (approximately 7 minutes away). All of your caving equipment is provided. Please see the FAQ section for more information on what is provided and what to bring.

The hike to the cave will take approximately 30-40 minutes up a moderately steep mountain trail at a leisurely pace. Once you reach the cave, you will don your equipment and head underground. Mini lectures will occur throughout the day with plenty of time for asking questions.

You will spend approximately 4-5 hours underground, after which you will return to the Cave Tours office to review the day and dive into some of the theory of caving. Total length of the course is approximately 8 hours and the course requires a moderate level of fitness. You will be required to climb, crawl, wiggle and slide your way through the cave, with some time to practice some (optional) squeezes.

Upcoming Courses

Stay Tuned, the Fall 2017 course schedule will be available soon!

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A male student climbs a rope using single rope technique during a vertical caving course

Vertical Caving Course

An introduction to the art of Single Rope Techinque, or SRT. This is the means by which cavers access the more technical areas within caves, using ropes and specialized techniques and equipment to progress through a multitude of obstacles.

This two-day course will prepare participants to join technical caving trips under the guidance of more experienced cavers. We recommend having at least some experience underground before undertaking this course.

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The first day of this program will be spent at the University of Calgary's climbing gym where we will practice our vertical skills in a nice warm, dry space before taking them out into the real world. Repetition is the key to success for technical skills like SRT so prepare to spend a lot of time on rope. You will learn how to use all of the necessary equipment, how to recognize and prevent potential problems, and how to move efficiently through all of the obstacles you might encounter in a cave.

Day 2 will begin with a morning lecture discussing the tools, topics and techniques of the previous day. You will learn about the special safety considerations of vertical caving, how to choose and maintain your equipment, knotcraft, trip planning, and much more.

Once we are done in the office we will head to Rat's Nest Cave to try out our new skills in the real world. You will demonstrate skill proficiency as you progress through our vertical ropes course, and will be slowly introduced to more challenges along the way.

This is not a certification course. Many of these skills will be completely new to you and you will need to master one skill before moving on to the next. Our goal is to work with you at a pace with which you are comfortable, and to give you the confidence to go home and practice these skills safely with the knowledge of what you know well, and what you might still need to work on. The techniques taught in this course are strenuous, and a good level of fitness is required. Please contact us if you have any questions about the physical requirements of this course.

Upcoming Courses

Vertical Caving Courses for the 2017-2018 Season are Currently Scheduled for the following dates. There are 6 spots available per date:

November 4-5, 2017

February 24-25, 2018

April 7-8, 2018

With enough notice we can also arrange custom groups with a minimum of 4 participants. Please contact us for more information.

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Cave guides giving a thumbs up in the Grand Gallery of Rat's Nest Cave

Team Building

Caving is inherently a team sport. It takes a team effort to safely negotiate the cave environment and to achieve the group's objectives. And, nothing brings people together better than spending multiple hours underground, stretching boundaries and pushing limits.

We take this unique quality of caving and transform it into a custom program that will challenge your team or group in a way that is in line with your goals. Whether it's to improve leadership skills, communication, problem solving or just do some group bonding, Rat's Nest cave is the perfect venue for your next team building event.

No experience is required.

More Information

Our team building programs are based around our tour products and priced the same. This means that if for some reason a member of your group is struggling with the team building aspect of the program we will default to a tour and just go and have some fun. The most important thing is that everyone has a positive experience.

Examples of past programs include treasure hunts and escape room-like challenges, but we will work with you to build a program specific to your needs. No experience is required, but in-cave activities require a minimum level of fitness. Please see the FAQ section for more information about the cave experience.

You will meet your instructor at the Canmore Cave Tours office in Canmore where you will get a brief overview of the day, sign the waiver, collect your caving equipment and then drive in convoy to the cave parking lot (approximately 7 minutes away). All of your caving equipment is provided. Please see the FAQ section for more information on what is provided and what to bring.

Please contact us to discuss how to make your team building experience as effective and meaningful to your group is possible. We can be very flexible in terms of timing, numbers and activities, and groups of more than 8 are eligible for a group discount.

Is there a minimum age?

The minimum age for the Horizontal Caving Course is 12 years.

The minimum age for the Vertical Caving Course is 16 years.

The minimum age for a teambuilding program is 10 years. (We can customize a Discovery Hike program for younger ages on special request)

Is there a maximum size?

Generally speaking, fitness is more of a concern than size. However, all participants must wear a safety harness which has a maximum waist size of 46" (116 cm) and a maximum leg size of 33" (84 cm). If you have any concerns about size please don't hesitate to contact us.

What is included and what should I bring?

We provide all of the necessary caving equipment including coveralls, kneepads, gloves, helmet & headlamp, harness & safety lanyard, and backpack. The backpack will be shared by two people and will not go into the cave. We will also provide you with a Clif Bar energy bar, and a 500mL bottle of water (in a reusable bottle that is yours to keep).

You will need to bring good footwear, warm clothing, a camera (optional) and if you have any dietary restrictions, please bring a snack that you know works for you. Also, if you will require medication during the tour it is a good idea to bring 2x what you would expect to use, just in case.

Footwear must be closed-toe and should have a sturdy tread. Hiking boots or shoes are best, but a sturdy running shoe will also work. Other options include rubber boots or winter boots (in the winter)

The cave is 5 degrees celsius, so warm clothing is recommended. Imagine what you would wear if you had to spend a few hours in a refrigerator. We recommend long pants, long sleeves, a warm sweater, hoodie or jacket. Synthetic fabrics are best as they will keep you warm even if you get wet.

Any cameras going into the cave will need to fit into your pockets. We do not allow backpacks in the cave. Small point-and-shoot cameras or smart phones are welcome but please keep in mind that the cave environment is not particularly friendly towards electronics. High humidity and dust can damage equipment, and screens can break if you accidentally sit on it. Electronics are brought at your own risk.

Is transportation provided?

No, transportation is not provided. If you do not have your own vehicle we can arrange a taxi to the cave for you at an additional cost. You can use Canmore's public transit to get to our office.

Are there rats or bats?

Rat's Nest Cave is named after the nests of Bushy-tailed Wood Rats found in the entrance. This species of super-cute rodents is native to the area and they use the cave as a home due to it's constantly warm temperatures and protection from predators. We rarely see the rats, and if we do there is usually just one.

Bat's are rarely seen at Rat's Nest Cave. The cave is not a hibernaculum (a place where bats hibernate through the winter). We usually only see the occasional bat in the summer as they are passing through the area.

Are these programs suitable for me if I'm pregnant?

Yes, but only up until the end of the first trimester (12 weeks).

It is always advisable to seek advice from your doctor when participating in activities like caving.

Will I Need to sign a waiver?

Yes, all participants will need to complete a liability waiver. We recommend you review the waiver before booking your tour, but you will sign the waiver once you have arrived and have been briefed by your guide. Any minors must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian before participating on the tour.

View and Download the Waiver